Many buyers dream of running a small hotel, painting holidays or cookery classes, while others are keen on leisure or riding, points out Rhona Hutchinson from Integrated Relocation in Spain (0871 8714687 www.integratedrelocationspain.com).
She believes this makes spacious farmhouses perfect for refurbishment and with useful outbuildings a sensible purchase. ‘Most farmhouses have plenty of land, but they tend to be quite remote with traditional enclosed cobbled courtyards, large rooms, covered terraces, plenty of light and big fireplaces,’ she explains.
Their method of construction makes farmhouses warm in winter and cool in summer, with the price depending on what the land is used for – vineyards and olive groves are more valuable than pasture land.
Some tips for farmhouse buyers from Integrated Relocation Spain are:
* Check the electricity and water supply and if there is a telephone and Internet service
* Where the weather is less clement in the winter, check the heating and access to the property
* How far is the nearest airport, taking road conditions into account
* Older property can be prone to damp, so check this out
* Sometimes what appears to be a farmhouse might be registered as a barn, so buyer beware
* Check boundaries are consistent with the plans
* Make sure future planning for motorways, airports and industrial estates won’t affect your property
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Here are some enticing farmhouses currently for sale abroad:
Gascony, France £708,000
Period five-bedroom farmhouse with two reception rooms, two bathrooms, garage and pool set in 17 hectares. Dating back to about 1840, the house has long views over countryside to the local hilltop village. Another plus is the added potential of the unconverted loft. Knight Frank International 020 7629 8171 www.knightfrank.com
Bogo a Mozzano, Tuscany, Italy £579,000
Completely restored farmhouse with one acre with access via a private drive and electric gates. Only 15 kilometres from Lucca, the farmhouse has four bedrooms, a bathroom with a Jacuzzi and a large terrace. All of the furniture is also included in the sale. Casa Travella 01322 660988 www.casatravella.com
Dordogne, France £692,000
Well renovated 19th century stone farmhouse in a peaceful rural setting with a river running alongside the property. The five-bedroom house has an enormous games room on the top floor of the adjoining barn and a second barn can be converted. The farmhouse with a pool sits in over three-and-a-half hectares of land and has been rented to holidaymakers by the current owner for up to £3,000 a week. Winkworth France 020 8576 5582 www.winkworth.fr
Manoir de la Tour, Gascony, France £1.85 million
This 200-year-old farmhouse can accommodate up to 16 people in the main house, guest house and garden studio. There also is a housekeeper’s flat that sleeps four. With fine terracotta tiles, large fireplaces and wood-burning stoves, the manoir is comfortable at any time of the year. Close to the bastide village of St Clar, Toulouse airport is only 50 minutes away and the cathedral city of Auch is a 35-kilometre drive. Robin Dunipace 0044 7970 698867 firstname.lastname@example.org