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Looking To spend £800k in Provence

Discussion in 'French Property' started by busgrw, Jul 24, 2008.

  1. busgrw

    busgrw New Member


    I am considering looking for a plot of land and building a villa in Provence and I would be very grateful for any advice that people could offer. Is this such a good idea as I would not like to lose any money.

    Ideally, I would love to live near the coast and because the Cote d'Azur is probably too expensive I am open to living anywhere down the coast towards Toulon (and further if it is worth it).

    I suppose the main questions i'm looking answered are:

    1 - Is it worth the money building my own villa?
    2 - Will I lose money in the process?
    3 - What sort of villa could I expect to build in this region?

    Thanks for all your help.
  2. Lysos

    Lysos New Member

    First mistake - openly stating what your budget is.
  3. LaBaguette

    LaBaguette New Member

    property in France

    I've just read your post. I am french and hope I can help you.
    The area you chose is a nice one. And you're right, it is most expensive in the Cote d'Azur. I think you are very brave to think about building your villa but you may have some luck because I suppose that you will find more english speaking builders and administrations in the South of France - more touristic. I live in the South West France near Bordeaux, in the countryside and it is not impossible for an english speaking person but more difficult to live here if this person doesn't speak french. I would say that there are a lot of nice persons anyway and english speaking people don't struggle too long ! :rolleyes:

    Let's go back to your wish and question. I can only advise you to choose an english speaking builder, you'll find it easier. Or even better : an english (speaking) architect who will make the project for you from A to point Z. The architect also deals with the uilder, the electrician, the plumber etc. If not, you will have to fill a lot of forms - if you're not use to it you will understand that filling forms is a french speciality - as planning permission of course and all that stuff. For that you will have to visit the 'Mairie' (Councel) where you want to build your villa before to start anything (they will give you the forms and advices).

    Personally I am running a website with an english business partner living in the South West France like me - he would have a lot to tell you - and without wanting to make any publicity for my job, I apologise in advance to the webmaster, my will is only to help you finding your dream's location to invest your money in France (and start a new life perhaps ?), I invite you to have a look here :
    Estate agents and private sellers advertise here their lands, properties for sale and after a quick check, I've found 2 lands for sale in Provence. This information may interest you.

    I wish you good luck and hope you will come to my wonderful country !
  4. LaBaguette

    LaBaguette New Member

    . Coming to France to choose a place - will cost money
    . Buying the land - Go to a 'notaire' to have all the legal security - you will have to pay fees if you buy something. I found that for you :
    (sorry I can't put links in my posts yet)
    . Architect - will cost money
    . Builder and all the other professionals - will cost money
    . Electricity, telephone and water suppliers - will cost money
    . Tax for the building - will cost money and the amount depends on the place you build in
    and I am sure I forget a lot of things...

    You have to collect all the informations first and use a spreadsheet.

    Good fun !
  5. CaroleBay

    CaroleBay Senior Member

    Hey, Be careful .....

    Land may be available to buy, but you cannot build on it without planning permission.

    Either .....
    Buy land with planning permission already given ....

    Make doubly sure that you will get planning permission on the land before agreeing to buy it.
    Check it out with the local Mairie.

    As with everything to do with propetry here .... research and research and research again.

    Kind Regards
    Carole Bayliss
  6. LaBaguette

    LaBaguette New Member

    I absolutely agree. Carole is right.
  7. Damian George

    Damian George New Member

    Hi Busgrw,

    My wife and I looked at Cannes and used these guys - They are based and Cannes and know the area and French Market very well . James was very helpful and showed us around.

    Invested Interest Ltd

    let me know if you have any joy.

    Also remeber that if you want the best euro rate visit
  8. neustria

    neustria New Member

    Re. First mistake - openly stating what your budget is.
    Good point, except that this is a Forum, not a real estate agency! Here it is possible to be forthright I think.

    A couple of years ago I walked into an Agency in the Poitou and asked them what they had on their books and the man asked what my budget was. I refused to answer and he then refused to carry the matter any further. Two minutes later I walked out. Fortunately not all agents in France are so obtuse.

    Second bit of advice, related to that above: Don't be bullied!
  9. Cannes Flat

    Cannes Flat New Member

    I used an agent in Cannes called Azur Assistance who were very good.
  10. Damian George

    Damian George New Member

    Hi Cannes Flat,

    can i ask how you found them?
  11. Cannes Flat

    Cannes Flat New Member

  12. FrenchLiving

    FrenchLiving New Member

    Land For Sale Cote d'Azur

    I saw some land that would seem to be perfect for you...

    I know the area, it's very nice and the view is great.

    It's about 20 minutes from Cannes and half an hour from the airport.

    Go to Riviera Home Finders website (paste it in google) and it's ref 2001

    Hope that helps?

  13. busgrw

    busgrw New Member

    Thanks Janie. I've had a look and although it seems like an ideal plot, it is slightly out of our budget as we are only able to spend about 400K (euros) on the land.

