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Guide to buying a holiday rental property in France

Beautiful gite, white walls with blue shutters, a garden full of flowers and trees

Purchasing and owning a gîte or holiday rental property in France can be fun and rewarding – but from the start it’s good to be clear about what to consider. Location, location, location, yes it’s a cliché, but it’s totally true…

If your plan is to earn an income from your holiday home by renting it out, there are a number of things that should be on your list of considerations:

Location, location, location

Let’s start with the cliché. Popular holiday destinations will bring a regular flow of holiday makers but check that the market isn’t already saturated in the area you’re considering.

Self-catering holidaymakers typically travel to France by car so ideally look for a property that is within reasonable distance of an autoroute. Also research access to railway stations and airports.

Facilities

Most holiday makers don’t want to be driving all the time. Are you near local shops, cafés and restaurants? Ideally you’ll be within walking or cycling distance, but certainly within a short drive.

These days one of the most important things to consider is internet access. For some guests it can be a deal breaker if you can’t offer internet. Not all areas of France have broadband or mobile phone signal yet so check when you’re property searching.

Check out what there is to do and places to go locally. Eating out, shopping, sightseeing, local life, sports and activities can be important to holidaymakers. Consider whether you plan to let from spring to summer only (or winter only if in ski areas). If all year round, make sure that there’s something for your visitors to do.

Can you provide something different from other holiday lets in the area so that you stand out? Maybe you have a great pool and hot tub, perhaps the garden is gorgeous with stunning views. Can you organise activities for instance and expert guidance on the area for those who might be home searching themselves? The more you offer, the more chance you have of being a success.

Who will you market to?

This last point leads to the question of – who will be your guests? Think about your target guest preferences – couples, families, groups – and establish whether a potential property is suitable. The style of the accommodation, number of bathrooms as well as bedrooms, size of the kitchen and living area and outside space are critical considerations. Is there a pool or room to install one? Is there space for a play area for kids?

Managing Changeovers

Do you plan to manage and let the property from a distance or will you live alongside your guests? If the former, then make sure that the gîte is practical for this and get a reliable local point of contact for key holding, servicing and responding to emergencies. There are plenty of companies that offer this service, and if you can, it’s easier if you sort this requirement out early on in your planning stage.

How much to charge to make an income

Study the prices other holiday lets are charging in the area so that you have a realistic idea of income. It’s about how much you can get, not how much you want to get! Weigh up the cost of the property against the possible income and make sure they match.

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