Gîtes for sale in France
One way to make your move to France self-financing is to buy a gîte (self-catering) property comprising a dwelling for you to live in and several gîtes to rent out.
The advantage of buying a gîte as a going concern is not only that you will generate an immediate income from existing bookings and return clients, but you will also be spared the bureaucracy and paperwork involved in starting a businesss from scratch.
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Another option is to buy a property with outbuildings and convert them into gite accommodation. If you take this route then make the purchase conditonal on receiving planning permission (certificate d’urbanisme or ‘CU’) for the conversion work by inserting a ‘condition suspensive’ (get-out clause) into of the ‘compromis’ (preliminary contract). If the CU is refused you can withdraw from the purchase, be refunded your deposit and continue searching elsewhere.
You might choose to adhere to Gîtes de France who will classify and market your gîte in return for an annual subscription. This is not compulsory – and possibly not necessary if you are targetting only UK clients - but joining will certainly boost your number of French visitors. Gîtes de France will rate your gîte according to criteria ranging from architecture and setting to comfort and services. Their system uses ‘épis’ or ears of corn:
For a ‘rural gîte’ (accommodating between 2 and 10 people)
1 ear of corn: outside space, garden furniture: one bathroom and toilet (a second bathroom for 7 people or more); mini-oven, kitchen table, pressure cooker, fridge, cleaning materials, iron, baby seat on request.
2 ears of corn: in additon to above; barbecue, washing machine (in gîtes for 6 people or more), blender, coffee-maker,TV aerial, table cloths and towels on request.
3 ears of corn: in addition to above; independent access and private garden, 2 toilets (in gites for 7 people or more), dishwasher* (in gîtes for 5 people or more), oven, colour television, telephone, cleaning service on request.
4 ears of corn: in addition to above; a unique setting, extremely high standard of internal decoration, fireplace or wood-burning stove, microwave, fridge with freezer section, tumble-dryer (in properties for 6 people or more).
5 ears of corn: in addition to above; private parkland or landscaped garden, leisure facilities on hand (e.g. swimming pool, sauna, jacuzzi or tennis court), garage.
Different criteria appy for stopover gîtes and holiday gîtes (both accommodating between 12 and 50 people) and children’s gîtes (consult Gîtes de France).
French Property Centre would advise you to contact Gîtes de France prior to their inspection and ask for a ‘grille de classification’ (a checklist) which will help you to see if you’re meeting the required standards; and if not, to do something about it.
If you are buying a property with a large amount of land you should be aware that notaires are obliged by law to notify SAFER (La Société d’Aménagement Foncier et d’Établissement Rural) of the sale of any land over 5,000m2 or the sale of any agricultural buildings. If SAFER considers that the land or building is essential to the survival of a local farming concern then it can pre-empt the sale and offer it to that local farmer instead. In most instances this is a mere formality, but should SAFER exercise its right then you are automatically protected by the Compromis de Vente which will ensure that your deposit is returned.
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- Angloweb (websites for B&B, gite & business owners)
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- Cordiez Solicitors (Franco-British specialists in French property law)
- Hunts International Removals
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- George East's books on France
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