How to find the best quality-price ratio for your renovations?

Investing in residential or rental real estate, renovation represents an economical and intelligent alternative. This type of work increases the rental value of the property and improves its energy performance so that occupants gain in comfort. When it comes to such an investment in older real estate, investors always ask themselves: how to find the best value for money? Studying this theoretical ratio helps them make the right decision. In other words, stakeholders are convinced to embark on buying an older property if they believe that the quality of the property more than compensates for its cost.

Assessing the Cost of Renovation Works Before Purchasing the Property

The cost of renovating a residential house or rental apartment in a building can quickly escalate considering the state of the original construction. Therefore, it is preferable to study the cost to be allocated to the project before purchasing the property.

Refreshment Works 

An investment in an older property requires a study of the relationship between the purchase price of a property and its value. In this sense, refreshing is an investment that deserves the investor's attention. This menu of work includes multiple small operations aimed at improving the comfort and decoration of a primary residence or a rental apartment. In terms of prices, here's what the project manager can expect when carrying out this type of renovation :

      • Renovating the floor covering: €20 to €200 per square meter, depending on the type of material chosen (vinyl or natural stone) ;

      • Renovating the walls (kitchen and bathroom, for example): €30 to €50 per square meter ;

      • Changing the decoration: €300 to €700 per room.

    Thanks to the embellishment works, the rent for the renovated older apartment is slightly increased.

    Intermediate Works

    In older real estate, intermediate renovation involves renewing the electrical installation, improving insulation, removing plaster partitions, etc. It is therefore halfway between refreshment and major work. The price of this type of work ranges from €700 to €900 per square meter. Considering the cost of the project, the investor decides whether the purchase of the older property is beneficial or not.

    Major Works

    Heavy renovation of an older property involves work (requiring major structural interventions) on the structure of the rental housing or the main house. The duration of the project and the fees of a qualified professional, duly insured, make this project a significant burden. In concrete terms, you should budget €1,000 to €1,200 per square meter, on average. This budget also includes a margin of 10% of the cost of the works to deal with the frequent unforeseen events in this type of renovation.

    Energy Renovation Works

    In the era of energy transition, standards are imposed for each rental apartment within a building and residential house. Properties classified as F and G are the most energy-intensive and require renovation works to improve their energy performance. The price of such an investment in older real estate amounts to €9,100 (including materials and labor). In this regard, the investor has the possibility to claim state aid to mitigate the cost of this type of renovation.

    Choosing a Professional or a Company with Accreditation

    In the wake of an investment in older real estate, especially renovation, the project manager seeks labor. To see more clearly in his selection, he can rely on labels that assure him of the seriousness of the craftsman or the company. This identification element constitutes a real guarantee of competence. As an indication, obtaining any state aid requires the use of an accredited professional.

    Studying the Details of the Work Quote

    Embarking on a real estate investment focused on renovation requires vigilance. The presentation of a quote by a craftsman says a lot about the quality of their work and their professionalism. Only a renovation professional will be able to provide a detailed and clear document about the expenses related to the work. In other words, the investor in old real estate has the obligation to ask themselves the following questions :

        • Do the quotes comply with current standards ?

        • Are the quotes free (except in case of necessary preliminary study) ?

        • Has the renovation professional specified the payment terms and the types of materials to be used ?

      Where possible, it is advisable to obtain several quotes (at least 3) for the same work in order to establish a comparison of prices and services. Furthermore, it is essential to be wary of quotes that are too low. In such cases, the materials may be of poor quality, as well as the service provided.

      Selecting the Renovation Professional Based on Their Skills

      In an investment in old real estate, the project manager is wise to choose the right worker for each job. This approach helps to avoid disappointments and the risk of exceeding the initial budget too much.

      A Mason for Structural Work

      For the realization of so-called structural renovation works, it is advisable to enlist an expert mason. This professional is appropriate in the following cases :

          • Demolition of constructions ;

          • Knocking down a partition wall ;

          • Creating a terrace.

        On the construction site, they work with a team of qualified professionals, including a plasterer-drywaller and a joint filler, for example.

        A Carpenter for the Structure of the Property

        Investment in old real estate requires careful selection from the various trades operating in the building industry. For work related to the roof of a main house or a rental apartment, the carpenter is an expert in the field. They have the required skills for restoring wooden frameworks designed to support the roofing, following the rules of the trade.

        A Roofer for Roof Renovation

        In any type of housing (residential house or apartment within a building), the roof constitutes significant protection for the occupants. Moreover, it accounts for the main source of energy loss (30% heat loss). Additionally, weather conditions displace or damage tiles and slates, causing water leaks. It is therefore advisable to renovate the roof covering for safety and energy-saving reasons. In this case, there is nothing better than calling upon a roofer capable of working at heights and restoring the housing covering to good condition.

