Initially, it might seem a daunting process when letting your property abroad; however it can be highly rewarding and potentially profitable. It’s a fantastic way of generating additional income and can help it pay its own way.
At Leggett Property Management we believe that letting your holiday property should be simple, stress free and successful. To help you get started we’ve outlined some FAQ’s that we hope will help you understand how Turquoise can help you get the best out of your property rental.
Looking after my French holiday home
It is very likely that your holiday home is one of the most important assets you own, and that it cost hundreds of thousands of euro’s. As such, you need to look after it in a way that means your asset grows in value, rather than depreciates. A good property manager will be your eyes and ears on the ground, and an important link with local tradesmen. This means that the property will be at its best when you (or your guests) come to visit, and that any issues are spotted, and reported, early. This is definitely a case of “you get what you pay for” – leaving the care of your property to, for example, a neighbour or their children is a high risk strategy. You should always use a fully insured, reputable, company.
Imagine that you are staying in a first class hotel. The concierge will look after you in a hundred different ways – from ordering a taxi, getting you tickets to a sold-out concert or simply having your bags taken to your room. The same principle applies here and the cost is minimal (we even hold your keys free of charge). We will inspect your property regularly and make a special visit if the weather has been particularly bad. We can pick up your post and help you deal with anything urgent. We will arrange for your lawn to be cut, your grounds maintained and for your swimming pool to be opened, looked after and shut down for the winter. We can be there for deliveries and we can arrange for local tradesmen and artisans to work on your property. There are one thousand and one other ways that we (or our local suppliers) have helped clients in the past – airport runs, assembling furniture, accompanying clients to hospital, visits to the vet….just use your imagination.
We offer a free key-holding service and have a “pay as you go” option but most clients sign up for one of our great value packages, which start from just 69€ per month. You can see our full pricing package for concierge services here.
Leggett Property Management has all of the required Civile Responsibilité and Professional Indemnity insurances and hold a Carte Professionnelle (G). Similarly, all of our property managers are fully insured and work under our card. Finally, we only work with trusted and fully registered artisans – under the table payments, or “working on the black”, are strictly forbidden.
Renting out my French holiday home
This will obviously depend upon the size and location of your property. A chalet in the French Alps, will rent for more than a small cottage in the Dordogne. Your very best starting point is to ask us to undertake a full rental study. This will look at the kind of income returns you could expect, the competition in your area and gives all the data needed to prepare an optimal pricing analysis. You can ask us for a free rental study here.
That’s easy, just appoint Leggett Property Management and we will hold your hand throughout the whole process. Together we will agree the price you should be charging and the dates that the property is available. After that we will prepare the adverts, handle the online bookings and can meet & greet guests and handle changeovers. Our carefully chosen partners can advise on insurance, tax and handle any accounting needs.
We charge a 15% commission on your rental income. In addition, if you would like us to take care of your home and guests we charge 95€ for up to three nights, or 140€ for four nights and over. You can see full details here.
Taxation on my French holiday home
It is very likely that your holiday home is one of the most important assets you own, and that it cost hundreds of thousands of euro’s. As such,
You need to identify your tax residence. You are a French tax resident if you meet any of these criteria:
- France is your main residence, or home
- You spend more than 183 days a year here
- Your principal business activity, and income, is derived in France
- Most of your assets are to be found here
You are liable to pay tax on worldwide income, gains and real estate wealth.
Capital Gains Tax (CGT) – Other than your main home you pay CGT at 19%, plus surtaxes, + 7.5% social charges. The surtaxes are between 2-6%. CGT is reduced by length of ownership, starting in year six with full redemption coming in year 22. UK residents may also have to pay tax in their home country although it will be offset by tax paid in France.
Income Tax – if you are renting out your property in France the net income will be taxed between 11-41% plus 17.2% social charges. There are different tax regimes and we strongly recommend you speak with an expert. Leggett Property Management has partnered with a French tax specialist, email us to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will put you in touch.
Inheritance Tax – this is charged on individual beneficiaries rather than the estate. Rates on children are low (starting at 5%), on other relatives between 35-55% and on non family they are extortionate at 60%.
Here is the timetable for 2022:
April 7th – online system opens
May 19th – paper declarations
May 25th – online submissions for depts 1-19
May 31st – online submissions for depts 20-54
June 7th – online submissions for depts 55-976
July onwards – Avis d’Impositions issued
October – online corrections available
No, we are a property management company. However, we have partnered with a French Tax expert who will be able to calculate and file your claims and minimise your liability. Simply contact us at email@example.com and we will put you in touch. They are located in France, cover the whole country and are fully bilingual.
