Property development in 17

Dear All,

I am going to be taking early retirement in a couple of years, and want to find myself a paying hobby.

We have a house in the Charente Maritime, and I intend to spend more time there and I have done some property development in the UK, although it is not my main business.

I enjoy doing work to properties and was thinking of buying small houses <100,000 euro and renovating them either to rent or sell.

Does anyone have experience of this sort of activity, e.g. is there money to be made (even a modest return) rather than a loss? Can I stay UK resident for tax purposes or do I have to engage with the French tax system - which I hear is even less fun than ours, and generally what are the pitfalls and benefits?

I hope the phrasing off the question is not too vague, but I'm still in the process of refining my thinking.

Thanks in advance.



Hi John,

Thanks for that - I had a feeling that may be the case. I might dip my toe in the water in a couple of years with a very small project and see how I get on.

There has been plenty written on this subject. The reality is that two factors work against you if you are planning to renovate and sell; firstly it’s much harder to add value to buildings in France than in the UK and secondly the rural housing market is very slow. You might end up having to wait years before finding a buyer. On one expat forum a regular contributor is a builder who specialises in renovating and selling on low priced properties and he seems to do well.
In the right location renovating to rent out may be a better option but there are plenty of horror stories about running gites or letting long term as well.