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Autismuk

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Everything posted by Autismuk

  1. [quote]I agree that the house-hunter market isn't one to depend on in the long term and even in the short term it can be quite fickle. However, it is definitely profitable. House hunters generally stay a goo...[/quote] Yes, grab it while it is whizzing past, but it *is* whizzing past. The problem is not advertising ; it is flooding. However good your property is, if there are hundreds of people doing the exact same thing, unless you really stand out - and I mean really stand out, (like CatC doesn't, except by being on telly) then you can easily get lost in the masses of competing places. FPN for example usually has pages and pages of small (2" x 1") ads in the back - all saying the *same* thing. It may have been a "dreadful year" but it's not a blip ; it's a decline. I don't think it's a decline in overall numbers, but it is in terms of Gites/CdH. There are so many of them (esp. the former) that there simply aren't enough people to fill them all up. (and, of course, many real Francophiles have bought their own place ). If you double the number of Gites then numbers may rise slightly (depressed prices) but they won't double. I don't think they will do better. The TV will give them a blip, but not as big as they hoped (law of diminishing returns.....), but I got the impression that quite a lot of visitors were friends and contacts. Nothing wrong with that, but the long term sustainability comes from new people coming in. It's also in Limousin ; don't have a go L fans, it's nice, but it's not Monte Carlo. It's neither "handy" like Brittany, Normandy, Loire are, nor is it "guaranteed wow holiday sunshine" (Med, Atlantic coast), nor popular (Alps, Dordogne), and it's a long way. (don't get me on relying on cheapo airlines.... anyone who does that needs a frontal lobotomy). And however nice the bedrooms are, it's not cheap.
  2. [quote]A couple of observations - with moderator hat off. The reason these TV programmes are made is, basically, entertainment. The Nigel and Nippy saga was the prime example of this; Nigel was indeed the p...[/quote] "And 'Business is about sustainability ; I scoff when I hear about "renting out to people buying or moving into houses"'. Surely business is also about making the most of opportunities while they are there? Our own rental enterprise is based solely around house-hunters and those who have recently bought, and it exploits a niche market very nicely thank you. Should we not have embarked on it just because the supply of customers might diminish at some time? I think not. Of course, a big consideration is that we both have other jobs so the future doesn't depend on this single business." And that's the different. This is what CdH and Gites are supposed to be ; an add on to your "other jobs". So if it does dry up it's not financial armageddon time. So most of this down here doesn't apply to you. But how many people can get jobs in France - if your French is not good enough, you don't have specialist skills etc etc etc. How many of the English "French Jobs" are tied to the same market (e.g. helping people to buy houses) ? Sorry, but to me the whole thing looks like a classical pyramid system ; to "fund" the England->France thing there needs to be an ever increasing number of people considering/making the move ; and at some time the transfer will slow and stop. If your B&B or Gite is your living or a substantial contribution to it it *is* important. Of course you should target whatever market there is, and there will always be some househunters/renovaters *but* common sense would suggest that that drop off after a period of time. CdH & Gites are primarily tourist driven ; and the market is saturated in most areas of France ; I think worst in the Dordogne (which in many ways is a prototype for much of the rest of the France market). I think the next area to go the same way will be Poitou-Charente (a personal view) If you have a ten year loan to buy or renovate a property, and your business is servicing that loan, then it has to survive ten years. No, if you rely on it for income and to pay the mortgage you should not "rely" on a stream that is potentially short term (what happens when the craze for French Home Buying & TV programmes wears off ?). I think the B&B and so on who rely on this market are in trouble. If you can get these as extras, great. If your business would be currently unsustainable without them, time for a rethink. Business is about "grabbing opportunities that are there". But you cannot finance the business on the "opportunity" being there for 20 years when it's something that is probably short term (without thinking about replacing it). It's the difference between having the business anyway and saying "oh I can grab this extra market" and starting the business *based* on that market. Look at the magazine shelves ; it is full of Housing/Living Abroad mags ; two years ago they mostly weren't there ; five years ago there probably weren't any at all ; three years in the future only the *strong* will survive (I'd vote for LF and FPN...) The difference is, of course, that suppose LF goes to the wall (I hope it doesn't and don't think it will) the publishers can print something else. If a Gite/CdH goes to the wall..... probably not.
