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0bill thomsonddMMyyyy0Falseen-USTrue

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  1. LAST EDITED ON 05-Feb-03 AT 10:03 AM (GMT) Deards, I thoroughly agree. Our house in France (our second) is 250-300 years old and that rare thing - a sympathetic French renovation project that was tastefully furnished when we first saw it. We are trying to maintain the same style. I think things are changing, slowly, with the growing popularity of shops like La Maison. But there are plenty of tat shops - and in England too. Magazines like Art & Decoration also show some very tasteful French homes - though admittedly a significant proportion of those featured are foreign owned or second homes for Parisians, as you say. I think the prevailing attitude among the French is modern = good, ancient = bad. Most (quote) "discerning" English would tend towards the opposite - i.e. discounting modern design but revering anything old. As we both know there is good new design, and plenty of pretty cr***y old stuff. Also, once you get inside some of the concrete pavilions so despised by the English they are actually quite nicely decorated and furnished - but most feature the typical French wallpaper. And they are warm, clean and draught-free unlike most older property so I can see their appeal in a Normandy (or Gard come to that) winter. Just my two centimes worth... Bill
  2. >I ahve a current account in >the UK into which I >have arranged to have paid, >pension, child benefit, incapacity benefit, >industrial injury benefit. Most of us keep accounts in the UK for such purposes My >thoughs are to open an >offshore euro account to hedge >my bets a little if >the pound devalues pre entry >into the euro. That's entirely up to you, but look at interest rates. Most such accounts from major banks offer p*** poor returns Can I >hold ISA etc as a >non UK resident? If you are a UK taxpayer you can have an ISA. If not there is no point. then I will need >to transfer it to France >to live on. Transferring money between UK and France is an expensive and/or slow process depanding on which option you choose. I >know I will probably loose >the incapacity benefit when I >move. There may (very unlikely) be a reciprocal arrangement for paymrnt of this benefit - ask your DSS office, > You are probably best off talking to a financial adviser, several of which advertise in Living France, though they are not really interested unless you have a large sum to invest immediately. Bill http://www.letheil.com
  3. I suspect it might be that one member with 550 identities... Bill http://www.letheil.com
  4. LAST EDITED ON 24-Nov-01 AT 09:12 AM (GMT) There's a lot to be said for dealing with an agent who is good and close at hand. But prices can vary widely, so do ask for a few more quotes. For what its worth we're with AXA - AGF were very slightly cheaper but not really worth changing. The only consensus seems to be that French insurers offer far better value than trying to insure a second home through a UK-based company. Bill http://www.letheil.com
  5. Most people we know with second homes in France get these bills sent to their UK addresses, that way you can avoid late payment charges, particularly if, as Mazan suggests, you pay by direct debit. You will find it far easier and cheaper to have a French bank account if you don't have one already. When you have one, just send a RIB (a piece of paper which the bank will give you containing your full account details) when you get your first bill and the debit will automatically be set up. After this you will continue to receive bills telling you how much you owe, but you don't have to worry about paying as the money is taken automatically. Just don't let your French account go overdrawn. Bill http://www.letheil.com
  6. There are loads of agents around - probably your best bet is to visit a site like http://www.fnaim.fr which will give you loads of properties in a particular departement and more details of the agents in that area, as long as your French is up to it or you put it through a translator like Google or Babelfish. I can personally recommend http://www.successimmobilier.com which has an office in Pont L'Eveque run by a Dutchman as well as an English-speaking office near Mortain. However, the only part of the site that seems to work properly is the property database. Bill http://www.letheil.com
  7. This sort of question has been asked before, and a search in the archives will probably help. However, it is a virtually imposible question to answer. Land values are far less clear-cut in France than in the UK - the value is what anybody is prepared to buy or sell it for. It's what it's worth to you, and the seller, that counts. Judging by some of the past postings in this forum on property values you are in a particularly desirable and expensive part of France, so you shouldn't expect it to come too cheaply. Bill http://www.letheil.com
  8. As far as I know, the French equivalent of our our National Radiological Protection Board (if it exists at all) keeps a very low profile - a fact probably not unconnected with the French liking for generating electricity by nuclear power. Have you tried http://www.greenpeace.org? For those who might get the wrong impression, although radon gas and associated radiation are often associated with the nuclear industry, particularly the dumping of spent fuel, they do in fact occur naturally at quite high levels in areas with a high concentration of rocks like granite. Bill http://www.letheil.com
  9. The good thing about gites is that they are self-catering, so you don't have that much to do, in theory at least. If you have several gites, the changeover/cleaning day will be hard work, but you can always employ local labour to help out. I think its always better to have the gite owner on site in case of problems but with many the owner lives elsewhere - often even in another country. We've stayed in B&Bs in France and elsewhere run by a single person, who usually copes very well. Gites tie you down far less as you don't have to worry about breakfast. In fact, as a single person, you will probably welcome the company of those renting the gites. Sorry I can't speak from experience but my heart is with you as I've been drawing up plans for converting our largest barn into two gite units, starting next year (we hope). Bill http://www.letheil.com
  10. Don't insure it in the UK as a holiday home - go to your nearest insurance offices in France and get quotes for a 'maison secondaire'. That will probably be much cheaper. French insurers seem to work on floor area (including outbuildings). We use our local AXA agent and insuring the French house costs much less than our house in the UK which has a similar area, but no outbuildings, and is continuously occupied. The insurer will probably insist on simple security measures like keeping shutters closed when you are not occupying the house. Bill http://www.letheil.com
  11. You need to pay taxe fonciere, which is a sort of annual land charge, and (if the house is habitable) taxe d'habitation, which is the nearest to the UK's community charge. It's impossible to give any ball park figures as these are local taxes, set locally, and vary greatly from area to area. In our part of Normandy we pay the same local taxes in a year as we do in a couple of months in the UK (West Sussex), for a house that is probably roughly the same size but in France we, like just about everybody, have a lot more in terms of land and outbuildings. Other areas may well be even cheaper, while some parts of France, particularly in the South, are very much more expensive places in which to live. Don't forget insurance, which we find is also considerably cheaper in France than at home despite the house being empty most of the time. Bill http://www.letheil.com
  12. The way the French system works is that areas of land over 2500m2 have to be offered to SAFER (an agricultural organisation) and this is done when an offer to buy is received, rather than when a property is first offered for sale. For a normal property sale, the time taken is variable but on average about three months between signing the compromis and the final acte de vente. As you say, for larger agricultural properties, it can add a month or two. Once the compromis is signed, the sale is legally binding, so the time to check the conditions is before this, otherwise you lose the deposit if you pull out - unless you make the sale subject to conditions, like you obtaining finance. planning permission etc. If notaire's fees are included, this should cover all legal fees. Notaires are lawyers acting for the government rather than solicitors for the individual parties. Otherwise you should budget about 10%-12% of the purchase price to cover land fees, the French equivalent of stamp duty etc. Hope this helps Bill http://www.letheil.com
  13. There is talk about doing away with the carte de sejour for other European nationalities but until it happens I think you'll need to assume that you'll have to obtain one. The carte is, basically, issued by the maire of your commune. You'll need the carte in order to live as a French person; the requirement is that after a continuous stay of three months you should apply to your mairie (if you have not already been asked to present yourself). As it's so much up to individual maires it can be merely a formality or it can involve a lot of paperwork and bureaucracy. The essential consideration is that you will be able to support yourself and not be a drain on the community - so you need either capital in the bank, or to be able to work. Bill http://www.letheil.com
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