Pont Noir

Live Life in Creuse

holiday home/permanent home
by desertwheatear • Fri 30 May 2014 14:19

My small family (me, partner, son) are considering buying a very small house in the Creuse department as a holiday home with a view to a more permanent move in the future. We don't really know the area, but we know a little about it as we have friends who are renovating nearby. Are there many people with holiday homes and are they welcome? I'm wary of adding to a housing shortage for locals in the same way as you do in the UK.
Thinking of somewhere near Fresselines.
Also, we've never bought a house before, I understand it's fraught with paperwork in France, any tips?


May 2014
Re: holiday home/permanent home
by smilespwp • Fri 30 May 2014 17:53
Hi Sally

I think you will find an abundance of properties for sale, and If you purchase, I am sure you won't be adding to any housing shortage. In our experience, buying a house in France, is far easier than UK, depends on how you do it. Estate Agent, Private sale, Notaire (who has to be involved in the legalities), but not necessarily the Notaire handling the sale.

I would be aware that a house you may purchase over here, if only wanted for a short while and then you intend to move on, might be more difficult to sell than UK, there being so many houses for sale. There could also be capital gains tax implications, depending on how long you keep the property before putting it back on the market.

It's a bit different than "Homes Under The Hammer", although there are some nice properties around for very reasonable asking prices.

I'm sure others on here will give their advice, but do your homework first. The paperwork is not that daunting , just get some advice on inheritance and making a declaration to cover yourselves in the event of a bereavement of one or the other of you. Hoping it never comes to that, but French inheritance laws are different than UK.
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Apr 2007
Re: holiday home/permanent home
by virtdave • Fri 30 May 2014 20:34
I'm not positive what the latest law in France is regarding resale--at one point, any gain on the sale of a property held for less than 15 years was subject to a confiscatory tax. And if you do plan to leave the property to an heir, consult the notaire about the possibility of putting their name on the acte de vente, as suggested by smilespwp. In general, we've found that French bureaucracy regarding property is not so much more onerous than it is in the USA, but the rules governing requirements such as sewage, water and electricity are in constant flux. Be sure you're informed about what fees might be required to bring your proposed new place up to code, and to get plugged into the appropriate utilities. We've had our place here almost 30 years, and have found local folks, at least where we are, to be helpful and welcoming...ymmv.
We spoke high-school French when we first got here, but did make an effort to become fairly fluent...it really helps.
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Sep 2008
Re: holiday home/permanent home
by Annik • Sat 31 May 2014 11:02
I would suggest that if you don't know the area you should come here for a holiday and have a good explore. You can then see what sort of properties are available and how much they are.

We have had our second home here for 20 years and have never come across any prejudice against second home owners. So many French people have a little place in the country that they have inherited from their families that it is not a phenomenon that is viewed with any suspicion – unlike in the UK.

However, buying a house anywhere is a big investment, so do your homework first and make sure you know what you are letting yourself in for. Try consulting magazines like Living France and French Property News, visit websites like this one, and read a few books by people who have already done what you are thinking of doing.

Good luck!
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Jun 2007
Re: holiday home/permanent home
by desertwheatear • Sat 31 May 2014 11:29
Thanks everyone. Planning to come over in the next couple of months for a good look around.
May 2014
Re: holiday home/permanent home
by cmchsmjm • Sat 31 May 2014 13:26
We have had a house near Chatelus-Malvaleix for 5 years now and found the whole process of viewing/buying really fun and interesting!

Our estate agent Sandrine (http://www.immo-creusois.fr/) was an amazing find and helped us a great deal and has remained friends to this day.
We live in a very small hamlet and our neighbours (now friends) have been lovely from day 1. It may be stating the obvious but it really does help if you muck in with anything you can. I help out at our friends farm whenever I am asked and find it interesting and a great way to improve my french (lots of farming terms!!)

Even though we bought a house here without knowing this part of France I would agree with Annik and say a holiday in the Creuse would really help in your decision making.

If you haven't done so already, we opened up a bank account with Credit Agricole (Britline) and took out our house insurance with them as well...English speaking and very helpful. I would go so far to say that they have been more efficient than our bank in the UK....
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Jan 2010
Re: holiday home/permanent home
by desertwheatear • Sat 04 Oct 2014 23:25
Well, we've just visited Creuse and it was everything and more than we hoped for. Wonderful walks, cycle rides, friendly and quiet. We also found a house and we're waiting to hear if our offer has been accepted. All a bit quicker than I would have expected, so if it doesn't work out this time I'll consider it a dry run. Only down side was so many people telling us that getting small mortgages with a French bank was almost impossible. If anyone has any advice or knows of anyone else who's achieved getting a small mortgage (approx Euro 40K) recently, do let me know.
So whether camping or holiday home, looking forward to many more months in Creuse over the coming years.
May 2014
Re: holiday home/permanent home
by Robjelves • Mon 06 Oct 2014 20:34
We purchased our property just over 12 months ago in Cheniers just round the corner from where you are looking. It was the best thing we have ever done, we are in a small hamlet with only one permanent french resident the other few are holiday homes for other french families. Our french is not brilliant but we have lots of fun with our new friends over a glass of vino.. A couple of the neighbours speak English so love to test out there english on us... Great for the annual party of the hamlet... We have been informed that it is our turn to host the party in three years time...can't wait.
We are over again in a few weeks sadly for the last time this year. All I can say is go for it and grab yourself a slice of the French way of life.
Dec 2013
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