Living a charmed life in a French château is the ultimate dream − and it’s not out of buyers’ reach. France has châteaux of all sizes on the market, many dating back to the early 19th century. Here are the FrenchEntrée Property Services team’s insider tips to finally making your dream come true.
Decide whether you’re looking for a renovation opportunity or a château that’s ready to move into. Sometimes a château in need of renovation – decoratively, structurally or both – will come on the market. However, remodelling a château isn’t always worthwhile because, in many cases, buying involves less effort and overall expense. However, if you’re after a challenge and have the necessary funds, then there are a number of beautiful châteaux in need of some tender, loving care.
Châteaux can make profitable businesses, so do consider your options. Examples with adequate grounds are often sought after for sporting businesses, such as fishing and equestrian schools, or to be used as hunting, walking and wildlife grounds, and for many other outdoor activities. Sometimes a château may even come on the market with a working orchard, an olive grove or the potential for a vineyard. In addition, châteaux are superb venues for weddings and other significant social functions, and make not only a spectacular setting for restaurants, but desirable and luxurious hotels that attract affluent guests who are keen to sample their myriad charms.
Set your budget, including how much you’ll need to spend once you’ve purchased the property. When looking at a château in need of renovation, you should find out how much it will cost to restore and decorate once you’ve purchased it. From a structural point of view, it’s important to bear in mind that the costs of renovating a substantial property such as a château can be considerable. Our agents advise that, on average, you should consider spending anything between €700 and €1,500 per square metre (the latter if it’s a total rebuild) to renovate a ruin. If the property is merely in need of internal modernisation and refurbishment (for example kitchens, bathrooms and heating) then you can generally reduce this figure by almost 50%.
Decide on the location in which you want to purchase a château as there are many available on the French property market – from smaller manor houses to enormous stately homes, not to mention numerous grand, royal and secular palaces. Such properties can be found in all areas across France, from Burgundy to the Pays-de-la-Loire. The Limousin offers potential château purchasers more affordable alternatives, with a number of manor houses on the market while, for example, in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region, you’ll get far less for your money.
After you’ve decided upon an area, approach a few agents who deal with prestige properties and let them know exactly what you’re looking for and your budget. It pays to stay with an agent you can trust as they’ll ensure that you don’t travel many miles, only to suffer a fruitless trip. Build a good relationship with your agent so that they’ll let you know when properties meeting your criteria come onto the market and give you the ‘first refusal’.
Don’t go for the first château you visit without careful consideration, especially if it’s in need of repair. Be realistic in your expectations – it’s extremely advantageous to find a château where the roof has actually been well maintained and there’s relatively little that needs repairing or updating. There are many other factors to consider depending upon your personal situation.
Whether you’re looking to purchase a French château as a permanent residence or business opportunity, the FrenchEntrée Property Services team has many to choose from. So if elegance, style and exquisite architecture are what you desire from a property, why not make a French château your home? Start your search here, email us at [email protected], or call us on +44 (0)1225 463752.