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Renovate a house in France

When you’re searching for a property to buy in France, the term “property for renovation” can be very vague. It could involve minor decoration and rewiring. It could mean a new roof is needed. Or it could mean you are buying four walls, no roof and dirt floors!

Depending on what your budget is for renovation of a property in France, we’d recommend that you always check that you have connections for electricity, water and sewage. Sometimes these utilities are so far away from the property that it’s not viable to connect them and sometimes they are available to connect but may blow your budget.

Having said that, many of us find the temptation of buying an old but potentially fabulous property in France to be irresistible!

Buying  property for renovation in France

Over the last few years the increase in price of older properties requiring restoration has been mainly due to foreigners moving to France and buying up said old properties.

The younger French generation of home buyers seem to prefer new build homes. Properties that come complete with proper insulation, double glazing, central heating and mains sewage.

There are plenty of times when I have completely sympathised with their choice. However buying a property for restoration in France can be much more attractive to foreign buyers. Often older houses are much larger and cheaper than newer homes.

Doing up an old property can be fun and rewarding. It can also be frustrating. Far more costly than you imagined. And sometimes it’s difficult to know where to start.

There are lots of books on the subject of renovation, even books tailored to renovating in France. There are plan management tools. And internet help sites but it’s never as simple as it might seem!

It’s worth doing some homework before you buy a renovation project. Work out what’s needed to make it habitable. Try to get some details of what types of work are required and whether there are artisans available to help near by. For instance torchis walls (a limestone render) can be a specialist requirement. And be aware that if you need to employ buildings and workmen, there can be a long waiting time. If you’re buying through a reputable agent, ask them to help you to ascertain what work is needed. And where to find local help.

Janine Marsh is Author of My Good Life in France: In Pursuit of the Rural Dream – ebook, print & audio, on Amazon everywhere & all good bookshops online, and My Four Seasons in France: A Year of the Good Life

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