What would be the legal process of buying a property with others?
Firstly please be aware that the property has not yet been purchased and the location is to be determined.
Here is a brief summary of two ways you can own property in France as a group.
The first is by forming an SCI (Société Civile Immobiliére) which is a french property company. Each of the joint owners would be shareholders of the company, it is a relatively straightforward process that is dealt with by an appropriately qualified lawyer or notary. It is a flexible structure and its rules relating to how the company is managed are drafted in agreement with the shareholders.
Another way of owning property as a group is 'En Indivision', in France this is a common method of joint ownership equivalent to 'tenancy in common'. The property is purchased by two or more people with each person owning a share in whatever terms are decided between them, usually the amount of money they have contributed (for example 10%) and this will be clearly identified on the deeds.
How would I get my money back if I wanted to leave?
In either of the above cases you would of course have the right to sell your share, either to an existing shareholder or to a new one if you decided to leave. In the unlikely event of a suitable buyer not being found after two years, then the community would commit to buying back the share.
How would decisions be made?
Naturally we want the community to be run with integrity and maturity. Above all there would be no leaders, during the decision making process it's important for everyone to have their say and be listened to. Decades of experience of living in various communities have shown us that a majority vote of 70-75% generally is the fairest and most practical method for making important decisions. However it's important to be open to coming up with creative solutions so that everyone is happy.
What would be the cost of a share?
That would depend on many factors including the size and cost of the property and the number of sharers. It is definitely the case that the higher the cost of the chateau and the more shareholders, the far more you get for your money. Please look at our examples. A castle with 10 sharers costing 500,000 euros would generally be 50,000 euros per share. A property with 20 sharers costing 700,000 euros would be 35,000 euros per share, and so on. Many properties have smaller houses attached that could be suitable also for co-housing, so some shares, such as a small room in the castle, would be worth considerably less than a separate house or entire apartment on the property. But don't forget you are not just getting a room, house or an apartment, you are also getting the use of all the communal rooms, facilities and the grounds.
Having said all of this, a substantial amount of the funds has been raised already, and we are open to people putting in money for several shares as an investment with a view to selling off some of their shares once the community is established, this would certainly be the easiest method. The shares may increase in value according to the improved value of the property and the rate of inflation.
Would there be any extra costs?
There would obviously need to be a maintenance fund available for repairs and upkeep of the property of approximately 20 euros per week per share. In addition communal utility bills would be divided by the number of residents.
Can we buy one share as a couple?
Yes you can. You could also buy a half share with another individual and occupy the space for 6 months of the year.
I am not french, can I live in France?
If you are an EU citizen you can live or work in France and you do not need a visa.
Non EU citizens generally still have the right to own property in France and stay for up to 3 months out of every 6. Regarding visas, please do your own research depending on your country of origin.
Could I visit or live there as a non-shareholder?
Yes, we hope so. We aim to buy a property that will have enough space to accommodate both short and long term guests at an affordable rent.
Will the community be family/child friendly?
Families with children would be welcome to visit during certain times. However we would like the permanent sharers to be adults only.
Can I bring my dog?
We love all animals, of course, but we would really like the land belonging to the community to become a sanctuary and a haven for all wildlife who can feel safe in our grounds. We want to discourage dog ownership on the whole because most dogs will chase and frighten wildlife. As the project develops we hope to come up with some solutions.
If I owned a share I could only be there some of the time, would this be a problem?
Although we would prefer sharers who are actively involved for most of the time, we realise this may not be possible for some people. As long as you were happy for your space to be rented out in your absence, on the occasion of it being needed, then this would not be a problem. A percentage of the rent would go towards the running costs of the community and the rest would go to you, the owner.
How would community members support themselves?
Each member of the community will have to be financially independent, whether retired, self-employed or with independent means. However there should be many opportunities for creating income both individually and collectively, based around the activities of the community as a whole. (For example, creating a vegan cafe open to the public, or growing plants/ vegetables in a commercial nursery, market stalls etc).
We aim to choose a property that is ideally no more that an hours drive from an international airport and a major town with train station or motorway, this will make it more accessible to visitors and help create income and hopefully make it possible for residents to find work locally if necessary.
Are you interested in owning a share?
Please fill in the contact form below, telling us a bit about yourself. Please note that prospective sharers must be vegan.