Go Back  Fodor's Travel Talk Forums > Destinations > Europe
Reload this Page >

Brainstorming about buying a flat somewhere in Europe...

Brainstorming about buying a flat somewhere in Europe...

Old Dec 17th, 2011, 04:33 PM
  #21  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 49,560
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
True. I spent most of today looking at apartments in France and 45-60 sq. meters was average to large for places I was looking at (in not a major popular area), and the prices began at about 135,000 euros and went up past 200,000.

On the other hand I did find a couple of small "maisonettes" for about the same price in really nice neighborhoods.
StCirq is offline  
Old Dec 17th, 2011, 07:01 PM
  #22  
 
Join Date: May 2010
Posts: 4,987
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
If you watch shows on HGTV, there are million dollar condos in NYC which are about 700 sq. feet.

House Hunters International featured some places in Cognac. Looked fairly affordable.

Well Cognac is pretty removed from even a regional airport.
scrb11 is offline  
Old Dec 18th, 2011, 02:49 AM
  #23  
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 877
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
You might also check out the Algarve area of Portugal. The weather is good and lots of people visit there. My home is north of Lisbon in a smaller village than you want so I don't know too much about the Algarve but check out some of the prices there.

Home ownership for non-citizens is quite easy but ownership does not confer residency benefits. You need to show income and if you're retired, that you have sufficient pension to live on.
CYESQ is offline  
Old Dec 18th, 2011, 05:16 AM
  #24  
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 6,629
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I live in SW France where there are certainly flats and small properties in your price range in mid-sized villages and small towns. In France, the sale price usually, but not always, includes the agent's commission. But, on top of that, taxes and notaire's fees are from 9-10% of the sale price, after commission is deducted.

The trade off, in this area, is that small properties without gardens are hard to rent to holiday makers, exceptions being places close to skiing or the ocean (but then property prices rise for those locations).
You can find local agents, many are English-speaking, to manage your place as a holiday rental. Full-time rentals are also possible but be aware that rental contracts and laws in France very much favor the tenant.

Some helpful web sites, www.green-acres.com and www.leboncoin.fr

There are no major ( or even minor that I know of) restrictions on the purchase of property as a second home in France by US and EU citizens but I don't know the situation for other foreign nationals. French mortgages for non-French nationals are, I understand, virtually impossible to obtain.

In this area, the French equivalent of property taxes on a small place are roughly 800 to 1,000 € a year. Could be lower or higher, it varies by commune.

This is just a snap-shot or 30,000 ft overview of the property market here. Things might alter greatly depending on upcoming decisions on the future of the eurozone. In recent weeks, the euro has dropped about 8 cents against the dollar but no way to know if that is the start of a long-term change in the exchange rate.

Good luck and if you decide to seriously consider this area, I'd be happy to help.
Cathinjoetown is offline  
Old Dec 18th, 2011, 05:51 AM
  #25  
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 57,091
Received 5 Likes on 3 Posts
well, by speaking Italian and already being there, you are ideally placed to research the property market there. and you are in a good position to take advantage of any drops in italian property prices that the economic crisis may cause.

wherever you decide on, I would strongly advise renting in the area first to ensure that you like the place and understand the pros and cons. and that will help you with the costs of property and living in the area too.

and do not buy somewhere that you yourself would not be happy living in - after all, one day you may have to!
annhig is offline  
Old Dec 18th, 2011, 06:30 AM
  #26  
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 10,255
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Here is the blog of an American now living in Basilicata. She and her husband were recently featured on House Hunters International. Her blogs also featured links to her business website (My Bella Basilicata--touring and trip planning in the area), but also has real estate listings for her town, since the town has no real estate agent. The listings are within your budget, though the town may not be the place for you.

http://www.blogher.com/frame.php?url....blogspot.com/
ellenem is offline  
Old Dec 18th, 2011, 07:34 AM
  #27  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 49,560
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
<<French mortgages for non-French nationals are, I understand, virtually impossible to obtain.>>

I found exactly the opposite: that obtaining a U.S. mortgage for a French property was completely impossible, whereas French banks were all over me trying to give me one.
StCirq is offline  
Old Dec 18th, 2011, 07:56 AM
  #28  
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 2,184
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Hi StCirq-I have followed your French words of wisdom for awhile and as another Francophile, I was just curious what region you are moving to? I know it must be somewhere fun
jpie is offline  
Old Dec 18th, 2011, 08:06 AM
  #29  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 49,560
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Hi, jpie.

