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Sprogster

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Everything posted by Sprogster

  1. If not an EU citizen, then work permits would be required.

    However, if you are a highly paid, qualified and therefore probably wealthy investment banker, then work permits are not a problem! Especially, if it helps European financial centres compete with London, New York and Singapore.

    Most countries, including France, Spain, Italy and the UK are very keen to attract wealthy individuals, who will make a valuable financial contribution to their treasuries, to the extent they will offer tax incentives.
  2. The Schengen rules for visiting UK citizens will be less flexible than for EU citizens visiting the UK. A citizen from the EU will be able to visit the UK for up to six months a year, all in one block if they wish. A UK citizen visiting the EU will be restricted to 90 days out of 180. So if you have a second home in the EU, if you stay there ninety days, you cannot return to anywhere in the Schengen area for 90 days.

    So if you visit any EU country except Ireland, you are going to have to be careful you do not exceed 90 out of 180 days on a rolling basis.
  3. Sorry to hear about Sunday Driver.

    I sold my house in France three years ago, so have not posted for quite a while, as my French experiences are probably out of date and now being in the USA, am too far away.

    This is the first year in decades I have not been in France, so occasionally I have a peak at the Forum, to reminisce, as it is still bookmarked on my computer.

    Take care and keep safe everyone!

  4. Hi everyone, been a while since I last posted.

    Thought I would highlight an issue that will potentially impact Brits who intend to travel to France and or the Schengen area as a visitor/tourist for extended stays post Brexit, such as retirees with a maison secondaire.

    The good news as most of us probably know is that Brits visiting France as a visitor/tourist post Brexit will not require a tourist visa, but as for Americans/Canadians/Australians and other tourist visa waiver third country non EU nationals, will be allowed to visit France and or the Schengen area for up to 90 days a at a time, subject to a maximum of 180 days in a year.

    What is probably overlooked though is that there is an additional limit of 90 days in any 180, so if you go to France to stay in your maison secondaire for 90 days, you will not be able to return to France or the Schengen area for 90 days. This clearly is going to impact for example retirees who say for argument want to stay in France or Spain for extended visits.

    By comparison the UK is more generous allowing visitors to the UK from third non EU countries to stay in the UK for six months a year in one go if they wish. Likewise, even other countries such as the USA don't have a mandatory requirement that tourists visiting the USA under their visa waiver programme for 90 days as allowed, cannot return for 90 days.

    In summary, it looks like those Brits who want the flexibility to spend more than 90 days in 180, whilst visiting France and or the wider Schengen area will eventually require some form of long term visitor visa.
  5. Forums like this pre-date smart phones/tablets, social media like Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, Twitter and are therefore struggling. Home PC's are in terminal decline replaced by smart phones, for which Forums were not designed, as the younger generation increasingly use apps to interface with the Web.

    I am not sure the number of members this Forum have is reflective of active members, with the vast majority historic.

    All very sad and because we are getting older!
  6. To me the biggest annoyance would be that as an expat in France post Brexit one would be landlocked and unable to enjoy freedom of movement to other EU countries like Spain and Italy, if you wanted to relocate. Presumably, only answer would be to obtain French or another EU citizenship.
  7. Not returning to the UK, as from the Channel Islands, so only 12 miles from France, which on most days I can see clearly and easy to pop across anytime I need a French fix! Children/grandchildren are across the pond.
  8. I have been a member of this Forum for over 13 years, having been a French home owner for a couple years longer and all that came to an end this week when the proceeds of my French house sale finally made its way to my bank account 12 days late. But that is another story!

    I will still be a lurker and occasionally contribute whilst my French home owning experience is relevant.

    Main reason for selling is that with children/grandchildren now on a different Continent that is where I am spending more time.

    Main lesson learned and advice I would give to anyone considering purchasing a home in France is rent before you buy. Not only because homes in France can be a difficult to sell in what is a challenging property market, but also because buying and selling costs are so high that if you decide you made a mistake and want to try a different area, you are likely to be left substantively out of pocket when you come to sell, if indeed you can.

