Rolling up your sleeves 1: Ruins
Stumbling through yet another patch of head high nettles, you arrive at the ruin. It’s roofless, borderline dangerous and no one in their right mind would buy it. And it’s love at first sight.
The idea of creating a home from a romantic ruin is ever popular, but the supply of suitable properties can make the search very frustrating. It’s worth remembering that the dream is not yours alone – it’s been shared by others looking to live here ever since the last war - and they’ve scoured every inch of the countryside.
So take a deep breath, open your wallet and picture it empty. For years.
If you’re still convinced and the men in white coats haven’t taken you away, here’s a couple of things to check before you sign on the dotted line; CU - certificat d’urbanisme - outline planning permission. Has it got one and is it still valid – and bear in mind that you’ll have to get full planning permission before you do a thing. As it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to hook up to mains drainage, you will need a fosse septique and a soil permiability test is now obligatory before you can install one. And the list goes on.
Other development - remember, if your ruin has permission it’s possible that parts of the surrounding land will have too. It’s depressingly common to find potentially great sites blighted by adjacent new build. Still interested?
Access – check and check again.If it’s in any way compromised or you have to drive through a stinky farmyard, leave well alone; you might not be bothered, but most potential purchasers of your lovingly restored home will.
Building costs – a lot more than in the UK and you can’t get the TVA back – more on this another day. So it’s far from impossible - a good agent and an efficient Notaire will help guide you through the maze and avoid the obvious pitfalls – you’ll just need the courage of your convictions, unfailing optimism and an understanding bank manager.