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occasional newsletter - SPRING 2017_________________________________HOME PAGE


* New properties for sale

* Welcome! Refugees from the US and the UK!

* Guest Houses - are they worth it?

Lots of new properties ranging from a modest B&B to a Knights Templar château!

Refugees from America and Britain are helping the market to recover

Guest houses/B&Bs can be vectors of instant divorce if done wrong

New properties

Quercy treehouse business

Quercy - Lot&Garonne - Tree-house business - €695,000

Many have dreamt of this sort of installation; few have succeeded. This is the real thing: beautiful hand-made wood cabins perched high in an oak forest. Each cabin has its own jacuzzi! Comes with stone-built house, pool and 3 hectares land more

Aude valley gite complex

Aude Valley : Gite complex - €668,000

South of Carcassonne in the hills above Limoux, this three-gite complex comes with a lovely old stone-built farmhouse. A couple of hectares of rocky terrain, nice pool and views make this a very desirable get-a-way more

Marciac butcher business

Marciac, Gascony: butcher business + Farmhouse - €260,000

Unusual property: it includes a very successful 'English' butcher business complete with workshop and cold store, out-buildings galore and a very nice renovated farmhouse. Just 10 minutes south of Marciac, jazz capital of France and home to great French cuisine. more

Quercy chalet park

Quercy - Tarn&Garonne : Chalet park - €587,000

A real business comprising six big chalets - each fully furnished and fitted out for 6-9 guests - plus a big conference hall/events venue (60 pers) and pro kitchen. 7th chalet for the owners/manager. Big pool and other out-buildings and planning mean development possible. more

Dordogne gite business

Lascaux, Dordogne: House + 3 gites + out-buildings - €788,000

For buyers looking for a lucrative and charming property in the Dordogne ... this is it. Minutes from the Lascaux caves near Montignac, this 6-hectare estate comprises three big gites, a pool, the owners' cottage and 3 vast out-buildings for further development. Big turnover. more

B&B near Albi

Albi - B&B - €426,000

There's a dearth of good B&Bs in Albi - now a UNESCO World Heritage site - and so this sort of establishment - a few miles out of town in a rural setting - is much in demand. Two separate houses (one for the owners) plus pool and outhouses makes for a cosy little business. more

Gite complex and campsite with lake

Aude - Gite complex and campsite - €875,000

In the rolling countryside between Mirepoix and Carcassonne this estate boasts a fully renovated 5-bedroom farmhouse, two big gites, a lake, a former campsite with 35 plots, some vast out-buildings for conversion into conference/events venues ... and views. more

Luxury guest house in Tarn

Tarn - Upmarket guest house - €1.1m

As far as guest houses go this is top of the range. Run by ex-hoteliers they have taken it to the highest level (Tripadvisor 9.6). It's really one for pros or semi-pros as the challenge now is to work on the catering side and boost the €150k earnings.Can be run by a couple. more

Knights Templar chateau

Aude - Knights Templar chateau - €960,000

This 900-year-old chateau has been totally restored and refurbished to 21st century standards. It boasts 9 guest bedrooms, fine reception rooms, jacuzzi, pool and gardens. There's an independent gite and spacious out-buildings. Could be used as upmarket guest house or luxury gite. more

Saint-Antonin-Noble-Val guest house

Saint-Antonin-Noble-Val - Luxury guest house - €749,000

St Antonin is one of those impossibly charming villages that attracts tourists and lifestyle immigrants like bees to a honeypot. Its reputation is merited as it remains lively all year round. This property is the top B&B in the village with 5 guest rooms and a whole floor as private residence for the owners. Includes independent studio gite. more

Welcome! UK and US refugees

At a time when governments in the US and the UK are pulling up the drawbridge and stemming the flow of immigrants into their countries, there is a reverse movement which is beginning to gain strength: anti-Brexit and anti-Trump citizens are taking control of their own lives and opting for the French alternative.

Here at GITES à la française we have seen a sharp jump in the number of American enquiries over the past six months. This has translated into visits on the ground in the past two months with sales being concluded in record time! The sort of properties most Americans are interested in are usually big, well-finished gite complexes or guest houses with a 'chateau' look to them - eg: Château with 5 gîtes at Auch or Château + 4 gîtes north of Albi. The attraction of these sort of properties is that they can be run by a manager while the owners deal with their 6-month visa problem.

Post-Brexit refugees on the other hand prefer to go for the more classic "pretty farmhouse and two gites" set-up, of which we have plenty. But more ambitious, and qualified, buyers are looking into running luxury guest houses or even boutique hotels. Unlike many 'lifestyle' properties one really can make a living out of these businesses with the best establishments turning over in excess of €150k with profits of around €80/€90k.

But whether you be American or British, your first step must be to master your currency exchange. With euro/dollar and euro/sterling rates moving daily you will need advice: Contact a Foreign-exchange broker and outline your project. The broker will examine your situation and suggest buying forward or holding out for better times. They can move swiftly even when the market spikes for a few hours... and they are always cheaper than your bank for transfering funds. We use a company called Foremost Currency. Our broker's name is Aidan Knight and you should really get in touch if you're considering buying soon. Tel: +44 - (0)1442 892060 Email: Mention my name ...

Guest houses/B&Bs - are they worth it?

Most people get in touch with us and outline their project: quite often it is to buy 'a house with a couple of gites or B&B rooms' as if they were much the same thing. Erreur! Running a couple of gites demands a lot of work cleaning on changeover days ... and that's about it. B&Bs demand a 24/7 presence, daily cleaning and cooking, constant interaction with the guests.

Gites generate about €10k pa per gite. B&B rooms generate about €10k pa per room: a table d'hôte can add €25k or €30k pa to the yearly total.

So, on the face of it, B&Bs are the better deal: with a classic 5 guest room B&B one can expect to turn over between €50k and €75k depending on whether you offer an evening meal or not. To reach these sort of figures with a gite complex you'll need at least 5 or 6 gites.

But... ask the local tourist board or Gites de France agency in France about B&Bs and they'll whisper a dirty little secret: the average B&B in France has a lifespan of ... one season! Why? Because the couples running them either separate or divorce! Most have never worked together prior to buying their dream B&B and suddenly realise that their other half is either incompetent/touchy/maniac or just plain shy.

The solution is to do a lot of soul-searching and experimentation before taking the plunge. Or, as many have realised, just run the place on your own!

All our B&Bs are featured on this page.

Simon Says: It's probably too late to buy a going-concern in time for the 2017 high season. The buying process takes at least three months from signing the compromis de vente through to closure. The months of April/May/June should be used to view a maximum of properties before signing end June. Once the compromis signed, the place is more or less yours: you can't be gazumped in France.

Once again, the best way to contact us is by email. I rarely answer the phone as I'm on the road most of the time.

Simon Oliver

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