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Buy to open a guest house

Show light - BARNES Agency, luxury real estate in Bordeaux

Freedom, reconnection with nature, income by discovering local heritage: guesthouses are on the rise in France. The point on what to know before buying to open a guest house.

The guest house, the perfect accommodation to discover rural France

With nearly 90 million foreign visitors in 2019, France is one more year the world's leading tourist destination. The richness of the local heritage, the charm of the rural villages, the quality of the local products and the good preservation of the historical heritage are among the characteristics most appreciated by travelers who visit France. To immerse yourself in deep France, the one that conveys values so dear and so sought after today such as tradition, authenticity, reconnection with nature and weaving links with local populations, more and more vacationers decide to stay in a guesthouse. Do you want to invest in this form of accommodation and open a guest house? Offer visitors the opportunity to discover your region? Offer a service different from those of hotels and campsites, which focuses above all on going back to basics? Focus on the essential questions to ask before opening guesthouses.

What is a guest room?

This is undoubtedly the first question you need to ask yourself. The, or rather the answers, will help you to target your objective and to take into account technical and legal aspects. Because under the name "guest room", there are several criteria that must be met:

  • The accommodation must be homestay
  • Accommodation must be rented for at least one night
  • The accommodation must be furnished and equipped with complete sanitary facilities
  • Household linen (sheets, towels) and cleaning must be included in the service
  • The price must include other services such as breakfast
  • The accommodation must be declared to the town hall and comply with health, safety and sanitation standards

Am I really prepared to open a guest house?

Any great professional project requires time, patience, conviction and great motivation. Especially if it involves a significant initial investment. Highly motivated people have a great sense of initiative and sacrifice. Unfortunately, these qualities alone are not enough to triumph. You must also have the skills to successfully carry out your project in a sustainable manner. Do you have notions of accounting? If foreigners book your guest rooms, will you be able to communicate with them in English or their language? Will you really be available 24/7 to offer a quality service that meets your customers' expectations? If the answer to any of these questions is no, give yourself some extra time to think before you start.

Am I starting from scratch or do I already have the accommodation?

In people who want to open a guest house, there are usually two cases. The first, an individual who lives in a rural area, and who is looking for a way to earn income with a home he already owns. The second, a person or a couple, generally city-dwellers tired of urban life, who give up everything to favor the quality of life and convert a dream into reality.

In the first case, the inhabitant generally opts for pure authenticity. He opens his house to his guests, makes them discover his region and his way of life. People who buy a home to convert it into a guest house often turn to luxury guest rooms. "Since it takes a lot of money, let's bet on the high end to quickly make the initial investment profitable" tend to think of these. And you, what is your concept of the guest house?

Is my guesthouse project viable?

A great idea on paper is not always a good thing. To find out if your guest rooms can be profitable, you need to do market research. How? 'Or' What ? By analyzing the supply and demand in your catchment area. In other words, in your geographic area of influence (canton, department, natural area, etc.). Concretely, identify your real and potential competitors: other guesthouses, campsites and other outdoor establishments, hotels, Airbnb and other rental platforms between individuals… Find out about the number of visitors in the desired area and draw up their profiles : type of client (students, couples, families, groups of friends), place of origin, age, social level, purchasing power, tastes, average length of stay, high and low season, etc.

How to choose the right house to transform into a guest house?

If you have to acquire a property and transform it into guest rooms, this question can be a real headache. To enlighten you, here are the main points to study: 

  • Easy access and well connected (near highways, stations, airports) 
  • Proximity to places of interest (cities of character, castles, museums, amusement parks, nautical bases, etc.)
  • Preserved natural setting (seaside, mountain, lake, river)
  • Consistency with the defined concept (presence or possibility of installing a swimming pool, large garden, etc.).

How do I convince my banker and get a loan? 

By writing a solid business plan. This document outlines your guest house project. It must be precise, realistic and viable to convince your banker. The latter may congratulate you on your wonderful idea, he will keep his feet on the ground and will only look at one thing: the financial aspect. Give him what interests him by integrating into your business plan a financing plan, a forecast balance sheet and a cash budget.

Which legal status to choose? 

  • Limited liability company (SARL): the company is a legal person made up of at least 2 people. In the event of bankruptcy, the capital of the LLC is claimed but private property is not seized. 
  • One-person company with limited liability (EURL): A structure that resembles the LLC, with only one partner. 
  • Individual business: Alone at the helm of your business, you combine your personal and professional heritage.

What administrative procedures must I carry out in order to operate? 

To devote yourself exclusively to your guest house, you must register with the RCS (Trade and Companies Register) and the Chamber of Commerce's business formalities center. 

You must also join a social scheme for self-employed workers: 

  • Social security for the self-employed (ex RSI)
  • Mutualité Sociale Agricole (MSA) if you are a farmer 

For more information, or to find the ideal house for sale in Bordeaux for this type of project, contact your real estate agency Barnes Bordeaux now.