Buying a property that will earn its keep as a holiday letting in France is a big part of many British buyer’s ‘French dream’. Some buyers hope to fund their new French lifestyle by buying a home with an annex to convert to a gîte and earn some extra income. How viable is that and what are the opportunities and challenges of running such a business?
With little practical experience, I took on a project to renovate a sad and neglected grande dame on the quayside at the beautiful port of Barfleur in Normandy. Learning traditional skills from scratch, I managed to transform her into a quirky seaside retreat within a reasonable budget, with a mix of good luck, hard work and the help of excellent workmen.
When I moved to Normandy in 2017, I had little intention of embarking on a renovation project. Having left a stressful job behind, my aim was to kick back and relax for a while, before easing my way into paid employment. But when I set eyes on a neglected fisherman’s house for sale in one of the prettiest villages in France, I knew I had to have her. This is my story of how I gave this sad old lady with spectacular views a new lease of life.
Once you’ve found your perfect lot of land in France, you’ve got your architect to help you put your dream home down into an actionable plan, it’s time to find a trustworthy builder or developer. Penny in Normandy investigates how to find the right builder for you, how much to expect costs to be and what you should look out for.