A pied-à-terre in France to add to your Surrey home?

PUBLISHED: 16:00 14 January 2015 | UPDATED: 17:03 14 January 2015

The dream of the rural idyll coupled with the easy access

The dream of the rural idyll coupled with the easy access

Eleanor O’Kane

Given its easy access from Surrey, France is the ideal location for a second home – and with the first French Property Auction about to happen in London, now could be just the time to take the plunge...

With its rich culture and stunning landscapes, it’s not surprising that France often tops our list when it comes to planning a holiday. Whether it’s taking the family camping, indulging in a romantic break to Paris or hitting the slopes in the Alps, France has wide appeal – and when you factor in its renowned food and wine, well, it’s no surprise France is the most popular tourist destination in the world.

What is more, with its easy access from the UK, and the home counties in particular, France is also a great location for a second home. Depending on where you buy, you can be relaxing across the Channel, glass of wine in hand, within just a few hours 
of leaving the office. And, if the idea of your own pied-à-terre appeals, now is a good time to start doing your research, according to Karen Tait of French Property News, sister title of Surrey Life. “Sterling recently hit a two-year high against the euro and this, combined with low property prices, means buyers can really get a lot for their money,” she says. “And if you’re buying with a French mortgage, there’s more good news as rates have fallen to a new all-time low.”

Under the hammer

For those looking to invest in the French market, there will also be the perfect opportunity later this month when the first French Property Auction in London takes place. Over 50 French properties will go under the hammer on Saturday January 24 during The France Show 2015, an annual lifestyle event at London’s Olympia that showcases the best of France, from travel and food to property.

This year, The France Show has partnered with the UK-based company French Property Auction to bring the sale to British shores for the first time. Nick Green of French Property Auction believes it could well be a chance to pick up a bargain. “This is an open competitive environment where French agents can present properties from motivated sellers to serious UK buyers with very attractive reserves to encourage a faster than normal sale,” he says.

During the auction, held under what’s known as the ‘modern’ method, bids are accepted conditionally. Once a winning bid has been accepted, the buyer pays an administration fee to the auctioneer and undertakes to exchange preliminary sale contracts within 21 days. The sale only becomes legally binding for both sides when the preliminary sale contracts have been exchanged, after which the purchase progresses under standard French law. 
The French system also allows for a seven-day ‘cooling-off’ period after the preliminary sales contracts have been exchanged, which gives the buyer an opportunity to withdraw.

If you’re tempted, the catalogue of properties for sale is available to browse online at frenchpropertyauction.com and features a range of properties, from farmhouses to fishing lakes. Those seeking an easy-to-manage holiday home should take a look at Lot 12, a restored stone house in the western region of Poitou-Charentes. With two to three bedrooms and a courtyard garden, it would make a fuss-free second home. The current marketing price is just €119,000. For outdoorsy types, Lot 42 is a detached three-bedroom village property in picturesque Savoie in the Alps. Just 9km from the Three Valley ski area, it has a current marketing price of €445,000 with an estimated rental income of €1,250 per week during peak times in the summer and winter seasons.

Expert advice

While buying a property in France is reasonably straightforward, it pays to take advice from the experts before parting with your cash – and The France Show is also the perfect place to do just that. Running from Friday January 23 to Sunday January 25, this popular show will be buzzing with French estate agents, financial and legal advisors and currency and removals experts, so it’s an ideal time to do your research.

The show’s free property seminars will also give the low-down on buying and owning property in France and help you decide where to buy to suit your needs. You can even get advice on the best ways to maximise rental income, which means you can watch the pounds roll in when you’re not kicking back at the property yourself – now that really is living the dream!


Eleanor O’Kane is the former editor of Living France magazine and writes regularly about French property, travel and lifestyle.
The France Show 2015 takes place at London Olympia from Friday January 23 to Sunday January 25. The French Property Auction will be held at the show on Saturday January 24. Readers of Surrey Life can benefit from a saving of £6 on the entry price (normally £16 per person). To purchase your tickets, visit thefranceshow.com/tickets or call 01242 264777* and quote the promotional code: SUR25. 
*A handling charge of £1 per order applies.



10 great reasons to combine your Surrey life with a taste of France

• Easy access: Choose from the Channel Tunnel and Eurostar, the ferry ports or one of France’s many regional airports

• Extra income: France is the world’s number one tourist destination so where better to rent out a holiday home?

• Bring the pets: With an EU Pet Passport there’s no need for your four-legged friend to miss out

• Great food: The national cuisine has been granted Unesco status for its quality

• A wealth of landscapes: From mountains to coastline, countryside and forests to ancient volcanoes; we could go on…

• Value for money: Thanks to the current exchange rate, your pennies go further

• Grape expectations: Wine is part of the culture and you’ll discover great, affordable vintages wherever you go

• Family life: On Sundays, everything comes to a standstill as the generations meet up and spend time together

• An active lifestyle: France is home to some of Europe’s best ski resorts, top surfing beaches and the world’s toughest cycling race

• Your pick of properties: From pretty village houses to elegant country manoirs and chic Parisian pieds-à-terre, the choice is yours...

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