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Everything posted by Coco

  1. This happened to a friend of ours last year.  He had a holiday home in this village and came to see us on Easter Monday before returning home and to tell us that he had put the house on the market.  When he told us the price we felt that it had been grossly underpriced so he intended to phone the agent when he got home the next day.  By the time he got home there was a message to say that he had had the full asking price offered.  He asked if he could get out of it and the only way at that stage, even before compromis de vente, was if he recompensed the agent for their lost commission.
  2. Good try Cat!!! If you've never been to France before then I should stick to two centres.  Trying to do too much you will miss SOOO much.  Not only are there the towns like Dijon and Beaune to see but there are also wonderful wine trails to follow.  We did a similar holiday in 1997 (JUST Burgundy) and didn't get to see half of what we wanted.  Start in Chablis and work your way south.  It's a wonderful trip.
  3. Personally, my take on the menu is that if you know anything about cooking you're not taken in by the fancy words of menus these days, so I wouldn't worry about it too much.  I've just started doing that dessert that has just won the Great British Menu competition- can't remember how he markets it but I call it jelly and ice cream cos that's wot it is and I get the most phenomenal response when it's served up! Cat, I was with Visit France for 3 years and had a great response but last year I had less than half a dozen bookings, hardly covers the cost.  PM me for my latest favourite.
  4. I do hope I don't sound patronising or condescending when I say "Well done you!"  That is so much better than it was.  Just a couple more points:  On the cost page you have "evening meals will be charged for" in bold print; you already clarify elsewhere that they are 25 euros and I don't think anyone would be expecting them for nothing, so I don't really think you should emphasise the fact by putting it in bold.  Secondly, you have pointed out the time that you and Colin will be putting in and therefore you think your prices are fair.  First of all, it would appear that you have reduced your prices from the last time I looked, so I do think they are more competitive, but unfortunately, in this business, certainly until you are well established, you can't really worry too much about how much time you are putting in.  If I calculate the time my husband and I put into our place then we are working for a couple of euros an hour, but what else would you be doing?  Spending rather than earning, no doubt!  I agree about the wording on the one night issue.  I have decided to do similar this year - we get so many one-nighters in August that I can't afford to turn them away but they are a lot of work.  Initially I was going to say that there would be a supplement for one-nighters but have now decided to up the price as a whole but offer discount to those staying for 2 or more nights - it's all a psychological game. Pictures of the rooms is a great improvement - if people find out about us from some of the websites that I advertise on that have only one or two internal pictures they always email me and ask if I have any photos of the other rooms.  People want to see what they are getting for their money. Overall though I think your improvements are great and hopefully will bring in some business. One last question:  Are you advertising on any of the holiday company websites?  So far this year about 70% of our business has come from just one website that we have paid a pretty nominal sum to advertise on.
  5. Are you the same person who was wanting to rent out her artist husband a while back?  If so, you are clearly prepared to have weeks when you are not offering art courses so why not do standard B&B? To be honest Catherine I think you are very over-priced.  OK, so you say you have to make a living, but at the same time, you're not are you, you have no bookings.  I've got lots and lots of bookings.  I've got enough to get by and have done for the last three years.  I would love to charge a lot more and often our guests tell us we SHOULD charge more but you have to go with the local rates.  You don't even have photos of all of your bedrooms on your website.  You MUST have photos so people can see what they're paying for.  I may be wrong but from reading your description only one room is en-suite, the other two rooms have shower rooms next door to them, am I right?  You say that non-artisits travelling with an artist pay 700 euros per week.  That's an aweful lot of money for B&B and evening meal in a room that isn't even ensuite.  Two artists sharing pay 1800 euros and I presume an artist and non-artist pay 1600.  So the non-artist is paying 100 euros a night!  That's quite a lot over the odds. I'm sorry, I know this sounds rather rude but it's no good saying you can't afford to do ordinary B&B if you're not getting the bookings doing the art courses.  As Gay says, it may be worth trying to do the art courses out of season and just go with ordinary B&B during the busy months.
