NEW v. OLD?
This is the new debate. For a long time it has been the done thing, much to the amusement of the French, for legions of Brits to visit the Dordogne, fall in love with the place and to want to live here in a typically French house. The funny bit is the seemingly insatiable desire to buy some delapitated stone pile and spend a kings ransom and several years creating a home, often involving penury and risking divorce when, to the French mind there is a simpler way! Buy a new one!!
There is absolutely nothing wrong with the renovation route, you end up with a stunning property, very regional, probably with land and something to be immensely proud of. However,the down side can often be a huge overrun on budget because of all the hidden problems with older properties so, potential delays and the inevitable strains on relationships.
With French inheritance laws its possible after all the effort and costs for there to be a dispute amongst offspring even in the most reasonable of families. Resulting in a disagreement and the property being left unoccupied whilst battles are fought. That is one of the reasons why there are so many properties in a sorry state to begin with. Cost efficiency and enjoyment have to come into the reckoning now and many people are looking seriously at the wisdom of this route and considering others.
Yes, even with new build its still possible for the ungrateful little ……darlings to fight when push comes to shove but, a new property probably fairs better if left for a while. Its also not consumed vast amounts of money or taken half a generation to be completed for you to actually live in it, dressed in your best and not covered in a patina of building dust-in other words, relatively instant enjoyment.
Think also of being built to your specific requirements, not suffering from permanent, mild concussion whilst walking from bedroom to bedroom rediscovering forgotten roof timbers. The joys of walls that are straight, modern septic arrangements, thermal efficiency and central heating. These are some of the reasons the French have a little laugh at us and now the evidence suggests that more and more Brits are also laughing by taking the new home route.
The costs are very often cheaper than renovation and you get what you want. Many new home companies have a pick n mix option where you can choose from a portfolio of designs and then have your choice customised just for you. It means the property is still very marketable because of all its modern attributes unless, of course, your tastes are wild – but then you probably wouldn’t get planning permission!
More and more younger people are looking to cross the channel on a permanent basis, setting up home in a new house that is small-child friendly, is attractive. New houses sold as a complete package with ‘easier’ to get mortgages make the transition far easier and instant with less waiting and uncertainties. Not having the middle age nest-egg to bring comfort to a lengthy renovation or no time because of work constraints are no longer a worry.
To summarise, its a big country with lots of room for you to have your bit. Whether you have a romantic dream of working from the ground up progressing from wellies to slippers or, a quick move in and get on with work and life, its all possible – your choice. Bonne chance!