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Different ways to make money from your French property

PUBLISHED: 16:23 04 April 2017 | UPDATED: 16:23 04 April 2017

Making money from your French property © robert van beets / Thinkstockphotos

Making money from your French property © robert van beets / Thinkstockphotos

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From running a B&B or gîte to renting out your land or even listing your home as a location for filming, there are plenty of ways you can make money from your French property

There are plenty of ways to make your French property pay, be it on a small scale with minimal financial outlay or on a large scale requiring a much more significant investment. Whether you simply want to rent out a room or use your property as the base for a business venture, there’s no shortage of ways to offset some of the costs of your French home.

1. Running a B&B

Running a B&B or chambres d’hôtes in France is a popular way to earn money from your property, although you will need to be prepared for a lot of hard work. To be classed as a chambres d’hôtes, accommodation must not exceed 5 bedrooms catering for no more than 15 guests. All chambres d’hôtes must be registered with the local mairie and if you plan on offering an evening meal for guests they must eat the same meal as you and your family at the same table (a table d’hôtes) otherwise you could be classed as a restaurant. If you are situated in a popular tourist area but not somewhere already flooded with accommodation options then you could find yourself making enough money from your B&B to support you and your new life in France. Being self-employed will give you the flexibility to arrange your new life in France just how you want it.

Don’t forget to think about…

Be prepared for a lot of hard work! Your turnover of guests is likely to be fairly rapid and so you will need to do a lot of washing and cleaning to keep up with them. You will need to be up early to prepare breakfast and guests will expect you to be on hand to offer help and suggestions on what to do in the local area. Unless you are in a place with year-round appeal (like Paris) then you are likely to have extremely busy peak seasons and very quiet off-peak seasons so you will need to plan how you are going to make money during the quiet times. Also remember to factor things like a website and marketing into your expenses.

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2. Running a gîte business

For those who buy a property with outbuildings or several properties in an estate, renting out the extra properties to holidaymakers as gîtes is a popular way to earn a living in France. As a popular tourist destination France is a good place to set up a holiday letting business and it is a popular way to make a living among expats. It is less work than a B&B as most holiday lets are self-catering and it is less important that you are in a prime location as holidaymakers are more likely to be looking for a peaceful rural retreat in the countryside.

Don’t forget to think about…

Be realistic about how much money you can make from your holiday let, it is generally agreed that you’ll need at least 3 gîtes to make it viable to rely solely on them for your main source of income. The facilities demanded by holidaymakers are fairly high so you will need to invest in things like a television, wifi, nice toiletries, bedding and linen. A swimming pool is also often a must-have for those looking for holiday accommodation. You will also have to consider ways to make money from your gîtes in off-peak seasons, for example renting them to property hunters or those looking for longer term lets. Also remember to factor things like a website and marketing into your expenses.

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Imagine a fairytale wedding in a French chateau © Bogdan / dreamstime Imagine a fairytale wedding in a French chateau © Bogdan / dreamstime

3. Open a wedding business

You can get a lot more property for your money in France than in the UK and so many Brits are finding that a fairytale château is well within their price range. You could set up a regular B&B from your château but how about setting it up as a wedding venue? What could be more romantic than getting married in a fairytale French castle? TV personality Dick Strawbridge and his wife Angel set up a wedding business from their Loire Valley château and Channel 4 filmed them doing so in Escape to the Château while Clive Harvey rents his property in Deux-Sèvres to couples for their wedding day.

4. Rent out part or all of your property on Airbnb

Airbnb has grown hugely in popularity over that last few years and is now a common way for people to make a bit of extra money from their property. You can rent a room or your entire property on the site and for users it offers a lower-cost alternative to hotel accommodation as well as the experience of living like a local. The costs for a ‘host’ are fairly minimal as it is free to advertise on the site and you decide how much to charge. There is certainly a market for this type of accommodation in France. The country is Airbnb’s second largest market after the United States and Paris is the site’s most popular destination. In July 2016, Airbnb reported that the number of guests who had stayed in France since the site launched there in 2012 had passed 10 million, while figures for the year 2016 alone show eight million guest arrivals. According to Airbnb figures, host income earned between September 2014 and August 2015 across France amounted to €481m.

Don’t forget to think about…

As with a B&B you will have to be prepared to do the washing and cleaning associated with a high turnover of short-term guests and be prepared to share your home with strangers. Also be warned that there is growing oppostition to the site from the traditional hotel industry and a tightening of legislation around rules and tax for short term rentals.

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Rent out your garden to campers © Irochka / dreamstime Rent out your garden to campers © Irochka / dreamstime

5. Rent out your garden to campers

If you don’t have several buildings to rent out as gîtes or fancy having people stay in your house then you could still make money from holidaymakers by renting out your garden or land to campers. There are websites similar to Airbnb, such as Gamping that allow you to list your land for free and connect with campers looking for someone more peaceful and unusual than a traditional campsite to pitch their tent. These Brits went a step further and set up a luxury camping business in their garden.

6. Make use of your land

Many properties in France come with a lot more land than you would get in the UK and there is only so much you can use to grow flowers and vegetables! So why not think about renting some of your land out? You could look at renting out land as allotments or as grazing land for those with animals they don’t have space for. If you’re keen to start a business from your land then maybe look into setting up a stables or kennels or making wine from your vineyard or olive oil from your olive trees like these Brits did.

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Filming A New Life in the Sun for Channel 4 Filming A New Life in the Sun for Channel 4

7. Rent out your home as a film location

Do you live in a beautiful house that would look great on film? You could try renting out your house to production companies for TV shows or films or to magazines for photo shoots. France is a popular location for films as you can see from this list of film locations in France. There are a number of websites, like 20000lieux and Film France where you can register your home as a film location.

Don’t forget to think about…

You are unlikely to be able to make a living from renting your home to film companies but it could be a good way to earn some extra cash and you’ll get to see your home on the big screen! Be aware that a film company might want to redecorate and move things around your home for filming. This will be taken into account in the fee but you will have to give them free reign of your home.

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8. Rent out your parking space

If you live in a city or town or near a station, sporting or concert venue then there could be money to be made from your parking space or driveway. It is considerably cheaper for motorists to rent a private space than pay for parking in a car park or on the street and sharing websites, like Mobypark, have started to appear. It is relatively easy for the owners of parking spaces to list them on these sites with minimal cost.

9. Run courses from your home

Do you have a special skill that you could share with others? You could consider setting up a business from your home to teach others, for example a language school or craft courses like these expats did.

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10. Rent out your unused space

Do you have unused outbuildings or loft space? Maybe you could rent this out as storage to your neighbours, friends or family. It will be cheaper than conventional storage for them but remember to check your house insurance policy for liability.

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