Tips on buying a property on the French Riviera
Most people who set out to buy a property in the Cote d’Azur have already come here on wonderful holidays that made them wish to spend more time here. It is the realisation of a dream, finding a home under a blue sky and sharing the relaxed lifestyle of the South of France. If you’re considering buying a property in the South of France, here are some tips before you buy:
Is this a second home or your future residence? There are two main impacts to consider when you’re thinking about moving; the tax implications and schooling, if you have children. These are well covered on the Expatscope guides pages Living Here. The good news is that it’s not as difficult as you might think. Even if you don’t speak good French, many French speak a little English.
Do you plan on living near the coast or inland? How far you are willing to live from the sea has a big impact on your budget. As a rough guide, property prices almost double when you’re 1km from the coast compared to 10km away (3000 to 5000 Eur/m2), and more than double again to over 10000 Eur/m2 when you are right on the coast with a close sea view. Buyers moving long term and larger families usually prefer the extra space and tranquility that villas inland provide, and the best tip is to visit inland villages such as Mougins or St Paul de Vence in spring or autumn to see if you could live there.
How do you find available properties? Once you have decided on the areas you like, a look at some property portal, or here our property classified, or property directory listing, or a simple check on the French yellow pages – pagesjaunes.fr will probably show dozens of estate agents, so property portals are a better starting point.
What are the maintenance costs? The main costs are the two property taxes, habitation and fonciere, and maintenance charges that amount altogether to between 1% and 2% of the cost of the property per year. To cover this cost, an easy option is a summer let that will generate between 3% to 6% of the property’s value. You will find many local expats willing to take care of changeovers for less than half the cost of an agency.
What additional advice should I get? Friends already living in the region can give a lot of advice about the local facilities and travel options. However, to ensure you don’t pay above market price and to protect the resale value of the property you buy, get professional advice from agents or a property finder who will tell you which areas are most in demand.
With this in mind, enjoy your house hunt!