Mediterranean beaches, majestic mountains for winter skiing and cycling in summer, and some of the most popular cities in the world – France is the perfect place to buy a holiday home that you can also rent to tourists. But what type of property is best and where do you even start looking?
Although buying in France doesn’t come with any guarantees, it does bring with it a certain peace of mind. You’ve already got the numbers, and a business case, on your side. France is the world’s most visited country.
But how do you choose where to buy when every region of this vast country has so much to offer?
Align location search with rental needs
For holiday home owners who want to rent out as much as possible, there are certain places that stand out. Cannes on the Riviera is always a good choice as there is a year-round rental market there. It doesn’t just attract tourists in the summer, there are conferences all year round that constantly bring in thousands of business visitors.
Annecy in the Alps is also popular all year round. Not only is it a stunningly beautiful town, but its location near the Alps and on the lake means it is popular with families during the summer holidays, avid skiers in the winter and walkers throughout the year.
Make sure your criteria factors in your target market
Identifying the criteria for your new purchase is best accomplished by putting yourself in the shoes of your guests.
Think about is who will rent your property. Are you aiming for holidaymakers, business people, golf enthusiasts or skiers, for example? Imagine what would be the most important factors for them when looking for a rental property.
There are also some features that must be considered more seriously when you’re buying to accommodate paying guests and not just making decisions for yourself. For istance, if you’re buying a villa in the South of France then a pool is important. An apartment in Paris needs to be in a sought-after arrondissement with local facilities nearby. If it is on a high floor you need to find a building with a lift.
Online reviews are important. It’s critical that guests find the property spotless, in good working order and that there is someone around to help them deal with problems should they arise.
If you live in another country, then being able to rely on the services offered by a property manager is crucial.
If you do live in the region then it can be cheaper to deal with any issues yourself – as long as you are happy to drop what you are doing at a moment’s notice. In the long run it can make more sense to factor the cost in to your business plan, just so you know the property will always be running at its best.
Property managers do cost money, but if you can’t do the job yourself, they really are worth it. You need someone to ensure the property is kept in excellent condition, that the rentals run smoothly and to show up in an emergency.
While having a local neighbour keep an eye on the place can seem like a cheaper, easier option, it isn’t always the best for long-term rental yields.
A professional property manager will have a much keener eye and it’s their interest to do a great job.
Take action to keep the outgoings down and the rental yields up
Having a holiday home that you rent out means you need to motivate yourself to keep things in good working order. Investing in quality fixtures and fittings from the start, for example, should mean you don’t have to constantly employ a handyman further down the line to fix kitchen cabinets or wardrobe doors.
Make sure you get all of your systems (air conditioning, heating, pool filtering, washing machines, and so on) serviced every year. Be aware that renters will overuse everything and probably won’t take the same amount of care as you, so you need to get them checked.
If the air con stops in the height of summer while the tenant is on vacation it will be classed as a disaster. The call out and repair charges will be much higher. And guests could ask for money off. And give you a bad review. Get checks done out of season and regularly.
And if you can, stay in your own property every year and test everything out yourself.