How to become a holiday property owner in France!

If the New Year has made you realise it’s time to start making your dream of owning holiday property in France a reality, you’ll want to make sure you make the right decisions on how, where and what to buy.

Taking the time to find a property that meets your needs is so important to ensure positive and satisfying outcomes, and researching property in beautiful France can be great fun too!

1. What do you want your French property to be?

The first thing to decide is what the main purpose of your property will be:

  • Is it primarily for your own family to holiday in with remaining dates to be rented out?
  • Will you be moving to France full time to live on-site too?
  • Are you planning to live in the property yourself at a later date, perhaps on retirement?
  • Is this going to be a change of career or a business venture for you? If so what is the aim?
  • A collection of properties you can own and manage for the greatest profit or a lifestyle-friendly sideline?

Getting a clear vision of what you need before you start house hunting will save time and should allow you to write a clear check list of ‘must-have’ and ‘nice-to-have’ attributes you want to see in your perfect property.

2. A renovation project or something ready-to-rent?

Another big factor in becoming a holiday property owner is deciding whether you are keen to undertake renovations and remodelling to create the holiday home you need, or whether something finished and possibly already being used as a holiday rental is preferable.

There are pros and cons to both approaches and which is best for you depends on your handyman abilities, your confidence in managing a building project in France, and how much time you have available, both in general and in terms of the window between property purchase and the time when you’ll need to start gaining rental income.

Remember that if you don’t feel ready to start converting derelict barns into beautiful gites it doesn’t mean you can’t create a beautiful, unique property with your personal stamp on it. Designing comfortable interiors inspired by your region of France and adding extra touches to surprise and delight your guests can be a very effective way to set your property apart for rental success.

3. Location, location, location!

Choosing the right part of France for you is a very subjective thing – it’s likely that your dreams of owning property in France are rooted in happy times and holidays spent there in the past. You may have a favourite place in mind already or you may be spoilt for choice by this wonderful country!

Some things to consider might include distance from the ferry ports for ease of visits between your French property and the UK, the popularity of the region with tourists and, if you plan to live at your new site either now or in the future, you’ll want to see what the area is like in all seasons.

A great way to get the inside scoop is to stay at properties already for rent to see what’s on offer and how your vision could fit in. Many expats and property owners will be happy to share their experiences with you so always ask around for advice.

Visit outside of the peak tourist season – that vibrant seaside village in summer might be a ghost town in winter and if it’s your permanent home you’ll want a sense of community that lasts all year round. Use your visits to explore and view plenty of property to see what’s available.

4. Red tape and legal requirements

This comprehensive guide provided by the UK government tells you all you need to know about buying property in France including legal advice and taxation implications. They also offer a guide to living in France with information you’ll find useful if you’re planning to move to France permanently.

If you are renting out your property it’s a good idea to get legal advice from a notaire who can ensure you are complying with all the necessary requirements.

5. Creating holidays that sell

When you are ready to advertise your property you need to make sure you make a great first impression, offer value for money and perhaps some unique extras to give your property extra appeal.

Here are some top tips from Mark Cavalier who owns and rents two holiday cottages in Brittany;

  1. Look at your local competition. See what they offer and at what price and try to give your customers more in the terms of facilities – if you provide more it gives you confidence if you match their price or indeed price your property higher.
  2. Don’t fall in to the trap of trying to keep lowering your prices with your competition. Have confidence that you are offering a quality product and people will book. Some shy away from cheap cottages with the feeling you get what you pay for.
  3. Make sure your property is exceptionally clean for the arrival of your guest. It shows the level you require the property to be left in on departure. Give the guest the option of a top up clean or for them to clean the cottage as found. Make it clear that you expect it to be left as they found it.
  4. Try to find a niche market that makes you stand out from the rest. We installed a very extensive weights gym but you could offer for example: accepting dogs, cooking classes, treatments or photography.
  5. Always remember your guests have looked forward to their holiday with you for months and have spent a lot of money on your property and travel – make sure your property and all its facilities are in tip top condition.

Renting holiday property in France can be a dream job; if you live on-site you can experience that holiday feeling every day as you enjoy the surroundings, food and culture that you love. However, you should not underestimate the amount of work and effort involved!

Our owners are always busy advertising, helping guests, managing changeovers and even in the off season there’s maintenance, upgrading and marketing to do if you want your property to achieve maximum bookings and total customer satisfaction. For most though, the effort is well worth it and is rewarded with a great lifestyle, the chance to meet lovely guests (some of whom go on to become lifelong friends) and the opportunity to create income doing a job you love.

Advertise your holiday home in France with Holiday France Direct to get Brittany Ferries discounts for you and your guests, outstanding customer service and a great platform for advertising your holiday property with no hidden fees or added extras. Choose a flat annual fee or per booking ‘QuickBook’ option and let us help you make your holiday rental in France a big success!



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