With sunny skies, turquoize oceans, and a laid-back way of living, retiring in the Côte D’Azur is a dream for many. And if you’re considering buying a luxury retirement home in this coveted area, now’s the time to act — home prices are at an all-time low with luxury properties selling for $1.7 to $5.7 million on average, The New York Times reports. But, buying a home in a foreign location can seem complicated. It’s important to research the process and work with a real estate consultant so you know what to expect on your journey.
Finding a luxury home
You can do your own house hunting around the Côte D’Azur — check newspaper listings and keep an eye out for “for sale” (“Maison à vendre”) signs on properties. However, you may find it easier to hire a real estate consultant to provide you with a personalized list of luxury properties suited to your specific needs. In addition to helping with the property search, an estate agent can help bridge the language barrier. Their services can also include drawing up sales contracts and working with the notaire to take care of legal issues.
Paying for your home
Consider taking out a mortgage to pay for your luxury home in the Côte D’Azur. While you may understandably wish to begin retirement debt-free, paying for the property with cash means you can’t use the money for other purposes. French banks usually allow buyers to borrow 70-80% of a property’s value. Buyers outside the EU, however, may be limited to 50%. In France, your total mortgage payments must also not cost any more than 30% of your net income. If you’re over 65, however, banks only factor in passive income and retirement benefits.
Prepare for extra fees
In France, transaction costs amount to roughly 7% of the total purchase price and include stamp duty and notary fees. Before purchasing the home, make sure the contract includes a home inspection contingency clause. If repair problems are discovered, the seller should be willing to cover the costs. Otherwise, you reserve the right to cancel the transaction. If you’re using a loan to cover the purchase, be prepared to pay a loan registration fee — usually 1-2% of the value of the loan.
Buying a retirement home abroad is a huge investment. It’s important to think through all the details and potential scenarios before you make the leap. Once you’re confident in your decision, you can look forward to a sunny retirement in the Côte D’Azur.