Case Study | Buying in the South of France

Case Study | Buying in the South of France

Kim and his wife, Clare Eeeles (top right), recently decided to purchase their dream property in Marseillan, which is situated in the Languedoc region of southern France. Below they give us their personal account into the buying process and kindly share their top tips with our readers.

"Finding a new home in the South of France was certainly not on my wife and I’s agenda when we were visiting Sete on business in 2009", says husband Kim. "Marseillan was a suggested venue for a late lunch due to its reputation as a foodies paradise in a beautiful portside setting, and it certainly didn't disappoint when we visited. We immediately fell in love with the beautiful village.

A short walk took us past a converted old wine storage building and we both said how perfect the courtyard and homes looked on the port. A further short walk to the immobilier and a realisation that there was a small apartment for sale in the block led us to put in an offer that afternoon and virtually being second home owners the next day!

We feel many things worked in our favour that day. Firstly we were buying an apartment with our hearts and nothing else seemed to compare to our new home’s position on the quay despite it being in need of complete renovation.

Our second piece of good fortune was being told by a local resident of an English lady and her husband who was a builder and well known for his excellent work. That meeting has resulted in an eight-year friendship with Carole (the English Lady) managing our property and her husband who completed a spectacular renovation.

Marseillan Port   

Although we did not consider the following factors we realise we have been fortunate with the following aspects of our purchase:

  • Marseillan has superb communication links with several international airports and railways
  • It is a destination venue for many couples across Europe
  • There is a big demand for rental properties on the Port
  • Annual maintenance fees were affordable
  • The village has a 7,000 population and is lively and great fun

Since purchasing we have enjoyed many fabulous weeks there but due to its position and being blessed with having a great property manager we have let our property consistently throughout the year and netting us in excess of 6% per annum.

Having bought on impulse I can't tell other people what to do but I would say you should be mindful of purchasing a property that is too expensive to maintain (look hard at those annual fees!). Also if you are looking to make the property pay for itself ensure you are purchasing in a ‘destination venue’ and ideally not in an area where competition is fierce.

Finally, check communication links and ensure your property will be easy to reach year round and not abandoned by low-cost airlines.

We bought our property which is one bedroom and only 35 sq meters in size with a small balcony for €125,000 and paid a further €18,000 to renovate. We love it and due to its size are able to keep it in excellent decorative order.

Would we do it again? Absolutely. By forsaking size for a spot on the harbourside we have our little piece of paradise in the sun...

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A Place In The Sun