    Main difficulty is the language, which I found gets worse as you get older!

    Biggest unrealistic expectation was the Winter weather, which I found even on the Med much wetter and colder than expected. So if avoiding Winter heating bills is an objective, France is not the place!

    Last but not least France has got expensive, especially in the south, something that struck me when I went to Spain recently for a short visit and was surprised how much cheaper things were like a glass of wine!

    I will miss my little piece of heaven in France, but life is short and new adventures beckon.

    Bon chance and have a great festive season.
  9. Ian,

    Absolutely certain, in that unlike iplayer you are not geographically restricted access on Netflix or Amazon Prime. I am a member of Netflix UK and have no problem accessing and watching my UK Netflix account in France or the USA, where I visit frequently.
  10. If you join Netflix UK, which you can easily do if you have a UK bank account, debit or credit card, when you log in wherever you are in the world, you get the same content. Unlike Sky, Netflix and Amazon Prime do not restrict viewing geographically and you have global access to your account, which is great when you travel
  11. Having a house in the Var with a pool, I would endorse the point about electricity, as even though I had a new electric pump installed I found it expensive to run all year and if you heat the pool during the shoulder season then sky is the limit! The alternative would be to drain the pool in Winter, but water in the Var is very expensive, to the point that water evaporation due to the summer heat necessitating regular water top ups, was an appreciable expense.

    I do worry about the strict children's pool safety laws in France and resulting criminal liability for non compliance, the only satisfactory answer to which in my opinion, especially if you are going to rent the property, is to build a compliant safety fence around the pool, which can be expensive.

    I would not have a house in the Var without a pool, but it is my biggest house related expense after taxes and a bit like a boat the usage rarely justifies the cost!
  12. There are modest indications that the market has bottomed out and is improving modestly in some areas. However, my Notaire feels that next year the market may soften again once the Macron honeymoon period ends and the ECB start tightening monetary policy.

    What is evident in the Var is a huge unsold inventory that will take years to clear, to the extent that in my area the immobilliers stopped putting up for sale boards outside houses, so as not to put off potential buyers and spoil the area with mass signage, due to the shear volume of properties on the market. Instead they put up sold signs, once a property is sold!
  13. Probably a good time to buy as property prices in the Var are a good 30% off their 2008 peak. Although if you have been converting from £ to € at the current exchange rate, OUCH!!

    I originally bought in the Var near the coast some 15 years ago and have enjoyed our time there, but am now looking to sell what is our second house and have a buyer lined up. I am taking a not inconsiderable haircut, but the exchange rate works in my favour so should break even.

    Biggest disappointment for me was the Winter weather, as much colder and wetter than expected. Also it can be dead in Winter, especially near the coast.

    It always amused me that the many 'Verglas Frequent' road signs get removed in the Spring and put back in the Autumn, so make sure your house is insulated well and ideally has air con for what can be sweltering hot summers, which I enjoyed.
  14. Those fed up with Brit tourists might not be fed up much longer if the £ continues it's decline to below Euro parity as many currency analysts predict by early next year! I am sure many of those Brits who voted for Brexit did not anticipate that their French/Spanish holidays might become unaffordable as a result.
  15. Rosie,

    If you are going to be reliant on UK source income, financial considerations should be near the top of your list of concerns, with the £ in rapid decline and approaching parity with the Euro. Many currency analysts are forecasting the £ to go below parity early next year. Hopefully, in a couple of years once the financial markets have a better idea how Brexit will pan out the £ will recover, but meanwhile I fear we are in for a rocky ride.

    Also if you do move to France, I would strongly recommend you rent before you buy, not just because of the poor exchange rate, but that buying and selling costs for property in France are a lot higher than the UK and it can be difficult to recoup your investment if you decide you want to move or return.
  16. For me the future re-saleability of a French property would also be an important consideration, in that personal circumstances change and it could be more difficult to sell an isolated property if one needed to move.

