Brit Tony Markowski and his family have owned a second home in the Loire Valley for 14 years. He shares 9 tips for choosing the right property and making the most of your second home
1. Choose a location with good transport links to make sure that you can get to your second home easily and quickly. This will also be a plus if you plan to rent your property out.
2. Think carefully about whether you go for a town or country property, especially if you’re going to rent it as a holiday let. are there people nearby who can help you with changeovers, cleaning and gardening, and will they keep an eye on the property when you’re not there?
3. Make sure there is plenty to do in the surrounding area, and that facilities such as shops, restaurants, etc, aren’t too far away. You don’t want to spend all your precious time in France driving backwards and forwards to the supermarket.
4. Practise the language and use it, however imperfectly – it doesn’t matter, just try. Socialise with neighbours. My French is ok, but I get caught out like anybody else and it really doesn’t matter. There is a misunderstanding among English people that the French aren’t welcoming, but that has never been my experience.
5. Establish local links, and nurture them. They are invaluable. don’t be an expat.
6. Get some help from a notaire when checking out the legalities. The legal system is different and you need someone you can trust.
7. Weigh up whether foreign ownership is what you want as it does tie you to one holiday destination in particular.
8. If the property has a pool, this will be a great plus for your guests, but make sure you can find someone who will maintain it for you and keep the safety fence, etc, in good order.
Read about the Markowski family’s holiday home in the Loire Valley