Figuring out what to do and how to do it!

Any thoughts and recommendations will be so very much appreciated at this point.
We have a large beautiful old Mas with pool in the Gard region of France (near to Ales and Anduze) .

It is currently on the market, but i have been given an amazing opportunity to part own it with my uncle who lives in California (I live in the UK) and therefore avoid selling up.

The idea would be to let it out as a holiday house for a couple of years, but i am really struggling to find any property management services that trade in that area.

Anyone got any thoughts on keeping it vs selling it and particularly any contacts for management services that trade in the Languedoc area.

Thank you!

All I can say is, do you really want the hassle? As absentee owners you have a lot of responsabilities and finding someone you can really trust to carry out those for you without ripping you off or scamming you. Letting out a property is fraught at anytime unless you are on site or nearby and when I was on our local tourist board some years ago now, we had some horrendous tales from local owners of how their “visitors” behaved and many removed their rentals because of the cost of keeping them going after being trashed. This is something only you and your family can decide and although I am in the Languedoc region, its a long way away so have no contacts. Have you contacted the local tourist office who deal with your area?

Thanks Shiba - its a very good point!
I have been reading about some of the horror stories.
Definitely something to consider.
And i suppose we also have to think about the neighbours and how they would feel about potentially rowdy or disrespectful people in their sleepy little hamlet…

Really good food for thought.
Thank you

What about letting it as a long-term rental instead of as a holiday home? You might still get some disrespectful tenant, but I’d say it’s less likely than if you have different people staying each week via AirBnB. You could then use a traditional letting agency to do all the heavy lifting for you (at a cost, of course).

First off, have you done any calculations about what this house costs you each year if you kept it? And then what would be the kind of profit on top of that which would make it worthwhile to continue to keep it? This would help give you a basic reality check.

If you were to rent it you and your uncle would presumably still want to use it, and maybe at peak times? So what/how many peak weeks would be left to rent? Looking at similar properties in the area do they rent for enough per week to achieve the profit you need? Bearing in mind that you should assume a conservative 30% profit on turnover. So if you need €10000 to cover costs and make this worthwhile as a non-resident landlord using a full management company you will need a turnover closer to €30000.

But if you are still onboard, then consider

  • work needed to make the place safe to rent, wonky equipment, smoke alarms etc
  • how you would remove anything that you would not want ruined
  • if you are aiming for top rental then all equipment including beds and bedding also need to be top quality
  • management is not just bookings, check-in/check-out, and cleaning but also dealing with a blocked toilet in a sunday and 10 more guests turning up than had booked. A good company will not be the cheapest service.

You then will need to register and get a siret number (easy and free), talk to your insurance company, and prepare all rental documents and your marketing. Register for taxe de séjour.

As well as your management company you will pay commission up to 15% on bookings if you use the main portals, you will have to pay tax and argue to get exemption from social charges as non-resident, in the second year you will have to pay business tax. I could go on.

So final question - with the amount it costs you to keep each year also consider whether you and your uncle would prefer to use that to rent other gîtes in different parts of France instead?

We run a gîte, and get a good return as we are next door. And we also do it as we enjoy our clients! Several are now good freinds. But you would not be there to get those benefits.

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. Jane - thank you so much for taking the time to give me all this info!
This is so very helpful.
I really appreciate it. Lots to think about here!

Maybe the long term rental idea from Gareth is more feasible.

Or maybe we just don’t rent it out at all - keep it locked up and then open it for the summer for all the family to enjoy…

I feel very privileged to even have this problem in the first place.

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Extremely valid pont Gareth!
Great idea…
Maybe do this for a couple of years to build some capital and do it up a bit…

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Be aware that tenancy laws are very strong in France. Many are under the impression that a 1 year furnished rental is just that, and the owner can ask them to leave at the end of the year or at any point with 3 months notice. And rentals are remarkably low.

However, they are rolling contracts and if the tenant doesn’t want to leave then the only legal reasons to give them notice is if you wish to sell the property or move back into it yourself (or close family member) as a maison principal. Just as a holiday home is not enough to evict someone.

And further protections if the tenant is over 65.

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Thanks Jane. this is really good to know!

Hi Gemma. I’d be interested in finding out more about your home and a long term rental situation. I live in the San Francisco Bay Area, am a real estate agent and own my own home, which I’ll sell to move to France next spring. I’m new to this site. Is there a way to chat off this forum? Or PM you directly? Nancy.

Hi Nancy - Yes. i am new to this too!
I cant see a way to PM - but i dont mind giving you my email address: gemmaroseaston@gmail.com
Very happy to discuss this further.
Gemma

@Gemma to send a private message just click on the persons avatar and you’ll see a message box pop up. You might not want to publish your email address to everyone😲

Hi Mark - i tried that - but no message option popped up. Its an email address i don’t use. So it will be ok to just get the ball rolling! but thanks for the heads up!

Hello Gemma and welcome
Are you saying that the amazing opportunity is that your uncle is proposing to buy half the house from you and you become joint owners?
Certainly an amazing opportunity for your uncle to get a property for half price!
As you are in the process of selling then presumably you have decided letting/long term lets wouldn’t work for you and the house no longer works for you. What guarantee is there that sharing the cost of such a venture with your uncle would work. Yes you would reduce your expenses by 50% but also reduce and potential profit by the same amount.
Your uncle would effectively become a business partner which is a totally different relationship than uncle and niece.

Thank you. really good points here.
The house is owned by me and my sister - but my sister isnt interested in keeping it for various reasons. But i cant afford to buy her out - so this was a way of doing it and keeping it…

its all starting to sound just too complicated though!!

So it would be your sister selling her half to your uncle.
I think @JaneJones will be able to inform you better than me but I feel sure that any change of ownership is effectively treated as the house being sold so you would incur notaires fees/taxes on the full value of the property at a guesstimate of around 10%.
edit: 10% would be notaire and agents fees so notaire alone around 3 to 4%
As you say, more complications.
Out of interest how long has the house been on the market and have you had any offers?
Have you given the immobilier exclusivity on the sale or are you able to find your own buyer without the immobilier insisting on their cut of ?%.

Thank you for this.
so good to understand the financial implications @JaneJones do you have any more insights in this process - i would be really gratful for any more info.

Its been on the market for about 9 months - yes - they have exclusivity.
But they’ve not really ‘gone for it’ yet - i think they are waiting for the spring to spring!
My husband and i are going down to the house in a few weeks to clear the jungle and clean the house and open everything up for the summer.