Buying a holiday home in France
Yes, absolutely. France has one of the most secure and stable property markets in the world. Estate agencies work under strict regulations and all sales are overseen by a Notaire. It is possible to buy property privately, without using an estate agent, but this is not for the faint-hearted. Our sister company, Leggett Immobilier, is the leading international estate agency in France. They have thousands of properties for sale across France, including all of the most popular second home regions. You can browse their listings here : www.leggettfrance.com. They have produced an excellent guide to buying property in France and you can download a copy here.
If you are buying through an estate agent then their costs should already be included in the “window price” and in their advertising. They will also be itemised in all contracts. The only major additional cost are the Notaire’s fees which incluse all searches and Government taxes. Very roughly they will be an additional 6-7% and you will know the exact cost before you sign the Compromis de Vente. There is an excellent online calculation tool here.
Natalie Leggett, runs the Leggett Immobilier sales support team. Here is what she has to say:
“The phones are currently ringing off the hook and demand for country houses in France has never been so high. All of us are extremely grateful to say that Leggett Immobilier has seen record sales throughout the turbulence of the last couple of years and been able to grow and offer employment opportunities across the country. We’re not alone though, the Notaires de France report that the market is certain to see well over a million transactions again in 2021.
But, if you are looking to buy, then a hot market can complicate the process, particularly if you live overseas or are looking to buy a holiday home in a different region. How can you make sure that you see suitable properties as soon as they hit the market, and how can you ensure that your offer is accepted, in front of other buyers, without paying over the odds for the property?
We have a huge portfolio of properties to choose from and the first step is to go to our website and sign up for our “property alerts”. Simply put in your search criteria and we will start sending you email alerts when a property that matches your criteria hits the market. Similarly, if a suitable property has been reduced in price, we’ll let you know.
The next step is the most essential though. Talk to us.
It sounds like a cliché but the Leggett team really does go the extra mile to make sure that your dream of buying a property here goes as smoothly as possible. We wouldn’t have been voted “Best estate agent in France” for the last eight years running if we weren’t doing something right!
The moment we take your call you will be in safe hands. It’s important to give us as much information as possible about your search. If you’re unsure about something then simply ask our experienced sales support team. How much do Notaire’s charge? what’s the climate like in the Dordogne? do you need planning permission to put a pool in? Ask and we’ll help you out.
At this early stage it is important that you are as open as possible about what you want. Think about the geographic location you want to be in – how are you going to access the property and at what times of year? Don’t forget that that some airline carriers only operate summer schedules and that French motorways are well maintained and usually a joy to drive on. The TGV network has also recently been upgraded – as an example the average journey time from St Pancras to Bordeaux is now just 5 hours 50 minutes.
Next, take a look at the kind of property you’d like. There are many questions you may not know the answer to, but there will always be a list of “must haves”. For instance, you may need a home office and fast broadband but only prefer to have a barn for your collection of vintage bicycles.
Please do make these clear so that our team can refine the search and present you with our most suitable listings. If you can establish a rapport with our team then we’re likely to hit the spot when we contact you with a property that has just come on the market!
Once you have agreed your viewing itinerary you will get to meet some of our local agents. They will live and work in their area and I would encourage you to exploit their knowledge to the maximum! Ask them questions about what it’s like in the different seasons, do local hospitals & schools have a good reputation, which are the popular towns & villages with the locals (and why), are there local traffic issues?
Many of our listings will have videos or virtual tours and these are excellent if you can not travel to an area at the drop of a hat. They have been used extensively by both our domestic and overseas buyers during the pandemic.
Hopefully, you’ll find a property that matches your brief and you’ll want to make an offer. This is where it’s crucially important that you have sorted out financing beforehand. Remember all those other buyers you are completing with! Having an “in principle” mortgage offer in place shows you are serious and puts you in a strong negotiating position and will make your offer stand out. Being in a position to move quickly will help beat off any other buyers sniffing around.
With Leggett Immobilier, you’ll always find that our fees are included within the asking price, but don’t forget that you’ll need to set aside an extra 7-10% to pay the notaire for his costs & search fees. These are obligatory but you do have the option of choosing your own notaire at no extra cost (our team will be happy to recommend one if necessary).
