How to run a second home in France

France has the largest number of second homes in Europe. While prices, French mortgage rates and the euro are down, it should not be forgotten that the maintenance cost of owning a home in France can, depending on the type of property, cost anywhere between 4% and 6% of its value. But there are ways to reduce these costs.


  1. Are the costs of a second home higher than they would be for a principal residence?


Definitely. For example, with property taxes there are reductions if the property is regarded as a principal residence. Depending on the location of the second home you will also sometimes be subjected to a surcharge. One example of this is the 20% increase to property taxes for specific municipalities across France, but particularly Nice and Paris.


See here for an article on this tax by one of our property partners. Insurance premiums are higher, largely due to the increased risk of burglary. Finally, there are specific charges on the location of the property. With beachfront property it’s not only the purchase prices, which may seem expensive. Its very location means that it has a higher chance of weathering and consequently more frequent façade renovations may be required.


  1. How to make the numbers work?


The most common solution is to rent out the property during times when you are not staying there. Depending on how much occupation you achieve, you can cushion your monthly expenses or even make a (small) profit. In the most popular destinations, the overall presentation of the property is crucial. In many French ski resorts for example, new-build property is sold at a premium because it will always be the most sought after by the increasingly demanding international tourists.