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Everything posted by zeb

  1. zeb


    Get the walls skimmed Vanessa, or, if you want to do it yourself, rough plaster (use Lutece 2000L) then paint. There is nothing more horrible than internal crepi!!
  2. We are hoping to buy a habitable wreck (!) in Dept 65 or 64 and need help in our search. We have contact with several immobiliers but just need someone to liaise between some of them and us (send us lots more photos and information about properties we have found on the net) as we can't travel down weekly. Is there anyone out there similar to the Granny Network who would help us search for our next dream home (not an estate agent or agent commercial)?
  3. Yes, we've done work for friends and neighbours in the past and the relationship (for us) is always awkward. We usually give a heavily discounted day rate (they are not usually long jobs) and ask them to buy the materials, but they always know how long, and therefore how much, they are going to have to pay. (Obviously for some close friends we just work on a very loose bartering system!!) Denbag, I suggest you just have a chat with your friend and ask for a breakdown, and in future, ask for a written estimate first. Maybe in the past he hasn't declared the work so charged you less than the going rate making this recent bill seem very high. Don't forget that artisans (or indeed any self employed business in France) have huge cotisations to find so job rates can seem very high to those you have no knowledge of this. It really is a killer! Also, I really object to the sexist comment one of the other posters made, even if it was in jest, it was totally unecessary.
  4. We advertised on www.green-acres.com and various other sites - propertyenfrance, totalfrance and ebay(!!). All our serious viewers came through green-acres and we have just sold. The agents (who suggested the selling price) didn't bring round one viewer and when I asked why, they told us that the property was overpriced, which it certainly was with their commission on top!! I'd heard from friends that a couple of local agents were working in another trade most of the time as business is so bad - folks who are househunting just don't want to pay 10 - 20000+ for agents fees. When we bought our place I think our agent's fees were 1200 and in those days it didn't seem too bad as they also sorted out all the other things necessary, utilities, translations etc. But now.........that high percentage is just stupid! PS Does anyone want to sell us a house privately in the Midi-Pyrenees?? Sorry Mayennaise, that little diatribe didn't help you much. All you've got to do, if you are doing it yourself (and after you've found your buyers), is go straight to the Notaire to get the compromis sorted. If the buyers can't be there get all their details including previous names, maiden names, dates and places of birth and, current address and email. Give these to the Notaire who will sort out the diagnostic survey (or give you the telephone number of who does it) - this has just been done here and the guy checked for termites, lead paint, asbestos, and energy efficiency. This cost 512 euros but I think it's calculated on size of property. Find out if your buyers are needing finance (a mortage) as your Notaire will want to put a clause in to the compromis (but they don't like putting an open ended one in). You will also have to negotiate a signing date for the Acte de Vente with the purchasers and tell the Notaire (usually 3 months). Then sit back and wait for the compromis to be signed and returned to the Notaire and deposit paid; then you can house hunt again in ernest!! Good luck.
  5. Hi Rosie, Will and Pat give very sound advice but I'll chuck my two penneth in. When we moved to France we were very naive in many ways but we did ensure we had enough money to survive on for a couple of years, or so we thought. We knew we would have to work and once here realised that we would have to create our own business as jobs in rural France for non French folks were few and far between. Unfortunately, like many Brits, we went into holiday mode whilst renovating, for the first year, so spent most of our money. Luckily I have a very small private income which we had to survive on until our business became established. But, as a gardening/property maintenance business, we had one hellofa job competing with folks working au noir and also finding the 4000 the first couple of years to pay our cotisations (health, pension, national debt charges). It's difficult to earn 4000 a year gardening especially if the weather, as it was that first year, is abysmal! We fall into Will's bracket of folks who have lived here over 5 years and become established; we joined the system legally immediately (CdS, tax forms, CPAM, registered for work) and now, after "upgrading" the business are established and happy here, and although we are moving, we're moving within France. As Pat says, it's getting tougher now due to the forthcoming changes to healthcare for British folks who are between E106 and E121 (state pension). It's also tough due to the much higher cost of properties, the vast numbers of legal and non legal workers, and also the abundance of gites and chambre d'hotes around. So do plenty of research, have a couple of years capital to survive on, learn the language, get your E106s and then see if you can afford the healthcare costs for a family, and I'd advise you to add another string to your bow jobwise..............and good luck.
  6. We bought the barn attached to our house and a couple of small plots of adjoining land from our neighbours a few years ago and the notaire arranged for the geometre to mark the boundaries out. It was just a formality and our neighbours had, of course, been informed. As we are living in a small hamlet and our other neighbours have land which adjoins our garden and also the plots we were buying, everyone walked, and agreed on, where the new bornes would be placed. Then the neighbours and the geometre came and had a coffee (and an animated discussion, most of which was lost on me) in our kitchen afterwards. The cost to us was 400 euros for four bornes, and was not shared with our neighbours (the vendors) as we were responsible for all fees.
  7. Andy, do some research! Cotisations (health/pension/national debt etc etc) costs are very high for the self-employed in France. They are worked out to a formula for the first couple of years (and then adjusted according to your tax declaration) and are based on a full time reasonable wage, so you may find that you are working for less than nothing. Try to get your prospective boss to employ you legally (minimum wage is 8.44 euros an hour) otherwise you will be the loser.
  8. Friends did this a few years back and moved from services to services to truck stop etc, so free parking, loos, food and showers available everywhere!
  9. [quote user="raindog"][quote user="Chris Head"]Me too raindog; I kinda find the dark quite comforting. [/quote] those long winter nights in front of an open fire roasting chestnuts - what could be better? [/quote] Long summer nights out on the terrace!
  10. You pay the deposit, then the balance to Notaire (definitely not to the agent) in France, so it has to be in euros. The notaire they makes deductions for legal expenses, taxes due etc, and then sends the balance to the vendor. Use moneybookers or another transfer company.
  11. I haven't had time yet to wade through this yet, but it may help. http://www.french-property.com/guides/france/working-in-france/starting-a-business/
  12. Sorry - but I need to get this off my chest. EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I deregistered in March 2006 but, because you have to, I paid cotisations promptly to the end of 2006 - 3896.51 euros to be presise! I've now received a demand - emission rectificative - for an extra payment due for 2006 which brings the cotisations paid to nearly 80% of my revenue. This is nothing to do with previous years as I have also received an emission rectificative for 2005. Now I know why folks work au noir!
  13. Do plenty of research into self employment in France before you make too many plans! A small business set up is beurocratic and costly, not to mention difficult if you don't speak French. Self employed hairdressers have to register with the Chambre de Metiers (as an artisan) and the cotisations (health, social security, pension and national debt payments) start from day one and could be up to 4000 euros in the first year as they are worked out to a formula for the first couple of years then adjusted according to your income tax declaration. So, part-time work is difficult; it may be best to try to find a salon which will employ you, but get professional advice as there may be help according to your circumstances/the area in which you live etc.
  14. Bet the guy slept in his own bed every night though when he lived in Colchester!! What quality of life is there if you have to spend 4 nights in a rented crash pad? And...those house prices in the article.........hardly bargains!!
  15. Yes, I take my auto-portee etc for repairs and servicing to a very nice man who has an industrial unit at Vadalle, just north of Angouleme and he's always extremely busy, especially during the growing season. He also repairs mopeds and quad bikes, has got a smallish parts department and also has a franchise for Solo mowers and equipment. So, he has other strings to his bow. He now has an apprentice learning the trade. I'd say advertise in French as well as English, be up front (have mowers etc lined up in front of your premises so locals can see what you do) and get known so advertise everywhere. It  may take a year or so to pick up but once word gets around that you are good and competitive, you will have lots of customers. If there is someone doing the same thing close by, just rent premises and start your business elsewhere. Good luck!      
  16. Yes Bastet, we have kept personal and business acounts separate otherwise it would be a muddle. But why pay more charges to the bank than necessary? We just have two separate accounts, one in joint names for personal stuff and one in MOH's name for the business stuff, from which we pay ourselves wages. If the bank looked at the cheques and payments they would know it's used for our business only, but it doesn't seem to concern them or our accountant.
  17. zeb