    With certain exceptions, rural French residential property has been a depreciating asset over the last ten years, not only due to the poor French economy but demographics in that the French population has generally been shifting towards towns and cities.

    No one wants to be stuck with property you can’t sell, which is an increasing problem in rural France.

  17. It appears that genetic factors as to how your brain is wired do indeed significantly impact an adult's ability to learn a foreign language. Link below:

    http://brainblogger.com/2016/06/26/can-we-predict-which-people-will-be-better-at-learning-foreign-languages/

  18. As you get older most people by the time they reach their sixties and seventies will have some form of deterioration in their short term memory. What this means is that as you get older what you learn last, you forget first.

    Therefore, not only does it get more difficult to learn a foreign language as you get older, but what you have learnt becomes more difficult to retain as you age. This becomes a major issue if you have any element of dementia.

    Idun moved to France as a relative youngster and had youth on her side in learning French, but it is a totally different proposition for many retirees who move in later life, who may find their ability to speak French deteriorating just as their medical needs require it most.
  19. Another consideration will be the political environment in France post Brexit, as in the French elections next May it looks inevitable that France will end up with a right of centre government more hostile to outsiders.

    If I recall correctly it was Nicholas Sarkosy who tried to restrict access to health care for foreign 'inactifs' and presumably post Brexit inactive Brits in France not eligible for an S1 will have less rights to challenge this sort of restriction.
  20. NickP, a significant percentage if not majority of retirees have some form of chronic health condition that would make comprehensive private medical insurance difficult and expensive to obtain, without which a non EU/EAA citizen would be unable to obtain a long stay visa.

    As for being financially challenged, unfortunately there is a long history of Brits moving to France and Spain with insufficient funds and or unrealistic work expectations. Hence one of the reasons for the high return rate.
  21. Non EU/EAA citizens are allowed to visit the Schengen area as a tourist for a period of up to 90 days a time, with a maximum of 180 days in a year. This is the current practice in France and mirrors the visa waiver scheme that the USA and more recently Canada applies to European tourists that qualify.

    I believe that nowadays a carte de sejour/carte de resident has to be applied for in a non EU/EAA applicants home country through their French Embassy and approved before arriving in France. Requirements now include a medical, proof of adequate financial means and comprehensive private health insurance. Where employment in France is involved the French employer has to demonstrate they have been unable to find an EU citizen capable of fulfilling the role. (Unless it is a temporary international company transfer).

    On this basis it will probably be very difficult for British citizens, post Brexit, to move to France for employment and future British retirees without adequate financial means and good health might struggle to obtain a non working long term resident visa.
  22. More and more people access the internet using smart phones and PC sales have as a result fallen off a cliff.

    Most Forums are designed for PC use and are often more difficult to navigate and use with a smart phone.

    I am not sure updating forum software is the answer, as the traditional page layout of a forum does not lend itself to the smaller screen of a smartphone.
  23. I don't believe this Forum is unique with the decline in postings, just reflective of the advent of competing social media such as Facebook, twitter, instagram and whatsapp, none of which existed when I joined this forum in 2004!

    The 'other' main French forum has seen a similar drop off when you exclude the postings of one very prolific poster.

    Other non French forums I am a member off are all much quieter than they used to be and will probably not survive our older generation!

  24. At my nearest hospital in Frejus the average wait is 4 to 5 hours, longer in season. Must admit from the experiences of my friends living full time in the area, the consensus seems to be to avoid the local hospitals if possible and try and get to Nice or Mougins, but not always possible in an emergency!
  25. With the French government deciding to re-impose French social security charges on rental income or gains for French homes owned by non residents from 2015, I fear any prospect of a recovery in interest the French second home market has been kicked into the long grass, as non residents are likely to be put off by a 'tax' that is not recognised as such and allowable as a tax credit by their home country.

    Apparently, the French government believe they can get around the previous French court ruling against the practice, by allocating the funds raised to a separate account from normal social security contributions!
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