Fifth and last post in this series about what you should be aware of in the process of buying a home in Uzège. Download the full brochure here.
After having visited dozens of properties, you may come to the conclusion that the “dream house” you have been looking for doesn’t exist – well, at least not one that fits all of your criteria. So now could be the time to consider buying for less than you had in mind and undertaking a little renovation.
Like you, most buyers (including foreign buyers) are afraid of renovation jobs. Everybody wants a house where they can move in and start enjoying the pool. However, given the increasingly limited supply of quality properties, we find that a good number of buyers choose to review their options.
For example, where they had initially allocated 600,000€ for their purchase – without renovation costs – some buyers are now “reorganizing” their budget: 400,000-500,000€ towards the purchase of the property, and 100,000-200,000€ towards renovation costs. Typical projects include: creating new bathrooms, reorganizing kitchens, combining existing rooms, landscaping and swimming pools.
Such a choice may make a lot of financial sense – as properties obviously gain value in the renovation process. Mind you, few renovation projects are real money makers – but most ensure that buyers don’t lose money at the time of resale.
Which type of renovation?
Full blow renovation projects are still possible to find around Uzès, but you should be careful about which renovation project you choose if you want to make a profit. The usual advice applies – choose your location carefully if you hope to sell it on, be realistic about your renovation budget, and don’t expect large capital growth at the moment.
Renovating houses to supply the rental market may be a good option in Uzès, as the local French residents are finding it increasingly difficult to buy their own property, and long-term rentals are in high demand. Thanks to the area’s excellent tourism credentials, there is a strong, but highly competitive, short-term holiday rental market – which would definitely go some way towards paying for second mortgages should you choose to rent your property out.
Avoid DIY projects
DIY renovation is not for the faint hearted or anyone with a day job (unless you’re in the construction industry, of course). Be realistic about what you’re prepared to put up with in terms of discomfort - and financial strain - while the work is being done. Do you really want to live on a building site for a year or two?
Find qualified help
Paying someone else to do the dirty work is an easier albeit more expensive option, but remember to “count your pennies” carefully to avoid going over budget. Err on the side of caution. When choosing builders, plumbers or electricians, personal recommendation goes a long way; use bona fide French workers to ensure up-to-date knowledge of, and strict adherence to, French regulations. An ability to speak fluent French is helpful, and appointing someone to manage the project in your absence is wise. Look before you leap. Get a reputable builder’s opinion before you buy, and ask for all estimates and plans in writing before work starts.
If your newly bought home is in need a structural renovations, you should budget up to 1,200€/m². If you’re only looking at a major refurbishment, plan on spending between 350€/m² and 650€/m². Landscaping costs run to about 35€/m², and a swimming pool will cost you between 9,000€ and 25,000€. A new septic tank will cost approx. 8,000€.