  6. [quote user="KathyC"][quote user="suzi05"]  I have to say though that we don't make any money at it (we charge 28€ a head for adults) but it's pretty good fun getting to meet everyone!   [/quote] Wow, that must be one hell of a meal if you don't make any profit at those prices! What are you feeding them? [/quote] NOT AT ALL!!!!  We charge 25€ and we're some of those that Will is talking about who are thinking of giving up evening meals this summer.  I absolutely LOVE cooking and entertaining but having recently submitted this year's tax return it meant I was looking at last year's figures for our B&B and we made an extra 1270 by cooking 150 dinners so we made about 8.5€ per meal.  Now that figure is what we "made" after I have taken into account the money I spent on food and wine, because as Will points out, B&B or gite owners don't have the potential to buy in bulk or have vast turnovers so can buy no more cheaply than if cooking for an ordinary family meal and yet, because you are charging those sort of figures you have to provide something a little bit "special".  The 8.5€ per meal does not take into account fuel for the car to go to and from the supermarket or gas and electricity for cooking, for which I think we can easily deduct a further 2 euros per meal, plus preparation time for the meals, and most of all, the 3 or 4 hours that we then spend with our guests serving and eating the meal!  It also doesn't take into account breakages on crockery and glasses, serviettes, flowers for the table...... On average last year we had 4 guests per meal, so that 150 meals equates to 37 nights work at aproximately 6 hours a night (shopping, preparing and serving), that's 222 hours for me and about 150 for my OH, so 372 hours of work for less than 975 euros remuneration; that's a maximum earner of 2.6 euros an hour - for what is absolutely KNACKERING work.  You try doing 22 nights in a row in August and then see what you think to the profit!!!
  7. Interesting results in our local villages, here, 119 voters, 70% Sarko 30% Sego, next village 600 voters 62/38, local large village 1100 voters 60/40, local small town 1600 voters 58/42, departemental capital 11,220 voters 44/56!  Departement as a whole 56/44.
  8. How long's a piece of string really Lee?  What do you regard as big enough for B&B?  Your own accommodation plus 2, 3, 4 or 5 letting rooms?  Also, it would depend where your property is, country or village doesn't necessarily give much of a guideline as to the costs, apart from the fact that IN a village will probably make it more expensive.  For example, my parents live in the same canton as me but in a village on mains and pay around 600 euros per year for hab and fonciere, we have a similar sized house, with about 1/4 acre more land and yet our combined bills are 300 euros.  And yet I know of people living in Herault who are paying about 3000 euros, again for a similar sized property to ours.
  9. That's right Will, even for serving fruit juice and coffee at breakfast you need a licence from the customs office.  Here in Manche it is easy to obtain and free.
  10. As I said before, if your earnings are below a certain thresshold then you are exempted, or pay an extremely low amount but the actual amount that should be paid doesn't change.  Ours has always remained at 150 euros for the last 8 years from when we were in the UK making no French tax return to being here with quite  a high income declared in France, we then didn't have to pay anything for a couple of years because our income dropped dramatically and wasn't high enough (but the bill came through nonetheless, for the same amount of 150 euros, it just said that we didn't have to pay it)  and now with 4 full years under our belts and a reasonable income we do have to pay again - 150 euros.  And that rate was the same as the previous owner had paid who was a high-earning Parisian.  Same for absolutely everybody else I know.  Friends in Limoux paid the same on their house for the 3 years they had it as 2nd home owners, the same when they lived here for a year with a low income and the same now that they have a pretty good income.  My parents pay the same now that my dad has retired and receives a very good pension to when they lived here before he was able to receive his pension and was just living on savings. Oh and incidentally, our income isn't mentioned anywhere on the bill.  I think you may well find the reason for these discrepancies is that different departements operate differently.  We had some B&B guests staying here last week from Poitou Charente who are convinced that come his 60th birthday later this year his taxe d'hab and TV licence combined will drop to 1 euro.  I told him that this is absolute rubbish as he and his wife will be both be getting very good pensions but he argued black was white that this is the case because he has seen his neighbours bill.  My parents are over 60 and it certainly isn't true here - but in the end I just said that he was obviously fortunate to live in Poitou Charente.  I doubt it is true, his neighbour (French) is possibly on a very low income.  But you can't really argue with the guests can you? [;-)]
  11. If you owned the house in December 2006 then you will be liable for both hab and fonciere for 2007, it doesn't matter when you started living in the house.  Also taxe d'hab is not related to your income, only in that if your income is below a certain thresshold then you will be exempt from it but you still have to pay it whether you have submitted a tax return or not, otherwise all these second home owners would be exempt, and they're not!!!   Both of these taxes are usually collected in the autumn.
  12. Both the guy that does groundworks for us and the mason we use (who have both been on courses to bring them right up to date on TVA rates) would beg to differ with Nick slightly.  They would say that if the trench being dug is to house replacement pipes for old ones to the mains, then it would be at 5.5% because it is renovation.  To dig a trench to make a new link to the mains then it would be at 19.6%. Same as our roofer charged 5.5% for putting a new window in an existing dormer but charged 19.6% for creating a new dormer in the extension to our house.
  13. The answer is, no you don't need to be registered to make public liability insurance valid.  A lot of people don't need to register, especially if it is not their main source of income, but they should still have public liability.  It's not at all expensive, so best to get it.
