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Everything posted by Eslier

  1. Michael, your immersion will be controlled by a relay mounted in your standard fuse board. This receives a signal from your electricity meter at the times it should switch on or off. There is, however, an overide switch which enables you to run the immersion heater at any time of day. Obviously it will cost a bit more during the day but it resolves the problem of unexpectedly running out of hot water. It doesn't work in the same way as in the UK where you have a seperate supply and meter. In France, a hot water "ballon" is very well insulated and efficient. Sometimes, it can be better to leave it switched on 24hrs per day as it could cost more to reheat after being switched off for 16 hours than to just keep it topped up the whole time.
  2. Jenny, I would advise you to be very careful. There are a number of "professional" web design companies around who will claim to offer you exactly what you are looking for. I have seen some sites which have been created by various companies which, to my mind, fail miserably to do the job. I think the main problem is that many of these people are IT specialists who don't really have much artistic or marketing ability. Consequently the end result will only be as good as the brief given to them.  There are, however, undoubtedly companies who do have the ability to give you what you want so shop around and look at some of their previous work. To get the best, you will probably need to enter into a contract which will provide ongoing development of your website over a period of time. It is rare to get everything exactly right first time and many things change so there will be a need for regular updating. I'm not sure that I would agree with you about the need for on-line booking and payment facilities. In my experience, clients quite like to have some personal contact with the owner as it makes them feel happier about parting with their money. Having said that, I'm sure there are others who would disagree with me. If you do decide to look into this further then I would start by investigating the best method for accepting credit card payments. You are likely to find this is quite costly and there is also the risk of chargebacks. Good luck.
  3. Your most important consideration should be location. If you want to fill a reasonable number of weeks in your gites then you need to be certain you are buying in an area that already attracts a lot of tourists. If this is the case then the property itself is the second consideration. I would say there are three things that you need to look into. Firstly, noise: you need to know whether the farm generate any noise at, what to your guests might be, unsocial hours. Secondly, smell: dairy farms can get a bit smelly in hot weather which might not be a problem to country folk but some visitors might be unhappy about it. You would probably need to make it clear when advetising your gites that your property borders a working dairy farm so that people are aware of the potential problem. Thirdly, planning. If you are in an agricultural area, don't assume that you will automatically get permission to convert outbuildings to residential property. A visit to the local Mairie will give you an indication if this will be possible, but you should ask the Notaire to insert a clause suspensive into the Compromis de Vente which gives you a get out clause if permission is denied. Whatever you do, don't take an agent's word when seeking answers to any of the above - do your own research. Finally, be realistic in your plans. Renovation works will probably cost double what you think and are bound to take three times longer than you expect. There are many gite owners who struggle to let around eight weeks per year  whilst others  manage up to twenty. Be cautious and only reckon on a maximum of twelve weeks when doing your cash flow calculations but remember you will need to spend money on advertising  to maximise your potential. Good luck.
  4. Kimberley, you could try advertising on either the Total France website or AI forum for your area (assuming there is one). Both these offer members the opportunity to advertise vehicles for sale. Providing your van has a current UK mot and road tax, and you have the V5C document you shouldn't have too much problem finding a buyer. Rememver however that if either the mot or tax have expired then the vehicle is not road legal in France so a prospective purchaser would be put off as it would be illegal for him or her to pick the vehicle up and drive it home. It is much better, therefore, if you can find a buyer before these run out or the only alternative might be a trip back to the UK.
  5. In general, mortgages and loans will be considered according to your current level of income. Banks will not be prepared to take into account any income you may get from letting your gite once the work is completed. As Patrick said, there are some incentives if you go through Gites de France such as grants that can be made available (used to be up to 50% of the renovation cost - not sure if it still is). This does, however, tie you into a contract to let through GdeF for, I believe, a period of ten years. If your gite is in an area popular with EU visitors then this might prove to be a good thing but rental rates tend to be considerably lower than you could achieve by letting direct to, say, the British market. When I looked into it, GdeF took a 20% commission of the rental charged for the property but if you offset this against the fact that you wouldn't have any advertising costs that's not too bad. You just have to make your mind up whether you want to be tied into a long term contract.
