How to finance and buy a French château

Buying a French château may seem like a dream from a fairytale—but as recent news stories have shown, it’s a more achievable ambition than many might imagine.

A ‘château’ broke the record for the world’s most expensive property when it was sold in 2015 for $300million. The château hit the news recently when it was revealed to have been purchased by the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia. The Crown Prince has also been linked to the recent purchase of Leonardo Da Vinci’s Salvator Mundi, which set a record for being the most expensive artwork sold at auction.

In addition to a deluxe swimming pool and a cinema, the owner can also enjoy some unusual features such as an underwater viewing tank, giving a clear view into a moat filled with koi-carp.

However, the property’s historic façade is misleading—although it looks to be an authentic 17th century French estate, the château actually dates from a little more recently, having been completed in 2011.

At the other end of the spectrum, a ruined French castle was recently purchased by thousands of strangers, who crowdfunded to purchase the property and save it.

How can you go about buying a French château?

However, there are many more affordable properties on the market—so if you are looking to enjoy a slice of the countryside by buying a French château, you won’t need to shell out quite such a record breaking sum. And you certainly won’t need to crowdfund to finance the acquisition.

Funding a château in France can be a considerable challenge and is not as straightforward as a normal mortgage; the properties can often be difficult to value, and lenders may be reticent about extending facilities against châteaus because they might be difficult to resell. A broker with good local knowledge can assist your financing, especially if you are not currently living in the country.

Wealthy investors may feel encouraged to return to France in general, following changes to French Wealth Tax due to come into effect on January 1st 2018. The changes will concern tax on property, so if you’re looking to invest in French real estate, read our interview with Discreet Advisory on the topic here.

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