        An RGE Professional for Energy Renovation

        In thermal renovation, an excellent value-for-money is achieved by engaging a thermal engineering firm capable of making the best choices for energy optimization in housing. This firm has the necessary expertise to identify heating and insulation flaws in homes. Additionally, it provides advice, recommends the best thermal improvement solutions, and prioritizes energy renovation works to be carried out.

        Furthermore, it is advisable to enlist an RGE professional (Recognized Guarantor of the Environment). This qualification aims to attest to the skills and professionalism of the company or professional. Also, this label helps the owner of a primary residence or a rental apartment in a building to qualify for state aid.

        An Architect to Oversee All Works

        Contacting an architect is necessary, even mandatory, when renovation works concern an area exceeding 150 m2. This building expert provides layout advice while considering constraints and organizes the interventions of professionals efficiently. Their work is tailored to the needs and budget of the owner of the primary residence or the apartment in a building.

        Finding the Best Aids to Offset Renovation Costs

        Investing in old real estate always raises the question of how to finance the works at minimal cost. Fortunately for the owner of an apartment in a building or a residential house, state aid exists.


        Among the state aids for financing energy renovation works is MaPrimeRenov'. This grant covers certain installations related to heating, insulation (kitchen and bathroom walls), ventilation, and energy audits. It is intended for households with modest incomes, owner-occupiers of individual housing, landlords, and condominium associations. However, how to benefit from it? The answers to this question are :

            • Properties eligible for MaPrimeRenov' must be at least 15 years old ;

            • The maximum duration of occupancy of the habitat is set at 8 months per year ;

            • The owner of the primary residence or the rented apartment must engage a qualified RGE craftsman or company.

          For landlord-owners, the rent will be regulated by the amount of the grant, and the tenant will be informed about the works and any rent reassessment. 

          The calculation of the grant amount is based on two criteria, namely resources and the ecological benefit of the works. From this operation and the resources of the tax household, four taxpayer profiles emerge :

              • MaPrimeRenov' Blue : very modest incomes ;

              • MaPrimeRenov' Yellow : modest incomes ;

              • MaPrimeRenov' Purple : intermediate incomes ;

              • MaPrimeRenov' Pink : higher incomes

            This grant sets the duration of the project at 2 years.

            The Eco-Zero Interest Loan

            To renovate an old residential or rental property, the owner can benefit from the eco-zero interest loan, extended until December 31, 2023. It helps finance the project under favorable conditions and at a reduced cost.  

            The amount of this zero-interest loan can go up to €50,000 and applies to all properties located in France. Typically, a property is only entitled to one eco-zero interest loan. However, if the owner applies for a new one, in addition, the total sum of the two credits must not exceed €30,000.

            The Energy Savings Boost Scheme

            After purchasing an old property, it needs to be renovated to achieve good energy performance and excellent rental value. In this regard, investors have the option to turn to one of the state aids, notably the Energy Savings Boost Scheme. This scheme supports the owner in financing certain energy renovation works, namely :

                • Heating,

                • Insulation (kitchen and bathroom walls, for example),

                • Thermostat with efficient regulation.

              The amount of this subsidy is paid by companies that have signed the Energy Savings Boost Charter. This scheme can be combined with MaPrimeRenov’ and the eco-zero interest loan but not with offers from actors eligible for the Energy Savings Certificates (EEC) scheme.

              The Pinel Law

              Initially dedicated to the new real estate market, the Pinel law also applies to old properties intended for rental. In exchange for this rental commitment, the investor benefits from a tax reduction rate proportional to this duration, specifically :

                  • 12% tax reduction if the investor rents the property for 6 years ;

                  • 18% tax reduction if the investor rents the property for 9 years ;

                  • 21% tax reduction if the investor rents the property for 12 years.

                These thresholds are valid only for the year 2022.

                However, a major question remains: how to successfully benefit from tax deductions for renovation works through the Pinel law? To achieve this, the property must be located in one of the 245 eligible cities in France under the Pinel scheme. Additionally, the cost of the renovation project must represent less than 25% of the total cost of the operation. Moreover, the works must necessarily include boiler replacement, insulation of windows, attics, and walls (especially those of the kitchen and bathroom).

                The Loc'avantages Scheme

                Since March 1, 2022, the Coss scheme has evolved to become Loc'avanatges, extended until December 31, 2024. This fiscal system has the following modalities :

                    • Tax reduction: if the investor in old properties rents the property at a lower rate than the rental market and to tenants with capped incomes ;

                    • Financial assistance from Anah (National Housing Agency): for works inside the property ;

                    • An unfurnished rental for at least 6 years to a tenant not belonging to the investor's close family ;

                    • A minimum energy performance level achieved, notably class E in 2027 and D in 2028 ;

                    • Three levels of monthly payments planned: intermediate rental, social rental, and very social rental.

                  With this scheme, a low rent means a greater tax reduction. In old real estate investment, tax relief through Loc'avanatges varies from 15% to 65% depending on the rental intermediary (social real estate agency or approved association).

                  Mathieu Amara

                  Mathieu Amara

                  Graduated in political science, I have always been passionate about renovation and construction work.

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