  6. We searched all over for such items in France and failed to find them.  Now we pick up a bulk supply of nappy sacks in Tesco when back in the UK.  We did find nappy sacks in Bébé9 last year and they told us they were new - just arrived. The packs were quite small and not that cheap. Haven't seen nappy sacks in any of the supermarkets though.
  7. I'm fairly sure you will find that the TVA relief is only applicable if you opt for long term lets (minimum three year contract). Holiday lets (anything up to six months at a time) do not count. For holiday letting, you do not have to register for TVA unless your income is greater than the TVA threshold which I believe is currently somewhere in the region of 72k€.
  8. As long as you only let for a period up to six months then you will be fine as this can be covered by a holiday let contract. Unless you want to convert it to a standard three year contract don't under any circumstances allow your guests to stay beyond six months as, by law, it will automatically become a formal let. French Property News would  be a good place to advertise as this is read by most serious prospective buyers.
  9. Eslier


    Bonz,  are you currently living in the UK ? If so, you should consider the fact that your pension / income will be from the UK and it may be better to take out a mortgage there so as to avoid any difficulties due to currency fluctuations in the future. You will find it much easier to raise a mortgage or remortgage against your home in the UK which you could organise in advance so that you have the money in the bank ready to buy. If you still wish to investigate the possibility of a French mortgage, you could start with Credit Agricole Britline www.britline.com where you can chat to an English advisor and also arrange the opening of a French bank account.
  10. Eslier


    If you have submitted tax returns in the last two years from your French address then this is all the proof of residency you need.
  11. It can take a couple of weeks to enable the ADSL line and in the meantime it isn't unheard of for Wanadoo to start charging you for calls. You will know if ADSL is connected because the ADSL light on your modem will light up and stay on - not blinking. Assuming you have verified that ADSL is connected to your modem . . . If you are using the Wanadoo Espace software then this may be where the problem lies. The best thing to do is firstly, unplug your new adsl modem from the computer. Secondly, go to Control Panel /Add or Remove Programs and delete all Wanadoo software. Thirdly, plug your modem back into a spare USB port - if nothing happens then that's fine, if you get a message saying new hardware found then follow the instructions for loading the driver - using the Wanadoo CD if necessary but do NOT reload the Wanadoo Espace software. Fourthly,  again in Control Panel, go to Network and Internet connections. Select Internet Options and then click on the connections tab. Click on set-up and configure your internet connection the account details and password information provided to you by Wanadoo.
  12. Paris is always delightful whether alone, as a couple or in a large group.  You should find it very comfortable on your own. Obviously you should take the usual common sense precautions you would adopt in any city but as a seasoned traveller you clearly don't need reminding of that. Try and book a central hotel (1st or 6th arrondisment are good areas) so you can walk to everywhere. Go and enjoy you won't be disappointed. Don't forget there's much much more to France than Paris however . . .
  13. I took a Ryanair flight last year where they did a similar thing. On that flight it was the back six or seven rows that were blocked off. At a guess I would agree it probably has something to do with making the turnaround quicker.
  14. Not so sure about "lucrative" Rob ! If you go for long term rental, then say, for example, you get around 500€ per month but the tennant pays all the bills for electricity, water etc. and also pays the Tax d'Habitation. If you go for holiday lets then you might get 12 weeks at an average of 500€ per week which is the same income but don't forget you then have to pay all the bills, it's likely to cost you in the region of 50€ per week for someone to do the changeovers etc. and then you've got marketing costs. You'll be lucky to see around 60% of your holiday let income as profit. If you've got a pool then your average rental rates will be higher but it's still not going to be "more lucrative".   Holiday letting is not easy for absent owners but can help pay the bills and at least you have use of the house when you want it.
