Buying Property for Renovation 2

Assessing the practicalities of the project

There are not surprisingly quite a lot of practical considerations, that start only when you have found the property of your dreams. Taking account of these before you purchase the property may well save you time and money in the long run.

Consider again and carefully whether the final, renovated, property will meet your needs. Is there enough room for your children to come and stay? Is ther enough room for a separate office, and does it have ADSL? Will you be able to play the piano in the middle of the night without annoying the neighbours? Will you be too isolated?

Quick tip

Paint effects

Try out different paint effects to give your home a new look, try rag rolling, stippling or marbling. If you’re handy with a paint brush and eager to let your inner artist out, then consider painting a trompe l’oeil effect on a wall. Remember you could simply project an image onto a wall and paint around it – you don’t need to be a great artist to have a go at this. So get your paint brushes out and get creative.


While the actual questions will depend on your circumstances, it is very easy to get over-excited by certain aspects of a property while ignoring the practicalities. Perhaps it’s easier to find an already renovated castle and make do with that!?

Electrical Tip

“Although at first glance lighting, sockets and off-peak heating in France may all appear familiar, closer investigation will reveal that the installation methods are different to those employed in the UK”

Excerpt From: Thomas Malcolm. “Electricity in your French house.” iBooks.


Try and find out what the neighbours think of your renovation plans. If you hope to construct a 400 square metre villa, and there is a small traditional cottage next door, they just might object, and you probably don’t want to proceed with a purchase if it means annoying all the existing inhabitants.

If there is any possible doubt about where the boundaries of the property lies, or if it is possible that there is a right of way across your property, discuss it initially at the local mairie (town hall).
If you have received permission to construct the house of your dreams, will the attractive field of sunflowers opposite also soon be covered in an estate of new-build properties? Local building rules do change frequently and haphazardly, but you should still discuss the local communes plans for building development at the local mairie. You should ask to see the ‘Plan Local d’Urbanism’, which in principle shows planned development for the next couple of years.
Connections to electricity, water and telephone will all be needed. If these are not already in place, ensure that you know how much they will cost. Even if electricity is in place, if the building has not been inhabited for a long time a new supply may need to be installed, in addition to complete rewiring of the property itself.
Much of rural France does not yet have mains drainage. You can read about septic tanks elsewhere on this site – and you should! In certain soil / ground conditions these can be very expensive to install in a way that complies with the regulations. If you will need access to a neighbours field for your drainage, check that the access is available.

High speed internet connections are now fairly widespread in France but many rural places do not yet have it. If you have need of such a connection, verify in advance. It will be many years before everywhere has access.

It is not possible to list all the eventualities here, although many should be covered at various places in this site. Try and think of evrything and talk to everyone – the mairie, the neighbours and the estate agents will be a good start.

DIY Tips

Want to add a personal touch to your home? Then get creative to add style that’s one of a kind to your home. Patchwork, knitting and crochet can all be used to add chic soft furnishings and accessories to your home, from cushions to throws and more. If you are new to crafting there’s lots of advice available online including helpful craft tutorials. Also take a make do and mend approach to upcycling existing pieces in your home with paint, decoupage or fabric.


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“If you elect to have off-peak (heures creuses) electricity, then EDF will provide you with wiring controlled by their equipment to switch your off-peak system on and off. The EDF off-peak equipment is usually a relay located beside their meter and fusegear. This relay is meant for the control circuit functions of your contactor (contacteur) or off-peak relay (jour/nuit) only. It must not be used to directly control equipment. The EDF relay is timed to operate in the usual manner at the predetermined off-peak times”

Excerpt From: Thomas Malcolm. “Electricity in your French house.” iBooks.


We are a new website, we are still growing our content, we want everyone that is renovating in France to help us feature what we all wanted to know when we all started, contact us with all your experience and tips, we live just south of Celles Sur Belle, in Deux Servre, 79, and are just about to start out on our next renovation, every job we start on, every problem, product or skill we need to learn about i will try and find some useful information on the internet and share it with you, yes I could do this by sharing it on facebook, but the problem is it just helps facebook and disappears down the timeline, here links and articles will be searchable and here permanently for you to book mark and refer to, so watch this space … and if you have links and articles that have helped you let us know !!1

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