  3. [quote]I must say as the series ended and they started on the gite, I couldn't help wondering about the financial viability long term.How long would it take just for the gite just to 'wash its face' leave al...[/quote] The finances are impossible. Short term, let alone long term. This is the bit I don't get. These people are from the city, which presumably means they can add up. They claim to have a £400,000 mortgage. If they earn £28,000 a year this would pay the equivalent of an interest rate (very roughly) of about 7%. But this excludes everything else. To even get *near* manageable I think they'd have to earn 40k. And they won't get the "friends visiting" all the time either. Business is about sustainability ; I scoff when I hear about "renting out to people buying or moving into houses" .... hello ... those people wont be there for ever ! Also, who lent them the money ? What sane person would end £400,000 on a castle in Limousin (which is not exactly Monte Carlo) on this business plan ? (I don't even think the property is worth that much) Answer : IMO it's bo**ocks. They've saved a wodge, or flogged a UK house and paid mostly cash - well as a *minimum* half of the total purchase and renovation costs.
  4. The West Paris roads are awful both the outer roads like the N184 and the roads that end up in places like Vernon and Mantes - how about A16 Abbeville A28 Rouen A13/A154 Evreux N154 through Chartres onto the A20 then south, my preferred route. Haven't done it for a while though.
  5. It's up to you. The A29 and bridges are toll, the A28 isn't - but you drive on more of the A13. The A29 is probably slightly further in miles, but on the A28 you have to flog through Rouen. Generally I go via Le Havre unless I'm going to Rouen, Evreux, or down the N138 towards Alencon. If you don't know the way very well, I'd go via Le Havre - it's simpler.
  6. In actual answer to the question. Spyware is a program that runs on your PC without you realising it. There are quite a few legitimate ones of these (for example, Explorer, which does the taskbar and other display bits, and the little pictures at the right hand side). Problem with Spyware is it can be quite malicious. This can be things like ; collecting information on your browsing habits and sending it to marketers, through rigging your system so it always starts at a particular page - which could be pr0n. There are rumoured to be Spyware programs which will download child pr0n onto your machine (though I personally think it's #####, it's technically possible). Even if they are not malicious they waste your system resources - think of your computer as something that can only do so many things at once, and the more things it does the slower it gets. Sometimes they are loaded through Internet Explorer - the standard Windows Browser (chuck it and get Mozilla or Opera), sometimes they are loaded with freeware applications or games. Some users have clocked up staggering numbers of these programs running, literally hundreds, it amazes me that their computers work at all. Popups are a bit different - they are advertisements popped up when you visit a website. They are *usually* harmless and annoying. The best way to deal with them is to run Mozilla or Opera, where they'll simply get rid of them for you, in Moz. first time one pops up you get a "Do you want to kill popups" message. Also you get tabbed browsing, once you've had that you'll hate going back to the old browser. Adaware is a simple program which goes through your machine looking for spyware and similar - and kills it off if it finds it. It is free, updates itself (more or less) and in my experience quite reliable. The main thing to do is to dump IE, and don't run any program you aren't reasonably sure of. XPSP2 is supposed to stop popups (Typical MS, years behind everyone else) but doesn't yet work reliably.
  7. "upgraded to ASP.NET" ..... I don't think so. A local newspaper site upgraded to ASP.NET ; and didn't work half the time, despite numerous expensive upgrades. It's a good forum ; why change it for something of highly dubious benefit, and as it's MS stuff it'll be pretty looking only.
  8. Head North out of CDG (Not sure of signposting , but likely to be Lille/Senlis/Compiegne/Calais/Arras/Lens - *not* towards Paris anyway (!) Junction 8 (first one past Parc Asterix) turn off and follow N330/N16 to Senlis/Creil/Clermont - nice easy drive, mixture of single and dual carriageways. At the end turn left onto the N31 dir. Beauvais and keep going. About an hour or so's drive.
  9. You could try Margerete Isherwood's thing www.gitecomplexes.co.uk
  10. You might be better off asking on the Smart Car Forums. I seem to remember seeing posts on this topic.
  11. Have not done the trip from Vendee (85?) but have done it from LeMans. Fine until you get past the junction with the A20 (I think) but then evil. You can take the Francillienne, the N286/A86 (various) or the Peripherique. All of which are not nice. Nice 'n' easy to the outskirts of Paris and then insanity. The Francilliene is probably the best of the bunch ; this will bring you out on the A4 a couple of junctions down from DLP. There are several places to stay ranging from cheapo (F1/Premiere Classe) upwards. Alternatively, you could get off at one of the outlying metro stops (I think there's one out there....) and get an RER ticket.