  15. Found them (called "porte baggage") at . . . http://www.manusec.com/pdf/portebagage.pdf [URL=http://imageshack.us][IMG]http://img56.imageshack.us/img56/1954/luggagestand6vc.jpg[/IMG][/URL]
  16. [quote user="Blanche Neige"] Our reasoning was it might save them using the bed with the fresh linen as a horizontal surface for sorting out their bits from their grubby cases.   Eslier, I do agree, where can one buy these suitcase stands? [/quote] Haven't found them yet, it's just another of those things on "the list" to sort out. If anyone finds them first then please let me know.
  17. Use Outlook Express to download your messages then you can keep them all indefinitely if you so wish and your Wanadoo inbox will be empty.
  18. We thought about suitcase stands, especially for people who only spend a night or two and therefore don't unpack the entire case and discard it in a cupboard.  Our reasoning was it might save them using the bed with the fresh linen as a horizontal surface for sorting out their bits from their grubby cases.  Also if they can't house their case safely, there is the danger they put it on the floor and could trip over it in the night!  I would  they would be useful - they do fold up against the wall don't they when not in use?
  19. [quote user="Will "]It is only temporary until the new Bretagne 2 is delivered, specially designed for the Plymouth-Roscoff route. [/quote] Not that "temporary". The new ship is not scheduled for delivery until October 2008 so that's three summer seasons the ship now not so fondly nicknamed "Le Funnel" (you'll know why if you see it !) to carry passengers back and forth between Plymouth and Roscoff.
  20. Having done this area escorting school trips on a number of occassions I would say Utah Beach - the museum there is very good with an excellent AV show, and the beach area is unspoilt. Following that, head just a few km inland to St Mere Eglise to see the parachutist hanging from the church tower (you must watch the video of "The Longest Day" before your trip) and the American Airborne Museum. All very moving and plenty to see.
  21. [quote user="mascamps.com"]As far as I know the automated stations only take Carte Bleue (ie French Visa/Mastercards: not even French Visa Electron/Maestro as far as I know) [/quote] I can assure you that a Eurocard/Mastercard debit card issued by a French bank (mine is from CA) works fine at all filling stations. To be fair, mine also has a CB logo on it as well as the Mastercard logo.
  22. If convenience is more important to you than cost then try the Eurotunnel "FlexiPlus" ticket (used to be called Club Class). You don't have to book a specific time train, you just turn up and are given priority boarding onto the first train. You go straight to the front of the queue and are boarded first - so first off the other end too. There are also other benefits such as priority check-in lane, special lounge access with free non-alcholic drinks, snacks and newspapers. It's a great service and well worth paying extra for if you don't like hanging around.
  23. I suspect that the French are just not inclined to invest money simply to make life a little easier for English tourists. It is unlikely that converting all the fuel pumps would result in enough additional business to cover the cost of such an exercise so why bother ?  Whilst it may be inconvenient for some, most Brits will find a way around the problem, even if that means staying in a hotel for the night and buying fuel the next morning. Rightly or wrongly, it seems to be a case of  "I'm alright Jaques". It would be interesting to know whether the new American Express "Travellers Cheque Cards" will work.
  24. I would have no objection whatsoever about carrying an ID card although I do have my doubts about the British Government's ability to set up and administer a system that can work efficiently and to good purpose. An EU wide ID card sounds like a far more sensible idea to me. Personally, I subscribe to the "if you haven't got anything to hide then you haven't got anything to worry about" point of view. To be effective, it should be compulsory for all and issued free. I carry my UK photocard driving license with me in France and use it on the odd occassion I am asked for ID to support a cheque. I've never had any problem using it although I often have to point out which is the "number" as it isn't obvious (starts with the first five letters of the surname).
  25. Did you forget to pay your Tax Fonciere or Tax d'Habitation at the end of last year ?  They have the power to take it straight from your bank account if you don't pay.
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