    Also, thanks to everyone else who replied. Apologies for the lates response but my notification wasn't turned on so never got the updates.

  14. villasophie

    villasophie New Member

    Languedoc ?


    Have you ever considered to look in de Languedoc area? There is much more value for money there. Of course it's different from the Provence but worth a visit and find out for yourself.

    If you need advise concerning building or buying land in southern France, you can contact me. I'm a Dutch architect who works troughout the south of France. I have quite a lot of experience with all sorts of projects in France.

    Best Regards,
    André van der Marel
    [email protected]
    +31 649622719

  15. ONSA

    ONSA New Member

    Hi Busgrw,

    Do not get me wrong but within that budget (even less) of yours you can build a project consists of 10 villas including the land in an excellent place called BELEK in TURKEY ( it is a place called Golf Paradise, you can check via google search ). You can live in one of villas and sell/rent the others. In case you need, we are a good and reliable construction/investment company in Turkey (ONSA-PROPERTY). Do not hesitate to ask anything as we do not charge for advice.
  16. Creekybaby

    Creekybaby New Member


    Hi Busgrw
    I have lived in Provence for 21 years, near a village called Trans-en-Provence, which is 5 ks from Draguignan. There is always lots of land for sale (especially now) in Provence. I have a friend who bought some land near the town of Lorgues, he is building his own villa on half the land. When he finishes that villa he will live in it & build the other villa & sell it. That will allow him virtually to pay for his land & the house he has built by the sale of the other villa.
    Obviously in todays financial climate he might have a problem selling the other villa, however he just stops building it until the sale of houses improves in France. You might like to know that the sale of houses has dropped by 20% in the last 8 months, I know because my house is on the market now.

    Wish you lots of luck, what you want can be done if you have some building experience & perhaps speak enough French to get artisans to help you.

    good luck
  17. Pierre Guillery

    Pierre Guillery New Member

    Considered further West, to Uzès?


    I'd like to offer a couple of suggestions, and then introduce a project which might be of interest.

    First, a suggestion: why don't you "push further west", to the outskirt of Provence, at the border with Languedoc (mentioned in an earlier reply)? I am an advocate of the Uzège, a small region around Uzès, onto the West of the Rhone river, 20 miles from Avignon. Basically, Uzège is Provence as it used to be - at much more attractive prices. If you're not too hung up on the Riviera and want a place in the South of France, not too far from the sea, Uzès might be worth exploring. I have put together a 3-page document about Uzès, you're welcomed to have it - please ask. If you google gardprovencal, you will find a site with an English version describing the area pretty well.

    A few years back, I've managed the construction of a 180 sq.m (1,900 sq.ft) villa for my parents, on a 1/2 acre plot, 1 mile from Uzès. Basically, in my view with £800,000 you've got more money than you need. However, I wouldn't stress enough the importance of being onsite for most of the project, or paying somebody you trust to do this for you. Speaking French is very, very very useful. Bottom line is: it's risky to trust GCs in France...

    But before going any further, a question: are you really, absolutely, keen on building your own house, or would you not rather buy an old renovated house? With your budget you can get your hands quickly on a very nice 200 or 300 sq.m house with an acre of land, a pool and a landscaped garden - and still have enough to buy a small boat... I mean: why go through the hassle of spending a year with builders - when you can move in quickly? And old properties have a soul newbuild don't... (In case you think that's a worthwhile idea, then I suggest you spend the next six months looking around - and when you're done, prices will have fallen another 10%...)

    Now, I have a project around Uzès, and this is the opportunity to mention it. Here's the concept, described on a website I put together:

    "You’ve considered buying a house in France for a long time. You love Provence, its olive oil, warm weather and culture. You’ve been there many times – or you really want to go back. Ideally, you would be happy to spend a month of two each year when you retire. And it’s not far (a superfast rain ride away) from Paris or Barcelona. But you haven’t transformed the dream into reality yet: of course, there’s the cost – but also the complication of buying/renovating a house in a country a day’s travel away from home – and where they all speak French… In truth, you’re the ideal prospective buyer of a fractional share in a renovated estate in Languedoc, South of France.

    You can become one of three investors interested in funding exactly such a project (a centuries-old renovated farmstead near Uzès, in the “other” Provence, converted into spacious apartments with all amenities: pool, guest suites, landscaped garden, concierge services, etc.), and claiming their profits both in cash and in kind – i.e. a 1/8th fraction (6 weeks per year in perpetuity) of an apartment. In one swift move, you would make your dream come true and get a substantially above-average return on your money. In other words: your vacation home pays for itself – and more." [A single investor would be welcomed too!]

    If you want to find out more, please google francefractionalinvest (in one word!) and you should find the site. Otherwise, if you want advice about Uzès, ideas about househunting there - or finding an architect, I can help too - as I love the region, and I'd be happy to help people discover it!

    +33 (0)6 84 34 89 92
    [Send a text message if you want my email!]
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