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Renovating A House In France

Renovating a House in France

There are always ups and downs with renovating a house in France. This weeks had several downs.
We discovered our house was basically collapsing under it’s own weight.

What started off as a simple bedroom redecorate ended up turning in what many would consider an absolute nightmare.

The Front of the House

The front of our house is leaning forward to such an extent, the roof’s A frame is too small to sit on the walls.

There are huge cracks in the granite walls and many of the large stones have cracked clean through.

Our lounge is now full of acro-props.

Previously, we had been blissfully unaware of the extent of damage a broken gutter and missing window had caused on our house.

We’d bought a house that had been abandoned for over 30 years and apart from patches of lime render falling off, it appeared to be in pretty good condition. However, under the remaining plaster and render hid disaster.

That’s what you buy into, when you take on a derelict property in France.

The good news is, all the material to fix the damage is relatively cheap. All that is needed is good old fashioned hard labor and time. Something we have plenty of and we enjoy giving.

Our decorating plans have been turned on their head, so we need to re-shuffle priorities to get the house water-tight and safe whilst the sun shines.

Previously, many of these jobs needed doing purely out of good working practice, however now they need doing out of necessity. Essentially, nothing major has changed except priorities and timescales.

Wish us luck because I think this is going to be a long hard slog….


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French Capital Gains Tax Code (CGI)

Upon completion on renovations our house will look considerably different to when we first viewed it.

Upon sale of a property it is important to prove that TVA (taxes) has been paid on all materials and labour during the ownership of a property. Therefore, it is absolutely vital that a logbook is kept of everything spent on the house, similar to the service record of a well maintained car.

Our house will potentially have a resale value close to three times that what we paid for it, however to achieve this we will need to put it nearly five years of hard labour. The material costs may be surprisingly low to some; consisting of mostly sand, mortar and basic timber; but the the financial gains if even it were sold might make a wise investment.

Liabilities and Insurance – Building Damage Insurance

If you are undertaking a large scale renovation project then it is advised that you take out Building Damage Insurance or Dommage et Ouvrage Assurance. If you are a keen DIY enthusiast you must remember that you and legally liable for all the work done on the house for at least 10 years or possibly longer.

In the event of a claim, Dommage et Ouvrage Assurance, will reimburse you or the next occupant for repair to the damage related to the construction work covered under the terms of the 10 year guarantee.

The Dommage et Ouvrage Assurance must be started before any construction work commences.

Even if the property is sold the person who did the work may still liable and responsible for covering repair costs with the first 10 years. This is one of the many reasons people are put of renovating properties in France.

What does Dommage et Ouvrage Assurance Cover?

Dommage et Ouvage Assurance covers things such as major cracks in the walls, collapsing roofs, ground subsidence, water infiltration, faulty loft and wall insulation, leaky windows etc.

Removing the Ceiling

We had been aware that the ceiling had been damp, so we had ripped down the plasterboard only to find a huge bee hive. There was evidence on the walls of a small amount of damp and some previous repairs but nothing looked too serious from the inside. However, on the outside damage from a leaking gutter left broken for the best part of 30 years was evident in the lime mortar falling from walls.

Read more on the bedroom ceiling here: Bees, Snakes and Smelly Pine Martins

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