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Choosing your second home: 7 criteria to consider

Are you looking for the vacation home of your dreams? To help you acquire a property adapted to your needs and tastes, Mansio summarizes for you the 7 essential criteria to take into account before buying your second home.

1. The objective of the real estate purchase

Before you even start looking for properties, it is essential to define your real estate project and your objective precisely . This will guide all subsequent decisions.

The purchase of a second home can thus answer several types of projects, such as : 

  • Create a place of reunion to welcome all the family (grandparents, children, grandchildren...) during the summer and Christmas vacations;
  • To have a place, close to your main residence, where you can spend your weekends and recharge your batteries;
  • Find a home in a resort area to spend your retirement;
  • Rent out your home for the rest of the year to benefit from rental income and pay off your mortgage;
  • Passing on an estate to your children;
  • Acquire a house to renovate in order to resell it in a few years with an increase in value at resale;
  • Building a legacy;
  • Having a pied-à-terre in France during your expatriation, where to stay during your stays in France;
  • Acquire a furnished tourist accommodation (guest house, gîtes...) and put it up for seasonal rental. 

2. The location of the second home

A seaside villa on the French Riviera, a mountain chalet in the Alps, a country house in the Dordogne... When it comes to choosing the location of one's second home, the options are often very vast.  

The choice of location depends above all on your project, your intended use, your tastes and your budget. 

However, here are a few factors to consider to help you decide on the location of your second home: 

  • Accessibility from your main residence and nearby transportation (train station, airport, highway, bus lines...). If you plan to stay there on weekends, this criterion will be particularly important. 
  • the presence of amenities (restaurants, shops, medical services...);
  • Places of interest for the family (water sports, lake, winter sports, playgrounds, parks, beaches...);
  • the type of environment, the living environment and the climate (beach, countryside, mountain, big city, small village, rural or urban area, sea view...) ;
  • ... 

If you plan to rent out your second home during periods when the property is vacant, give preference to attractive and well-served areas. 

3. Type of property and area 

Should I buy a new or an old property? An apartment, a studio, a house or a villa? How much space and how many rooms should you plan for? Again, this depends on the purpose, the number of people you wish to accommodate, and your preferences. If you want to buy a second home without any work, choose new homes. On the other hand, if you are not afraid of doing some work, you can consider buying an old property to renovate. Also think about listing the equipment and facilities you would like to have in your second home: swimming pool, garden, balcony, terrace, large plot of land... Keep in mind that a large property, with a swimming pool and garden, automatically requires more maintenance and therefore generates more costs.

4. The price of the property

Other fundamental criteria in the choice of a second home are the cost of the property, the amount of the charges, as well as the envisaged rental profitability. Above all, evaluate your budget with precision and calculate, even before applying for a real estate loan, your borrowing capacity and your debt ratio to validate the feasibility of the project. 

Also take the time to list the additional expenses and miscellaneous costs to be taken into account in the budget calculation, such as

  • Loan rates and monthly bank payments;
  • taxes (property tax and housing tax - beware, the amount of property tax varies according to the region, it is therefore important to find out beforehand to avoid unpleasant surprises);
  • the cost of any work; 
  • notary fees ;
  • comprehensive home insurance;
  • energy (electricity, heating) and water expenses;
  • maintenance costs (garden maintenance, pool maintenance, hedge trimming, gutter cleaning...);
  • rental management fees ;
  • furnishing costs ;
  • service charges and subscriptions (TV, internet...).

→ To learn more about financing your second home, check out our article on the subject.

From one region to another, the sale prices of real estate are very disparate.  

Here are some of the regions where second homes are priced the highest on the market, according to SeLoger. com:  

  • 367,300 € in Île-de-France
  • 356 100 € in PACA
  • 383 800 € in Aquitaine
  • 315 500 € in Rhône-Alpes

Here are the average prices of second homes in the least expensive regions:

  • 131 700 € in Lorraine
  • 127 500 € in Auvergne
  • 143,600 in Champagne-Ardenne
  • 140,100 € in the Limousin 

On average, it is necessary to count between 150,000 and 250,000 euros for the purchase of a second home in France. In order to control the costs of such a real estate investment, it is strongly advised to be accompanied by trusted professionals, experts in the real estate market and second homes. Mansio offers you a turnkey service (property search, renovation, purchase price negotiation, concierge service...) throughout your project. To estimate the budget and profitability of your second home, use our online simulator.

Rental profitability

To make your purchase profitable, it will be very wise to find tenants to occupy your second home for part of the year. In fact, it is estimated that owners of second homes occupy their property for only 44 days per year on average. In certain regions and on certain types of property, it is therefore possible to obtain a rental return of 8 to 10%, which is much higher than the return on a classic rental investment.

The tax system 

Finally, it is important to take a close look at the taxation of second homes. With the acquisition of a second home, you can benefit, in certain cases, of very attractive tax advantages, with the LMNP (Loueur en Meublé Non Professionnel). This tax system allows you to benefit from a deduction on the charges and rents, or a deduction of all the charges, provided that you rent your property furnished, among other things. As a purchaser and lessor of a seasonal rental, you will also have to pay a certain number of taxes and charges (housing tax, tourist tax, property tax, social security contributions, etc.).

7. The condition of the property and the work 

Beforebuying a second home, it is also essential to rigorously check the condition of the property and to get an idea of the type of work to be done (roof renovation, change of boiler, plumbing, change of woodwork, energy performance work...). Indeed, the cost of renovation and fitting out work can considerably increase the price of a second home. To secure this key step, get professional help.

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