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GITES FOR SALE FRANCE is based in Toulouse at the epicentre of South-West France where we live and work. Although our team is often on the road we are reachable within 24 hours if you use one of the contact methods listed below. The most convenient way to get things moving is to send us an email outlining your plans: do you want to buy or sell ? Have you a budget in mind, a location? The more information we have the quicker and more precise is our response.
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château for sale Carcassonne/Limoux

BREXIT state of play

Brexit – state of play.

Curiously enough, Brexit is not a big subject of conversation in France. The average French Marcel sipping his pastis at the counter doesn’t really give a toss. He feels that the Brits have always been difficult to deal with and this is just another example. End of story. He’s much more interested in how the next Six-Nations will play out. Same story in the media: very little mention and very little interest.

Meanwhile, out in Dordogneshire the ex-pat chattering classes are all in a tizzy. Anecdotal evidence suggests that many are panicking and trying to sell up as they fear their UK pensions will take a hit. Others are standing firm: “Brits have been here before the Common Market was even invented”, they cry, “The French need us here”. A few moan that their pension payments from the UK have lost 10-15% since the referendum … but that life is still easier in France than in the UK. The mood swings according to what they read in the Daily Torygraph, the Mail or the Grauniad.

Here at GITES FOR SALE we have noticed a sharp decline in enquiries from the UK … but an upsurge in interest from Swiss and Belgian buyers. As the British represent less than 0.5% of property sales in France this is not a big problem. As rural property prices continue to fall we can expect canny Swiss, Belgian and, of course, French buyers to snap up the bargains.

Then, when Brexit collapses into a heap of fudge on 29th March 2019, we expect the Brits to creep back, older and wiser.

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Gites and B&Bs in France

Gîtes v B&Bs

Gites v B&Bs – what’s the difference?

People often ring us with a vague request for a “gite and B&B property”. When questioned further it becomes clear that they haven’t really understood the fundamental difference between the two formats.

* a ‘gite’ is a self-catering, self-contained accommodation (house or flat) for tourists, let out by the week. The owner may or may not live nearby.

* A B&B offers guest rooms in the owner’s home, by the night, with breakfast provided. Sometimes a ‘table d’hôte‘ (evening meal) is also on offer.

Running a gite implies intensive work on changeover day (usually Saturday) as one customer leaves and another arrives. During the low season there is maintenance work on the property to be done.

Running a B&B implies much more contact with the customer, changing sheets daily, providing breakfast (and perhaps dinner) daily and generally attending to the needs of the customer and maintenance of the premises.

A gite owner can afford to live ‘off-site’ and manage the gites at a distance.
The B&B owner must be on-site all the time that guests are present.

Having said all that, there are exceptions to these rules … and the trend is towards mixing the two formats according to the season. If, for example, some of your gites have bedrooms with ensuite bathrooms, then these can be used as B&B guest rooms out of season. Platforms such as AirBnB and Tripadvisor facilitate this sort of letting.

Obviously, for this mixed format to work, you have to be keen on the B&B concept and keen on having strangers sharing your house with you, poking their noses into your cupboards, rifling through your CDs and commenting on your taste in trashy literature. Most B&Bs in France last no more than 18 months due to ‘client fatigue’.

Still, it’s worth trying the B&B idea if your gites have en-suite bedrooms: it can make the difference between a successful business and one that just survives. B&B’s turn over twice as much as gites, per square metre.

Gites v B&Bs – income

Income from gites is variable but the rule of thumb is that one standard two-bedroomed gite with access to a pool should generate about €10k pa. 2 gites = €20k and so on. This means that if you intend to ‘live off’ your gites you’ll need at least four of them.

Income from B&Bs is more variable: location and comfort play a bigger role. But in general one guest room with ensuite bathroom in a reasonable tourist location should generate about €10k pa. 2 rooms = €20k and so on. As one is limited to a maximum of 5 guest rooms annual turnover will hit a ceiling of €50k. By offering a table d’hôte one can expect to add €25k to the yearly income.

Latest B&Bs for sale in France

Latest Gites for sale in France

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buying property in France

Buying property in France

Buying property in France – the procedure

 

Although purchasing a house in France can seem like a long drawn out bureaucratic
process it is in fact a much surer and structured procedure than in many other
European countries. One is nearly always compelled to use the services of a state-appointed
notaire (public Notary) who works for a fixed fee and more or less
guarantees a fraud-free transaction.

The first stage is to find and visit the property. A second visit should be more
thorough, in the company of a knowledgeable builder if possible. Surveyors are thin
on the ground in France: builders usually give advice on the state of a house and will,
if necessary, call on an ‘expert’ for technical advice. The vendor must pay an expert to
certify the absence of termites, asbestos, radon gas etc before he can sell. Once you
have agreed on a price the next step is a ‘compromis de vente‘ or ‘sous-seing privé‘.

