How To Make Your French Home More Affordable

Written by on June 29, 2016 in Currency Information, Financial


When I bought my holiday home in France it was a struggle to pay for it but I knew that one day the sacrifices would be worth it. I learned all sorts of ways to make money go further – including converting my hard earned pounds to Euros.

The old farmhouse that I fell in love with and bought had 5 bedrooms and an acre of land and it cost £66,000. That’s not a typo, it really did cost £66,000.

It seems like a bargain, and it was. Even after a decade or more, nothing beats waking up to the smell of freshly baked croissants from the boulangerie or a lazy lunch in the garden with a bottle of wine and a crispy baguette spread with locally made cheese and the taste of fresh country air, scented with meadow flowers.

But, it was a struggle to pay for a second home. I had a mortgage on my house in the UK for a start, and the house in France needed lots of work though it was perfectly habitable. There are still plenty of bargains to be had in France, from farmhouses like mine to grand chateaux and making the dream come true can be helped along when you know how to make your money work harder for you.

Money Saving Tips for your French Property Purchase

First of all, I checked out mortgages. I compared what was offered in France and the UK and, at that time, for me, what was available in France beat the UK hands down. That’s not to say it will suit everyone, but, do your homework and check what’s available to get the best rate and product for you. Get professional help if need be, in my experience, the cost of that support was far outweighed by the savings I made by getting the right mortgage.

Second, knowing I had to send money on a regular basis to pay the mortgage, I negotiated quarterly payments rather than monthly so that I could convert money less often in bigger amounts. This enabled me to use a foreign currency dealer efficiently and this led to more savings.

When you buy a property in France, generally you have to put down a deposit of about 20%. For me this meant I needed a £48,000 mortgage which costs me around 700 Euros every 3 months with a French bank. With the bills such as electricity and rates and wanting to have Euros available for use in a French bank account, I aimed to transfer 1200 euros every 3 months.

How Setting up an Account with a Foreign Currency Dealer Saves you Money

I checked out the best ways to transfer the money from one currency to another and discovered you can set up a “regular overseas payments” scheme with a currency broker. When you have recurring amounts to convert and transfer (they don’t have to be huge amounts) – this is one of the best ways to make the most of a currency dealer’s ability to get you bank beating rates.

It may not sound much but when you work so hard for your money, making it go a bit further with hardly any effort (now that I’ve told you how to do it!) really makes sense. Over a year, savings add up, and for longer periods of time (a French mortgage is typically 20 years), can really make a big difference and can help your French home become more affordable.

The Good Life France uses OFX Global Money Transfers. Registration is easy, secure and is a one time set up. After that you just log on and manage your currency transfers when you want to but there’s always someone on the end of the line to talk to you when you need it.

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