We're not going far - in or near La Rochelle.
StCirq is offline  
Old Dec 18th, 2011, 08:29 AM
  #30  
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 6,629
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Stcirq,

I have 2nd-hand information based on retirees who were rejected, because while they had assets and pension income, they were not employed. I should have qualified my statement, but I do believe mortgages for 2nd homes are difficult go obtain.

Both our comments are anecdotal and may or may not be accurate in the current market.
Cathinjoetown is offline  
Old Dec 18th, 2011, 09:59 AM
  #31  
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 12,492
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I suggest renting for several months before you even think of buying in n unfamiliar area. long term rents are VERY affordable, and depending on your age.. not sure you will get any return on your investment in the next 5-10 years... PLUS you have to consider the exchange rate fluctuation RISK if you are not earning Euros that you will pay in.
lincasanova is offline  
Old Dec 18th, 2011, 10:21 AM
  #32  
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 57,886
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
janis -

Just pointing out the difference in size in apartments in various places. The colleague I mentioned in Switzerland was originally from South Africa and couldn't believe how small ALL of the apartments were. I'm from NY - where apartments are smaller than most places in the US.

Lived for one year in an L-shaped studio about 400 sq feet and was going stir crazy at the end of that time, (400 sq feet is 15' by 26' - think how small that is once you remove the space for a small bathroom and a tiny kitchenette along one wall.) Not sure if the OP realizes the actual size of the rooms in the apartments shown - there is barely room to walk around even the most basic furniture.
nytraveler is offline  
Old Dec 18th, 2011, 11:24 AM
  #33  
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 73,203
Likes: 0
Received 50 Likes on 7 Posts
the point I was trying to make - a 110 sq meter flat would be awfully large <i>anywhere</i>.

I've stayed in flats allover Europe from a little over 300 sq feet to a nearly 1200 sq ft two story penthouse (that one was 3bdrm/3baths)

I'm pretty sure Nutella understands how big/small an apartment will be.
janisj is offline  
Old Dec 18th, 2011, 12:09 PM
  #34  
 
Join Date: Oct 2011
Posts: 432
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
You would need your head examining to consider cross currency property purchases which involve the euro. The currency is in an extremely weak position and could at any stage over the next year disintegrate. You will have absolutely no idea what the new exchange rate would be with your local currency should this happen.

There has been talk of a future local Greek currency being 50% weaker than the euro and a German currency being 30% stronger.
These figures could blow a hole in the logic of your investment.

Coming from someone who has owned far too many "toy" properties in the past. My simple advice would be that unless you have the time to use the property, unlimited resources (at your budget I doubt it) or unless you are assured of at least 10% capital appreciation - don't do it. Just rent and let someone else worry if the boiler blows.
DickieG is offline  
Old Dec 18th, 2011, 12:51 PM
  #35  
 
Join Date: May 2010
Posts: 4,987
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
How do you reach SW france?

Fly into Paris and then either a short flight or a train to Bordeaux?
scrb11 is offline  
Old Dec 18th, 2011, 12:52 PM
  #36  
 
Join Date: May 2010
Posts: 4,987
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I think if the Euro devalues significantly, a lot of Americans and other foreigners, maybe from China, will pour into European real estate markets.

That could push prices up.
scrb11 is offline  
Old Dec 18th, 2011, 01:19 PM
  #37  
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 6,629
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
SW France encompasses the 05 telephone area code
Cathinjoetown is offline  
Old Dec 18th, 2011, 01:22 PM
  #38  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 49,560
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
<<How do you reach SW france?>>

All kinds of ways, and it depends on where in SW France you're headed (it's a pretty enormous area). Fly to Bordeaux or Toulouse (or Brive or Périgueux or Bergerac or any number of small airports). Take the train to Bordeaux or Toulouse or Brive or Libourne or Périgueux or.....all kinds of possibilities.
StCirq is offline  
Old Dec 18th, 2011, 01:32 PM
  #39  
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 6,629
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
--posted too soon--

within it are several official regions including Aquitaine, Midi-Pyrenees, Languedoc-Roussillon. Poitou-Charentes.

So, depending on what regions you want to tour you could take the train from Paris to Limoges, Brive, Bordeaux, Toulouse, etc. Of those cities, the longest train trip from Paris is about 6 hours to Toulouse.

There are also flights from Paris to Bordeaux, Toulouse, Biarritz....

These are just a few of many options.
Cathinjoetown is offline  
Old Dec 18th, 2011, 08:56 PM
  #40  
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 2,184
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
St. Cirq-good luck on the move. We are actually in our family home in St. Palais sur Mer as I write the. We are very close to La Rochelle and know the area really well, and love it. We have been coming here for over 30 years and it is an area that seems to be kind of being "re-discovered".
jpie is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Manage Preferences Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Your Privacy Choices -