French Property Management
Travelling to France to maintain your property, is a very fraught and time-consuming experience, and owning a holiday home can create worries for the owners back home, worries about security, maintenance and letting.
Many people ask us for help and advice on looking after their holiday homes in France. For some it’s just for friends and family with monthly house checks, property and pool cleaning, laundry and key-holding. You would be surprised how many clients forget or lose the keys to their property! For others however, it’s a commercial proposition that will allow them to enjoy their “maison secondaire” when family or friends want a holiday and to make money on it when not in use.
Either way it’s important to find the right local property management company to assist both you, the owners, and of course your guests. There are always shortcuts and cheap options but believe me, in this business it’s worth finding a company that goes that extra mile for their clients
Finding a professional management company can be a difficult, time consuming job and if you are buying a French property with an eye to renting out as a holiday home, find your management service before you sign on the dotted line. You should be able to talk to them about the house location, the market rental potential and any downsides to that particular property so you are prepared when the negotiations commence.
It is also an excellent idea to meet the people you will be dealing with. They should be happy to meet in their offices or your home or just to chat over a cup of coffee at a local bar. Get to know them personally, they will be spending your money and managing your property and will be a first contact in the event of a crisis!
If you are searching in the Pages Jaunes, the French Yellow Pages, type Gestion immobilière into the search bar and the name of the town or postcode that’s relevant.
What is property management?
It is a simple and cost effective way of having your holiday home professionally cared for and maintained by a specialist local company. It should provide you with peace of mind and remove the worries that are so often associated with owning and visiting your property abroad. In the hands of a dedicated team of professionals who will care for the property as if it where their own, you can just relax, enjoy and make the most of your investment.
There may be friends and neighbours in your locality who offer to look after the property and may even help out with rentals, but when things go wrong, do they have the resources, the time and the expertise to quickly and professionally resolve the problems? Ask the question before you need to is my advice.
The other question you have to ask yourself is who would be best to care for my property and deal with any emergency that arises whatever it may be. These days finding a reliable, professional, trustworthy property management company is usually a very sensible, cost effective necessity.
A good property management company should be able to phone you from site, email you with reports and send photographs of any issues as they arise. They should also have a 24 hour helpline number for both you and your guests for emergencies.
Inspection visits for your French property
We suggest to our client base that we visit the property at least once a month to check the interior and exterior, the pool and pool house, the security features, air the house and check the electricity supply, appliances and the plumbing.
It is also very important to follow up on these visits with an e-mail status report of the findings. If there are problems they should be alerted to you, supported with photographs and recommended actions and quotes for repair (devis) provided by qualified local trades’ people. Once work is approved reports on the on-going repairs or maintenance should be e-mailed on a regular basis.
Housekeeping and maintenance for your French property
Every owner has differing requirements from their property management company but services should include some or all of the following:
Weekly cleaning and laundry services for holiday visits and commercial rentals
Spring cleaning including curtains, duvets and rugs
Winter house and pool shutdown
Gardening as stipulated
Pool opening for the summer and cleaning in season at least once a week
Your property management company should have the experience, the in-house resources and the vital local contacts to arrange quotes (devis) for a wide range of maintenance and repair services with registered, insured and reliable local craftsmen who should provide legally compliant invoices and receipts with guarantees. Don’t forget many of these invoices can be used against future capital gains charges if you ever decide to sell your property. If you are contemplating commercial rental they can also advise you on the security of your personal possessions and how best to decorate and equip the property to best suit paying holiday guests.
The information in this French property management guide was provided by Janine Wood at Cordes Owners Club.