What property for my lifestyle?

We thoroughly enjoyed our Twitter Q&A with French Property News yesterday, when our CEO Graham Downie gave some advice on the topic “What property for my lifestyle?”


In case you missed it, we have gathered all the answers here. You can also find them on Twitter using the hashtag #AskLeggett.

Q1. We’re a professional couple with two young children looking to move to rural France. What should we be looking for?
Find an agent with knowledge of best schools. Pick their brains on class sizes, reputation/results and bus routes if rural. Kids come first.
Q2. Roughly how big a gîte business would support a mortgage free couple? Charente/Dordogne areas
It’s about income/demand not size. Go for prime area with strong rental demand (Cognac is a good example). Above all research competition, rates they charge and occupancy rates throughout the year.
Q3. I want to buy in the Pyrénées for around €155k. What deposit do I need including notaire fees? What other buying costs should I budget for?
Deposit is usually 5-10%. Notaires fees will be around 7%. We include agency fees in price so no hidden costs. You’ll need to allow for taxe d’habitation and taxe foncière but no other hidden costs, it’s a transparent system.
Q4. Has Brexit really affected the housing market for expat UK vendors and for UK buyers?
No. We have more UK enquiries than this period 12 months ago and our sales pipeline is 18% up. Demand has not been hit. Expat vendors are more affected by domestic market which is really healthy with around 900,000 transactions last year.
Q5. Is it a bad time to buy French property with Brexit/expat rights unclear or do you sense confidence in the market?
Definite confidence. UK & France been best mates since junior school and Emmanuel Macron is in London on Tuesday, so we don’t think there will be material change. There are plenty of international buyers here from outside the EU.
Q6. Is there a market for longer term winter lets for (heated) gîtes that are not near skiing areas?
My advice is don’t factor it into your sums but treat it as bonus/rainy day money.
Q7. How are property taxes determined in France?
Foncière = ownership tax, Habitation = residence tax (both based on Jan 1st). Calculations are based on size.
Q8. Our budget is €400,000, can we afford the south of France?
Yes! We have over 1,000 listings in Languedoc Roussillon & PACA for under €400k and sell plenty at this level.
Q9. I’ve got £50k for a ‘doer upper’ with another £50k for the renovation and need to house family of five. Is this possible?
For sure – try looking in deparments like Corrèze/Creuse/Haute Vienne. Rural areas will have what you want but do your sums & add for unseens.
Q10. I’m looking for somewhere with authentic French culture – where should I be looking?
You could try Gascony or Perigord Noir – not official regions but bags of history, traditional food culture & lovely scenery.
Q11. We always holiday by the beach and would love a coastal property but our budget is limited – any ideas?
There are superb beaches on the west coast with plenty of sunshine. Try Vendée/Charente Maritime (my favourite is hidden Meschers).