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8 tips for renovating in France on a budget

PUBLISHED: 10:50 07 September 2016 | UPDATED: 10:50 07 September 2016

Expats Dave and Kris's renovated a derelict cottage in Béarn

Expats Dave and Kris's renovated a derelict cottage in Béarn


Trying to renovate a property on a tight budget? Kris and Dave Hallet managed it and share their tips for renovating on a budget

Shop around for the best buys on equipment and materials. Electrical stuff can be very expensive and especially things like wall sockets, which is very frustrating when you have an entire house to install.

Look it up on YouTube. This has been invaluable for information and tutorials. They have very useful guides on how to use, for instance, French plaster, and demonstrate techniques you’re not familiar with.

Make sure you can understand the French instructions. It’s been funny to see some of the things that you buy and you misinterpret how you use them. The first time I mixed up a bag of French plaster, I had a rock solid bucket. I hadn’t realised you need to mix little and often and use it quick.

Use the internet. The DIY store, Toolstation has opened up a French end, and if you order €100 worth of stuff, it’s free delivery. They have also launched a website so you can ask for their catalogue and compare prices between various DIY stores.

Don’t be fooled by bargains. We have found it a false economy to go to your local DIY store and buy a drill because it’s on offer when really it would have been better to pay a bit more for a quality item that will last a bit longer.

Pace yourself with the timing and the money, because both are going to take at least double. If you pace yourself, you have the chance to pull in some of that money you’re going to need further along.

Be organised with materials and planning to keep costs in trim: I order more sand, gravel or blocks than we need for the job that we’re doing because I’ve already looked ahead at what would be happening in the next six months, which is also a saving in the long term as well.

Learn French, either before or soon after you make the move. You can get by without knowing it, but you’ve got to embrace it once you’re here. If you really want to feel at home or start to feel it’s your new home, it’s the only way to tackle it. Here are 21 French words to help with your renovation

Read more about Kris and Dave’s move to France here

More articles on renovating a property in France:

Renovate your French property on sound legal foundations
7 questions to ask yourself before starting a renovation project in France
Renovating a Burgundy home while beating the bank
3 things to do before starting a renovation in France
Tax credits for renovation work in France

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