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5 tips for renovating a property in France

PUBLISHED: 10:00 13 March 2015 | UPDATED: 09:31 20 October 2015

Before renovation © David Morgan

Before renovation © David Morgan

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Expats David and Elaine Morgan successfully renovated a property in Aveyron, they share their tips on how to make a property renovation run smoothly in France

After renovation © Nigel WildAfter renovation © Nigel Wild

1. Get all your approvals, such as planning permission, in place before you start. In France, your first port of call is the local mairie, who will help and guide you through the process. It takes time, so be patient and heed their advice. For example, our purchase also involved part of an adjoining field, which meant involving SAFER (the Société d’Aménagement Foncier et d’Établissement Rural), which is a government body that has the pre-emptive right to buy rural property ahead of any would-be purchaser, but at the same price. SAFER were not interested, but it took time for the paperwork to grind through the government mill.

2. Complete your design before seeking quotes (called a ‘devis’ in French). If you start with just an outline design and keep making changes, it will simply cost you more. You need proper architect’s drawings for the planning permission (called a ‘permis de construire’ in French).

3. Have a contingency fund available – not everything goes to plan.

4. Do your homework thoroughly and research the area fully before committing yourself. Our friends lived nearby and were a mine of information on the area itself: shopping, services, the doctor, the dentist. They also gave us reassurance that there were no plans for things like an autoroute or TGV line to be built.

5. Maintaining a good relationship with your builder is vital; creating your dream home is a team effort.

Read about David and Elaine’s renovation in Aveyron

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