Monday, 21 May 2012

Thinking through new possibilities

Last week, Jerome sent me a link to a business-for-sale website where there was a French house / gite complex for sale.  I emailed the site for more information and received a PDF file today showing more detail of the property itself and some financials of the business. 

For £285k you got a 3 bedroom house plus three detached 2 bedroom gites, another small house for conversion, a swimming pool and 2.5 acres of land.  The current turnover of the gites was about E15k per annum but it was claimed that this is lower than normal as the owners have concentrated on their restaurant business nearby. 

Our cost of buying this property is around £3k per annum in financing, plus upfront costs of perhaps £25k.  Over 10-15 years, this works out at about £5-6k per annum, ignoring changes in the value of the property over the life of the project.  So the turnover is well above our costs.  But the issue for us in buying in France was always a wish to avoid the need to deal with the local bureaucracy.  That's where Jerome steps back in. 

He would be willing to take this on - he being dual French-English suggests that he would have little of the problems that we would have had.  He had already worked out that he could fly to the place from Bristol and so, given his kids arrangements, he could go for about 6 days every two weeks.  Moreover he has family and friends in the area and so has ready made support.

So suppose Jerome does run the entire operation.  If he generates E20k of turnover, then we would take £6k to cover our costs and then split the balance.  Jerome has, like us, long thought about running such a place, not just gites, but also various courses like photography, nature walking, yoga, pilates, etc.  Indeed, he has aspired to things like yurt-based camping, and so on.  As long as we covered our costs, we would be happy to have a place we could go to for perhaps 6 - 8 weeks per year.

A bit more website searching throws up a whole raft of other choices - a 4 bedroom farmhouses with 3-bedroom gites attached for £185k, another 5 bedroom farmhouse, 3-bedroom gite with loads of land for £250k.  So for the next 3-6 months I will think about this deeply doing a little associated reading.  Then in October we had planned to drive down through France for a week or two's holiday and we could view the area better (Poitou Charantes in West-central France) and start to form a plan.  It is not impossible that we might look to buy something over the winter with a view of being up and running by next Easter ready for the new season.

So I have dug out some old books we have with titles life Foreigners In France: Triumphs and Disasters; Buying a Property in France; Earning money from your French home, and so on.  And in the current lists of books in the downshifting abroad genre, there are a couple of books set in that precise area which I have ordered and will read on our forthcoming Italian holiday.

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