Finally signing on the dotted line and being handed the keys to your South of France property is a magical moment. All you want to do is head into your dream home and begin your new life in France.


Unfortunately, there is the slight problem of the leaky roof…and the exposed wiring…and that pained groan coming from the walls every time there’s a strong gust of wind. Okay, it’s not exactly your “dream home” — yet. Here’s how you can change all that.

The Ideal South of France Property Renovation


In an ideal situation, you’ll have a chartered surveyor such as Charles Mackintosh coordinate your renovation on your behalf. This coordinator will be able to appoint each individual tradesperson and organise and monitor the work that needs to be carried out. The “general contractor” doesn’t really exist in France, so you’ll need to take careful stock of what’s needed and ensure that you obtain comprehensive quotes for each task. Your coordinator will work with you to make certain that you stick to your budget.


A good place to start is our recent blog, which details what you need to consider before commencing your renovation project.


You may find you also struggle with communication, particularly if your French skills need more than a little brushing-up. Your project coordinator can function as your translator for all the tricky construction terms that you may not have come across before.


Renovating your South of France property is an exciting but challenging project.


Renovating with a Tighter Budget


We’d all love to be able to pick out top-of-the-line fittings, hire expert designers and tireless construction workers, then just leave the work to get finished in our absence. However, most of us have a tighter budget for renovating a South of France property, so need to keep an eye out for opportunities where savings can be made, and areas that we can roll up our sleeves and get stuck in with some DIY.


The below tips will help you get the most for your money.


  1. Figure out which tasks need a professional

Some aspects of your project simply need a professional to handle them. Electrics and plumbing work in particular can cause huge problems down the line if not carried out to a high standard in the first instance. Mistakes can be costly, and may even prove life-threatening in certain situations. It simply isn’t worth the risk — make sure you call in a local contractor with plenty of experience.


  1. Use the internet to find the best prices for tools

Regardless of where you are in the world, the best bargains are almost always found online. French tools are no exception. Do your research and look for the best prices on tools and materials. However, don’t make your decisions based purely on the numbers. It’s also important to get good quality products, so be sure to take heed of reviews.


  1. Buy in bulk but be careful not to over-order on materials

Take careful stock of exactly how much of each product you’ll need for your entire South of France property renovation project and order it in ahead of time. Buying in bulk can lead to significant savings and stop you having to pause work to restock. Of course, over-ordering will leave you with excess materials that need to be sold on or disposed of, so be certain of the required quantities before you hit the purchase button.


Your completed South of France property will feel like a dream come true.


  1. Choose to renovate in the colder months

French builders tend to get most of their work during the spring and summer. If you can afford to wait until the colder months, you could be able to negotiate cheaper labour as there is generally less demand. The risk is that adverse weather conditions can cause your renovation to stall, but in the South of France, temperatures remain fairly mild even throughout the winter, so you shouldn’t worry too much about extreme cold or snow.


  1. Make waste disposal a DIY task

Waste disposal costs can take you buy surprise. There’s likely to be a lot of fittings, rubble and furniture that will need to be removed if you’re taking on a large renovation. If you have an appropriate vehicle, making waste disposal (or even recycling) a DIY task can lead to serious savings that will give you more room in the budget later on in the project.


Ultimately, a renovation is a serious but rewarding process, and the feeling when you finally see your finished dream home is unbeatable. Whether you’re still on the hunt for your South of France property or are ready to begin your renovation, Charles Mackintosh would be happy to provide advice and guidance. Get in touch today.