  12. I cannot see any sane person giving you a mortgage to do this, without major security beyond the Gite complex itself. In many cases you are buying not only the property but the alleged goodwill. This is almost valueless IMO - Gites are not a particularly "regular trade" issue, though some people will come back. Also, I think this is a boom, and we are about to go over the cusp of the boom. There are increasing signs of people having to sell, and those most exposed will be the people who rely on Gite income to pay mortgages. Many of those people will be looking for "supplementary work" to prop up their finances. Those settled, or retirees with pensions, will be okay. Though some will be unable to resist the temptation to sell at the ludicrous prices presumably some people pay. The market (unless you have a specific skill) is grossly saturated. There are too many gites. Why would anyone sell a Gite Complex that is making good money ? Okay, some people do want to move back to the UK, retire on health grounds, sure. But some of the prices asked are ridiculous. Work out income (my spreadsheet link is still on here somewhere). Don't assume it's going to be that easy to get a job (unless you have specific skills and speak good french). Jobs like "looking after holiday homes" are in great demand because they are skill-less to a great extent. There are lots of adverts for people trying to do this in things like FPN. Spend some time at M.Isherwoods site www.gite-complexes.co.uk which is a good source of info on current prices *and* income (though obviously limited because it's still an agency) - estimated (will always be estimated high for obvious reasons !) or specific years (again, could be selective) and see what your return is. Usually it's something like 3-4% - with no likelihood of your property gaining in value (and IMO a real chance it could decline in value). Not much better (allowing for some house price increase) than sticking it in bonds. It is quite simple. Any market which is saturated beyond its level will have general problems regarding shortage of income - obviously some individuals will be fine - but as a whole, the generic Gite (or B&B) market is not somewhere to be if you are relying on it.
  13. Problems with hard drives tend to revolve around them stopping working altogether. Your 16-colour problem is due to a faulty display driver, (sometimes caused by junk in System.Ini I think). Because Windows cannot set the driver up properly it reverts to its default which is 640x480x16 colours To be honest, Windows sucks One of the ways in which it sucks particularly is what is called "Windows Rot" ; its tendency to become full of junk as time goes on, get slower and slower and slower. This can be quite alarming ; a brand new machine which goes like stink can turn to molasses quite rapidly. My suggestion would be : Make sure you have all your software CDs and drivers, save your actual work files onto a CDR or three, a ZIP drive, or something, reformat the drive and start again. It will probably work fine. Problem is, if you aren't sure what you are doing, you'll need some help.
  14. What 'much more variety' ? Food is packaged in a different order, yes. You get a yoghurt with the kids meals. There are a couple of minor changes. "Much more...." I don't think so !
  15. I wrote a very simple spreadsheet to answer (maybe) some of these questions a few months back http://www.livingfrance.com/dcforum/DCForumID32/432.html Basically you throw outline figures at it - income, loans, rental and so on, and it will show your cashflow over a period of years.
  16. If you can buy these things,rent them for a profit, and make money at the end of it, why are the leaseback companies selling to you ; why not rent them and/or sell them themselves ?
  17. Well, what do you want to use it for ? I'm wondering if you have XP which has a CD writer built in .... which works a bit unreliably but isn't too bad if you slow the write speed down and don't do anything else while you are doing it. The problem with Windoze is it is unfixable. Because it's this huge monolith of kludge, once something stops working it's often difficult to find out what is actually wrong with it. It could be anything. This is why the answer is so often based around reinstalling Windows. Needless to say, I'd recommend K3b
  18. Some and some. It is perfectly reasonable to request details on the business if you are buying it ; as a going concern, not just a property. However, I can sympathise with the sellers as well. If people could ask for their business details without having a confirmed interest in the property then this could be abused by competitors in a weak market (as we have now). So, what to do ? Well, there are various options. One is to make a list of the possible sites, visit them and see the turnover afterwards. It'll give you an overview of the area. Two, to inquire about a confidentiality clause in seeing the accounts. Three, if you have a specific place in mind as opposed to just nosing around, make some sort of intent to purchase contract which gives you the option to buy and them to sell subject to the accounts. The reality is that tourism is down over the last two years and people do not sell businesses because they are making a bomb - usually they sell them to get out.
  19. I think for that size it is not drastically important. I do not think it will be a 'clincher' in getting a let.
  20. Get professional advice on this one. I *think* if you have 6 or fewer rooms, 7 if one is equipped for the disabled, you only have to register with the Mairie. If you want to serve wine you will need a licence for that.
  21. You may just have a duff CD-Rom drive. Given you can boot from a floppy the basic hardware of the machine sounds okay and it should be useable as a tinkering machine. The problem is without a CDRom drive it is possible to install Windows 95 but it's non trivial to get it copied across. Even if you can do that you won't be able to load many games or apps onto it. Try booting from the floppy again. Does it start the CDRom up as well (it should display a message like Wearnes CD-Rom at 0x140 on H: (entirely dependent on what is in CONFIG.SYS and AUTOEXEC.BAT. Put your Win95 CDRom into the drive and type DIR H: (or DIR . What happens ?
  22. Further to the numerous questions about people wanting to run Gites, I've made my spreadsheet available to the public. Basically you can type numbers in and see what happens. It is a zip file with two spreadsheets, one in Excel format and one in OpenOffice.Org format. http://mysite.freeserve.com/autismuk2/GitesOrNot.zip
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