How much to pay for gites

So the decision is made, you want to move to France. Not seeking fame and fortune perhaps, but food on the table would be nice. So how much money do you need and how much can you make.

Remember that everything here can only be a guideline - actual figures will vary with location, seasonal demand for the property, your skills at marketing; your skills at making people want to come back for a second stay and a multitude of other factors.

I am going to ignore completely the separate question of buying a property to renovate and converting it to gites, because that is a whole separate subject. If you are thinking of renovating please see the renovation section of this site.

How much should you pay

The value of any business is determined by the income that you believe you can generate from the business. With a gite complex there is an additional complication - the price includes your own house as well as those properties you will rent out.

So one approach is to try and put a 'fair price' on each part of the complex. If there is a house where you will live, 2*2 bedroom gites and 1*4bedroom gite, try and work out their separate values.

The value of the 'living accommodation' can be estimated by looking at similar properties in the area without gites.

For the gites you will then need to try and estimate two things - market rental rate per week, for each season of the year; and how many weeks you will be able to rent them out for.

Be extremely cautious about relying too heavily on the figures produced by the seller, unless they are backed up by names and addresses of customers that you can actually contact yourself. - look through lots of real properties listed on rental sites, that are actually booked, and estimate income from that.

Can I afford it?

Well we've seen that you will carefully calculate how much to pay, then forget about that and buy your ideal place, almost certainly paying too much for somewhere that will not generate enough income. Everyone else does, so why be different. Happily rising property prices, at least in the long-term, will mean that it isn't too important.

Well there is good news as well. You won't have a mortgage, you can drive a less flashy car, the restaurants you go to will be much cheaper, and there is little pressure to 'keep up with the Jones's'. No more train and taxi costs, and expensive manicures to cheer you up at the weekend. So outgoings will be a lot less.

However you can't eat fresh air or pay your bills with surplus tomatoes. You will need to pay for food, drink, car and petrol costs, insurance, repair costs, electricity and water bills, and some local taxes. With the exception of local taxes, which are a bit lower than in the UK, the other items will cost more or less the same. Slightly less but not enough to make a big difference. And those gites will all need furnishing.

I would say it is more or less impossible to support a family of four for less than 20,000 euros per year. Certainly you won't be having many luxuries, and many people would find this income hard to live on.

read part 3: practicalities of running gites