Buying retirement property in Languedoc, France
Languedoc’s slower pace of life, low crime rate, sunny climate and good value property are just some of the factors that encourage Brits to retire to this part of southern France. This article aims to summarise some of the key issues associated with buying a Languedoc retirement property.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
Permanent versus part-time
Permanent retirement is not the only option. If you have lived in the same area all your life, surrounded by friends and family, you may find it difficult to live without them all.
Instead of retiring permanently to Languedoc, consider downsizing in the UK and buying a small, lock-up-and-leave apartment where you can spend part of the year.
Should you sell up in the UK, or try seasonal retirement, keeping a foot in both camps? Bear in mind the capital gains tax implications of having a second home; talk to a financial advisor before making your decision.
Research your location, bearing in mind weather, amenities and accessibility. As the years go by and mobility is reduced, you may find it comforting to have neighbours close to hand.
Be clear about your priorities. Buy a home in le midi because you really want to live in Languedoc, and not just because you think you can buy a bigger or less expensive property than in the UK.
Look to the future. Make sure your Languedoc property will meet your needs not only at the time of your retirement but twenty years after.
Buy within reasonable distance of an international airport (Languedoc has five airports).
You may be retiring permanently to the south of France, but consider family, friends and other ties; unforeseen circumstances may prompt a speedy trip back to the UK.
Mobility is key. Choose an edge-of-town or village location with a bus and/or train service to nearby Languedoc towns and cities.
Are shops, markets and restaurants within walking distance? Are there local hospitals and/or other medical facilities within easy reach? Retirement is also about enjoying the fruits of your labour; make sure your location can offer you relevant entertainment and cultural activities.
Most people retiring to Languedoc are looking for an improvement on the UK weather. Checking out the average temperatures and rainfall throughout the year will help you choose exactly the right spot.
Click here to view Languedoc weather statistics, and click here for info on Languedoc’s seasons.
Cost of living
Research the cost of living in your chosen area of Languedoc. Calculate your disposable income and ensure you will be able to live out your retirement comfortably. Remember that although French house prices are still cheaper than in the UK, you are unlikely to be able to sell up and live on the remaining profit alone.
Resale or new build property?
Opt for new over old, unless you are confident you can cope with the maintenance of a character property. A single storey home (or a house with ground floor bathroom and bedroom facilities) will make for easier living if your mobility is reduced. For more details of the “old vs. new” property debate click here.
New build homes in Languedoc
A brand new or recently-built property needing little upkeep can be a wise choice, particularly if it is situated within a development with shared facilities and security features.
A modern, maintenance-free property will make life easier. Older, character properties have charm, but they are bound to require some work, and renovating or repairing your Languedoc home possibly last thing you’ll want to do in your retirement.
The benefits of buying Languedoc new build property include reduced legal costs, a straight forward legal process and easy maintenance of the property. With added value on maturity, new properties are ideal for those who want a ready-made home.
For in-depth info about Languedoc new build property click here. For details of specific new build developments in Languedoc click here.
Retirement villages in Languedoc
Retirement villages offering the communal lifestyle seen in the so-called “super sunshine estates” of the US are starting to pop up in the south of France. Les Senioriales is a property concept aimed specifically at the senior set. Providing social life, amenities and activities for the over-fifties, this is a way to enjoy the Languedoc lifestyle in comfort and security. Current developments-in-progress in the Languedoc region are at Saleilles (near Perpignan), St. Gilles (near Nîmes), Jonquières (in the Camargue) and St. Privat (near Alès). For details see www.senioriales.com
Resale homes in Languedoc
If you decide to buy an older Languedoc home for your retirement, do not be seduced by the property itself - location is just as important. Houses can be altered, but an isolated home will always be just that – isolated.
The calm of the Languedoc countryside may seem attractive, but older people’s mobility and independence will inevitably decrease, and they will find themselves increasingly reliant on public transport. Friends and neighbours nearby provide a level of reassurance and security; being able to access a doctor, shops and basic services by foot is important.
For examples of resale homes for sale in Languedoc click here.
How will you dispose of your Languedoc property? French inheritance law is complex and can oblige you to leave your home to your descendents, including those from previous relationships. Take professional advice to find the best solution for your situation.