Promise to buy

This is drawn up by the estate agent (or the notaire) and signed in his presence –
accompanied by the purchaser paying a 10% deposit. (Today, most estate agents
prefer not to handle these deposits but to lodge them directly with the notaire. In this
way the purchaser’s money is totally secure and there’s no danger of being duped by
a wily agent. The estate agent is then paid his commission – by the notaire – at the
very end of the proceedings.)

This is an extremely important document: it is in fact the final sales contract which
outlines the whole transaction and the duties and obligations of the two parties. In
general, before the contract can be concluded the State (and the vendor) must carry
out a number of searches and controls: is a motorway planned to run through the
property? Has the neighbouring farmer rights on the land for agricultural use?
(possible if more than a hectare of land), has asbestos been used in the construction?
etc. For his part, the purchaser should write into this document his ‘clauses
suspensives‘ (clauses relating to events which, if not realized, render the contract null
and void), the most important being the granting of a mortgage. Without such a
clause the purchaser will be expected to conclude the deal just as soon as the official
searches are finished.

Need a mortgage? Write it into the promise

This compromis de vente is drawn up by the agent in collaboration with the purchaser
(and, if requested, the notaire). Specific clauses relating to the mortgage or to other
events (possibility that the buyer be moved abroad by his employer in the meantime,
that his spouse or himself be incapacitated in the meantime) are incorporated. A
mortgage request must be fully detailed: what portion of the purchase price will be
paid in cash and what portion through a mortgage? What is the maximum interest
rate (including insurance) that the purchaser will accept? Which banks will be
approached?. And most importantly, by what date should all this be sorted out? The
vendor will be pushing for a maximum two month delay before the compromis takes
effect: purchasers usually ask for three months.

Finally the big day arrives, the notaire summons both parties to her office, checks the
results of the different ‘searches’ and proceeds to read the whole contract aloud. Then
both parties sign .. and you become – instantly – the owner with full powers of
possession. Assuming, of course, that you have made arrangements for the balance of
the monies to arrive at the notaire’s office in good time. No money = no deal and you
lose your deposit. Be warned!

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MARCIAC – all that jazz …

Marciac isn’t just about Jazz!

This village of 1,200 souls is host to one of France’s best known festivals, the Marciac Jazz festival, which runs during the first two weeks in August, and attracts jazz players from all over the world. During the festival about 120,000 visitors come to the town to take in the concerts, the street musicians, to enjoy the food and the many stalls and art galleries that pop up around the town square.

While the Jazz festival only occupies two weeks of the year, it has profoundly affected this small bastide town. How many other communities of this size do you know that boast several well known restaurants, a new boutique hotel, and a state of the art concert hall that organises events throughout the year?

For those contemplating moving to this part of France, the area offers many advantages. The countryside is gentle and rolling, there are a number of attractive small fortified towns, the weather is clement, and the food excellent. This is the home of foie gras, confit de canard, and all the iterations of duck you can imagine. Local vegetables and foods of all varieties are of an exceptionally high quality, and that includes the good local wines, Saint Mont, Madiran, Jurançon, to mention just a handful. This part of France is known for the long lives of its inhabitants, which is ascribed to the excellence of the quality of nutrition, they could just be right!

While the small towns are peaceful, this is not to say that you cannot enjoy the advantages of larger communities. Within reach of Marciac you have Tarbes, Auch, and Pau, all of which have a high standard of shopping, and the services of first rate hospitals and educational establishments. Le Parvis in Tarbes has a performance centre that offers concerts, cinemas and theatrical productions which come there from all over France.

Also within reach are the Pyrenees; for those who wish to hike, ski, or climb, the mountains are about an hour away, and Spain is also easily accessible.

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Lifestyle properties in France

Lifestyle Properties in France

Lifestyle properties in France: Why the market has ground to a halt

People ring me every day from every part of France imploring me to help them sell their property. After less than a minute it usually transpires that 1. they are British, 2. they are trying to sell a ‘lifestyle property’, and 3. they have been trying to sell for over two years.

What’s the problem? With the Euro falling against most other currencies one would have thought that lifestyle-changers would be flocking to the sunny south to snap up these des res. And they are. Flocking that is, but they are not buying.

The buyers aren’t buying and the vendors aren’t selling because there is a mis-match in the market. Vendors bought their lifestyle properties at a time when French property was cheaper than today but they still managed to pay over the odds. The locals saw them coming with their fistfuls of quids and dollars and upped the prices accordingly. Our new owners then brought in teams of fellows in white vans to upgrade their properties to Dulwich standards. Result: lots of money poured into out-of-the-way and not-very-desirable properties.

Vendors now desperately want their money back but buyers – as any buyer in a buyers’ market would be – are wary of over-priced property that is likely to continue losing value until the next election/devaluation/economic upturn.

This log-jam is slowly easing however. For a start vendors are tiring of holding out for unobtainable prices. Those grand-children in the UK are sending them tearful e-mails, tugging the heartstrings. And buyers are waking up to the fact that they can – and should – offer what they can afford – even if it is 20 – 25% less than the asking price.

It’s called the market in action. Come and be a player!

Simon Oliver

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