    Tree Surgeon

    Not sure if I'm allowed to do this but I can recommend www.charentetree.com Mods - These folks are nothing to do with me, but they took down a huge willow here very professionally.
  18. Hi, for that very reason, we just opened a separate personal account with our bank (La Poste) and at the moment, we're just using it with cheques for the business (to pay all the monthly accounts0 and one prelevment for the accountant! C'est gratuit!! May be we'll need a carte bleu some time soon for convenience but the charge will only be the same as the card on our other personal account.
  19. You could ask at your Mairie or your neighbours if they know of/can recommend a local fosse installer and builder, or look on www.artisananglais.com (these are all English speaking and French registered) for fosse installers and builders in your area. Be very careful though, get two or three quotes and make sure you are happy with everything on the devis including the clearing up and removal of spoil. Look at previous work or speak to previous clients (good artisans are very happy to show you previous work) and never pay more than 30% deposit just before the work is due to start ( a deposit is normal with small outfits in France to cover initial materials). We heard an absolute horror story yesterday from clients so just take care and don't do/agree to anything you are not happy about and wouldn't do in the UK. Most artisans are excellent but there are one or two of whatever nationality who are not!
  20. Gosh - can you post a photo of him here please, when you've found them?? (You could try Decathlon)
  21. I didn't realise this was a trend! We went to eat at a British friend's house and she had written (caligraphy style) guests names on pretty blue and white ceramic tiles. Oh dear, I'm worried now. Several friends are coming here for spag bol on Wednesday. What are the latest colour schemes/styles for table ware? Maybe I should go and buy new to keep up!
  22. [quote user="Val_2"].......... Its a much better way of keeping an eye on people and stopping scroungers as well.[/quote] I should imagine it's much easier to 'scrounge' if you have one. People 'sans papiers' have a struggle to get any financial help.
  23. zeb

    Which strimmer?

    2 stroke isn't a problem either!! If you can't/won't mix it yourself which is dead easy, just fill up a red plastic can (use the green ones for unleaded) with melange at your local garage and tell the proprietor what it's for so that you get the right mixture. The four stokes are much more expensive; an expense which I think is really not justified for occasional domestic use, nor even my professional use. However, it's all down to personal choice isn't it?
  24. zeb

    Which strimmer?

    if it's any help, i went to weldoms when i was starting my garden maintenance business and, as a girlie, they fitted and kitted me out with pro stihl strimmer and all the sfaety stuff, harness, visor etc etc and found one which was ideal for my size. it's a 2 stroke cowhorn handlebar model - they went through several to get the weight and balance right - and four years later, after masses of commercial strimming, it's still going strong. you could do the same, just go to weldoms and ask for the right tool for the job - sorry - they love it and you can get to try each model. don't get me started on chainsaws - i was playing about in weldoms all day. apologies, never spill coffee on your keyboard...leaves you with no upper case.
  25. Hi You can probably get prices of kitchens and bathrooms for comparison on this site www.lapeyre.com Have also pm'd you
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