The “icing on the cake” when buying through Leggett, is that we have an in-house contracts department who will be by your side from start to finish. They are experienced, bilingual and friendly to work with, and no other estate agency in France offers this kind of service (don’t forget what I said at the start about our winning that award for eight years years running).
Selling my holiday home in France
You can choose to either try and sell your property privately, or you can mandate an estate agent to sell it on your behalf. Once you have agreed an asking price with the agent they will measure and photograph the property, prepare “sales details” and undertake viewings. They will also help you instruct specialists to prepare a diagnostics dossier for the property. Once an acceptable offer is put forward you (and the buyers) will sign a Compromis de Vente and then completion takes place when both parties sign the Acte de Vente. You can download a copy of the Leggett Immobilier Sellers Guide here.
Yes indeed. Last year there were 1.2M properties sold in France, far higher than typical. There is currently a shortage of stock on the market and most properties are selling in record quick time, particularly country houses. 2022 is sure to remain a “sellers market”.
Joanna Leggett is one of the leading experts in marketing French property, appearing on TV and in the press regularly. She has the following advice:
“The most important advice I can give is “give Leggett Immobillier an exclusive mandate”. I say that with my tongue a little in cheek of course, but I genuinely believe that our marketing to domestic and international buyers is unrivaled. Each year, we spend almost 3m euros promoting our listings on TV, magazines, newspapers, portals, exhibitions and via the internet. Our websites attract around 500,000 visitors a month and we have a database of over 60,000 registered buyers from around the world.
But what else can you do to make your property stand out from the crowd? After all, there were well over one million properties sold in France last year, despite the pandemic, so the competition is fierce. Here are my six top tips:
1. Make sure “the price is right” – I’m not going to tell you how long I have been doing this for, but I am yet to hear of a vendor who doesn’t have an inflated idea of the value of his property, it’s human nature! We invest so much in turning our house into our home, that it’s difficult to reconcile that the buyer looks at it through different eyes. They don’t care what you bought it for, nor how much you have spent on renovations, refurbishment or simple decoration. No, your buyer will look at what they see as comparable properties and will be checking to see if yours is competitively priced. So, have an honest discussion with your agent, before listing your house. Ask them what price similar properties are selling for and take their advice.
2. A good first impression is everything – don’t just take my word for it though. A study, by scientists at Princeton University, showed that first impressions of people are made in just one-tenth of a second and it’s pretty likely that it’s the same for a house. This means that you need to move cars, bicycles, toys and general clutter. Keep barking dogs at bay. If you have a front garden then make it as colourful and attractive as possible, planters with fresh flowers pay for themselves a hundred times over if you’re trying to sell. It always helps to physically stand in the area that your buyer will first see the house and take a look through a fresh pair of eyes. Am I giving the best first impression possible?
3. Spend time on the most important room – “Kitchen. Noun – A gathering place for friends and family. A place where memories are homemade and seasoned with love.”. Make yours as attractive as possible, leave the sink and worktops tidy and clean. Smell is important as well as sight, don’t let the bins or, worse still, a cat litter tray be the abiding memory that people have of the kitchen. Again, there’s a reason that those developers always have a fresh pot of coffee on the boil and it’s not to keep their sales staff refreshed!
4. “Light & airy” sells, particularly since the pandemic – have you ever been in a builders “show home”? There is a reason that they are brilliantly lit. People like light, it makes them feel warm and safe – more so given the events of the last couple of years. It gives them confidence that nothing is being hidden. My advice is to open those shutters wide, clean the windows, replace any broken bulbs and even consider a fresh coat of paint.
5. Let the agent do their job – I can only talk on behalf of Leggett agents but they 100% know what they are doing. We spend huge sums on in-house training and keeping them up to date with changes in property law, market conditions and (of course) how to best present properties . Stay in the background but do be prepared to answer questions. Which brings me on to my final point:
6. Be ready for an offer – you can do this before the very first viewing takes place. Prepare a file that has copies of your previous Acte de Vente and that gives the answer to questions before they are even asked. This includes local property taxes, copies of artisans bills and copies of any guarantees for work undertaken. Uncertainty can be off-putting for buyers and it gives them an opening to negotiate on price – don’t give them the opportunity!”
Have a question?
If you need assistance, would like a free estimation or further information, please send us a message using the contact form, and one of our team will get back to you.