If you have visited the Dordogne area, you will possibly be considering buying a property here. You are not alone. Almost every visitor at some point finds themselves drawn by the estate agent windows, and spends some time reflecting on whether they could live here permanently or maintain a second home in the area.

The answer is yes on both counts! The buying process is quite straightforward and most estate agents will be able to talk to you in English.

Your Requirements

Think carefully about your requirements.

  • A ruin to renovate, a building plot, a chateau, a gite complex, a small cottage and so on? See Property renovation in France
  • How much do you want to spend?
  • Do you want somewhere in a town/village, somewhere in the countryside, or somewhere very rural? There is a good reason why very rural properties are significantly cheaper, as you will discover when it takes you 30 minutes in the car to buy a loaf of bread.
  • Do you want lots of land with the property?
  • Do you need to be within 30 minutes of an airport?
  • Do you want a property that you can rent out to holidaymakers when you are not staying there yourself?

Don't be tempted to buy somewhere huge unless you have a good reason to! Heating and maintenance costs apply to second homes as much as first homes!

Make sure you see several properties, so you get a feel for the right price for a property.

Don't be tempted to buy somewhere 'in a rush' - if you have any doubts, don't go ahead - there are lots and lots of nice properties in the area. There IS somewhere else just as nice but without the geese farm down the road / building plot next door and so on.

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Prices

Broadly I would expect to pay:

  • Ruin in poor state with planning permission: 30-70,000 euros
  • Small traditional house, garden, countryside, renovated: 120,000 - 170,000 euros
  • Traditional stone house, land, renovated: 250,000 - 500,000 euros
  • Group of semi-derelict buildings, land,  for renovation to gites: 150,000 -250,000 euros
  • Up and running gite complex with track record: 500,000 euros+
  • Fine country house, chateau, etc etc: 500,000euros+++

You will pay less for a property that is more than a few kilometres from amenities, and less for a town house. It is the properties in the country but near a town that are the most sought after.

The Buying Process

If you are considering buying a property in the area, you should preferably contact one or two  estate agents before coming to France to tell them your intentions, rather than just turn up on their doorstep. In France the estate agent will insist on showing you each property themselves, so they need to have set aside some time to do this.

The main difference with the English system is that binding contracts are entered into at an early stage of the process. The contract will then be binding unless a condition within the contract is not met - for example, if lead, asbestos or termites are found in the property. you can ask for additional conditions to be added.

This contract will be signed and witnessed at the notaires - you will not find yourself accidentally buying a property because you gave a friendly smile to the seller of the property.

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