  14. Absolutely not, couldn't eat them unless it did![blink]
  15. [quote user="Quillan"][quote user="Cassis"][quote user="opas"] Why would forumadmin or a mod have need to change a persons password anyway? [/quote] The only legitimate reason would be if they had lost their existing password and requested a new one.  Which I had not. [/quote] Moderators and Admin don't normally have to do that, if you go to the login and enter your email address then next to the password box there is an option (I forgot my Password) which then sends a new password to the email address given if they are a member. If you spoofed a persons email address you would get the email. [/quote] Why would you?  Surely the mail would go direct to that person's email address and therefore to them, not you?
  16. Not again!!!!  I haven't been given any notification of why these threads keep getting pulled. Is someone avin a larf with us?  Or are they worried we're getting to near the root of the problem Holmes? [8-)]
  17. I can only reinforce what others have said.  Have you found your corps de ferme - because one of those in the Caen-Bayeux region for 100K is going to be even rarer than rocking horse poo.  I was in Bayeux on Saturday with visiting family, brother in law is a builder, so he was happy to look at properties needing LOTS of work, there was nothing in that area for less than 160K that still needed lots and lots of work, and certainly not big enough to become a home and a gite.  There are 100s of gites and B&Bs in that area but I think they all get pretty booked up in the summer season (ie July/August). Our family and friends commented on just how few "tourists" there were wandering aroun the cathedral and tapestry area of Bayeux this weekend and the weather was glorious. What kind of work would you be looking for?  Even though you area bi-lingual there is not a lot of work to be had that will earn good money.  If you OH doesn't speak any French then don't bank on him getting a job any time in the near future and if he starts up on his own and tries to get work from the Brit community just remember the high social charges. Sorry it sounds negative but on the sort of money you're talking about and without having jobs, PLUS having a mortgage I think in this region you're on a hiding to nothing.
  18. [quote user="miaviv"]You will pay Taxe Habitation on a house that you live in on 1st January in the tax year, if you moved in or bought after this then you will only pay the year afterwards and even then this is only paid in the following year, confused ??? Example : you buy property in May 2005, you are eligible for Taxe d'habitation from January 2006 but you will be asked to pay it in 2007.  Taxe d'habitation takes into account the people living in the house (number of children etc) but taxe foncière is solely valued on the house and its facilities like council tax in the UK. Taxe foncière is normally divided between the purchaser and the seller of a house in the year that the transaction takes place and on a pro rata basis (split according to the months you or they own the property over a 12 month period) this is normally specified in your purchase agreement documents from the notaire.  Not sure when you get this bill though. hope this helps [/quote] Interesting comments.  I haven't experienced any of this and nor have my parents who bought in the next village.  We bought in Aug 1999 and got our first set of bills in Autumn 2000.  The previous owner paid all of the fonciere for 1999 and the habitation was just carried over as being the same as the previous owners, no questions ever asked as to how many people occupy the house.  We have just had it extended and are now getting a revised bill.  Exactly the same happened with parents.  They bought in Nov 2003, first bills came in autumn 2004 and revised habitation charged last year (2006) on extension they had built in 2005. I don't see how habitation could be done on number of people resident as so many houses are owned by foreigners who do not submit a tax return in France and do not pay into the health system; therefore the authorities have no way of knowing how many people are living in/using the house. 
  19. What's wrong with the other people on the beach?  They look like they're all fading into an acid induced haze....... man.[8-)]
  20. Well that's helpful to the forum in general.  [:@]
  21. I was told sometime in the distant past that anyone over the age of 25 should be referred to as Madame.  I know that's difficult to tell over the phone but in my experience of shop assistants, supermarket cashiers, hairdressers etc, they all seem to be sporting wedding rings from the age of about 20, so perhaps that would be the safest bet - or perhaps they just look 20 to be these days (like policemen and doctors [:D])
  22. Do you want to come and stay for the summer Amymarria? [:D]
  23. [quote user="Chris Head"]   I think the Mods should be women only, they seem to share a common trait of tolerance, patience and warm hearts, and most certainly much more intelligence and intuition than the bloke mods! [/quote] Careful Chris, I don't think you're allowed to say things like that, remember, you'll be dead long before 2159! [:P]
  24. Well if you don't tell me what I said that was so funny I shall get EXTREMELY grumpy - and you don't want to see me in grumpy old woman mode![6]
  25. [quote user="Tresco"] Bixy, The St Malo 1 is Miki, who has been banned. TU was fed up with deletions and thread lockings (basically). [/quote] Well I totally agree with her.  Unless something is getting close to being illegal or is actually threatening to another member - then we're all adults and can choose to ignore it or not even look at that particular thread.  When the threads get insulting then surely it is because the people involved choose to continue to argue with each other, so only deserve what they get?  As a friend of mine says, the LF forum is  playground stuff compared to some of the fora he reads and contributes to! This forum is not the place it used to be and the main reasons being the editing, deleting, banning and locking that goes on.  We're all adults but we aren't very often treated like adults.  Perhaps that's why we sometimes revert to childish behaviour?[:P]
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