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Everything posted by mint

  1. cassis we adore normandy, the romanesque architecture and the wonderful lushness of the countryside.  it all feels so green and so clean; therefore must have "healthy" weather! we went there january of this year to check out property and it was sooooooooooo cold! we went out one night for dinner and i could hardly breathe because the weather was so frosty still love normandy, however, and will go again, whatever the weather now we have bought in the charente maritime.  it was lovely in march, may, august and, i hope, next month.  haven't gone there to live yet so can't give an informed opinion. in the end, we went by the fact that there were ginormous sunflowers and, bordeaux being synonymous with red wine and good living, we thought we couldn't go wrong 
  2. jupiter as far as i know there isn't any shortcut to buying a french house if you want value for money.  i spent hundreds of hours researching regions and different types of housing.  i searched agents' sites (french & british) and sites advertising private sales.  i combed specialist publications, british national papers and french local newspapers i followed up on every property that i thought was, on paper, good value.  i made half a dozen or so visits to the regions that i thought represented the best value i constructed a matrix and scored the houses that i viewed, giving them ticks in boxes such as walking distance to shops, minimum 2 bathrooms, etc i visited some 70 houses and now i HAVE bought but i STILL don't know definitely whether i had the best value i could have had. in the end, it's a matter of comparing carefully like with like and developing an extra (almost sixth) sense about value and also about whether the property is where you can see yourself living happily i do think there is excellent value in virtually all areas of france but you do have to have bags of patience and to be prepared to spend time, money and effort to secure your bargain! 
  3. pangur i am most grateful.  i will investigate further when i am in france next month.  i WAS offered 15% discount if i do not need installation so it might be worthwhile for me to see if someone else other than the dealer can install it for less than 15% of 7000 euros! will look at your combination with the wood option if that means less VAT as well.  i do think i need the hood however because we have nothing at the moment and i am told that these range cookers can generate a lot of heat and steam and that an efficient extractor system is essential so pleased you posted this message because i can now go to the shop armed with your figures!   
  4. pangur tried sending you a private email but don't think that worked.  would like to know more about how you acquired your godin.  i have it in mind to buy a godin chatelaine pyrolese model have been quoted some 7300 euros including installation and extractor hood and wondering if it's worth trying another shop to see if i can get it at a better price did you buy from a dealer or direct from the manufacturer any advice would be greatly appreciated
  5. just going through this process.  we paid the 178 euros fee to the syndicat des eaux and the chap has been out to survey the land.  we will be requiring a pump as we need to put the fosse towards the rear of our property where the land rises up a bit have not yet had estimates as we are awaiting the fosse man to come up with a scheme so don't know exactly how much it will cost.  we have budgeted 6000 to 7000 euros for the work we have sandy porous well-drained soil but we might need longer drains on account of distances.  will keep you posted if you like.  email me privately and i will keep your address on my system so that i can fill you in (no pun intended) when they give us a price and come to dig up our land for the works . all the best
  6. kathy you are sooooo right!  most people do not commission surveys.  it seems crazy; here they are making what is, for the vast majority,  the MOST expensive purchase of their lives and they blithely go ahead without proper advice and counsel.  why on earth do they do it? you are also right to point out the difference between a survey and a valuation.  i would go one step further - there is also a difference between the usual "homebuyer's report" and a survey carried out by a chartered building surveyor or qualified engineer.  admittedly, the homebuyer's report is better than nothing but it IS only on a pro forma and only those elements of the building on the pro forma are looked at.  it is a somewhat restricted inspection and not on a par with a properly-prepared report with detailed comments on the construction and the site to be fair, a full structural survey is often impractical as it would mean pulling up fitted carpets, looking behind fitted furniture, digging down to foundations to look at them, etc.  needless to say, it's not easy or even necessary to go that far, bearing in mind the property still at this stage belongs to the vendor!  however, if a suitably experienced and qualified building surveyor is engaged s/he can generally suss out problems by close examination of elements s/he is able to see including walls, roof spaces, method of construction and so on. i do think that we can all be guilty of taking complete leave of our senses when our emotions are engaged.  and i don't think us brits get more emotional than when house transactions are involved! 
  7. mint

    snakes and dogs

    chris how kind of you to reply so promptly and what a wonderful mine of information you are!  i will study carefully the details on the website you have provided i don't think the snake i saw was an asp viper; for one thing, it wasn't thick enough.  it probably was just a harmless common old garden snake that had it's basking disturbed by me.  i am greatly reassured by the information you have provided.  nothing like ignorance to make one truly fearful! many thanks, indeed, chris best regards
  8. mint

    snakes and dogs

    i am hoping to take my dog to france to take up permanent residence in the near future.  while i was at our french property a couple of weeks ago, i took a walk on our land and disturbed a snake.  the snake was about 18 inches long but, as my knowledge of snakes is less than negligible, i have no idea what sort of snake it was and, more importantly, whether it was poisonous i am now a bit nervous for my dog.  she is full of curiosity and may well go after any snakes she sees.  does anybody know anything about what to do should a dog get bitten by a snake?  is there any sort of antidote that one should have on hand? help!  i am new to dog-ownership and certainly unused to snakes
  9. i totally agree with quillan.  estate agents vary in their efficiency, same as everybody else.  some will email and follow up with phone calls, some will fail to reply.  what i did was to only deal with those that i got sensible replies from.  there was one agent who sent a "standard" reply so i rang them up to protest and ,after a profuse apology, they were quite helpful i found the most helpful agents were in fact french rather than brits - unfailingly patient and professional.  i quite like the fact that you are mostly invited for an appointment at the office to begin with to tell them what sort of property you want, old or new, renovated or with work to do, countryside or urban and, of course, most importantly your budget. to get the best service, be as specific as you can about the accommodation you need, number of bedrooms, garden, etc etc and how much you wish to spend (not forgetting the all important fees - agent's and notaire's) in the end, we bought from a private seller because he happened to have the house we wanted and, when i notified the agents i had been dealing with, they all without exception wished us good luck in our new home.  how about that for graciousness and courtesy?
  10. we have just applied to have a new fosse and have had the initial visit from the chap from the syndicat des eaux.  from what he tells me, i gather that he will produce the specs for the fosse and that he will expect it to be built to the appropriate requirements.  he will also be visiting on 3 unannounced occasions to inspect the works as they progress as both my french and my technical knowledge of fosses are, at best, elementary, i am going to appoint a recommended contractor to carry out the work and i am told that he and the syndicat des eaux will be in close consultation with each other i am lucky in that my husband is a chartered building surveyor and he has had recent experience of the installation of septic tanks to eu requirements.  he knows about distances from boundaries and trees and anaerobic action in the tanks, etc - all above my head but i am, of course, as anxious as anyone else that all goes well. i would say that all 3 parties, the installer, the overseer (architect) and the syndicat des eaux have a responsibility, but i also know that at the end of the day, it would be the architect who is, if you like, most responsible as he is in overall supervision. if my husband designs a project and supervises it, he would obviously have professional indemnity insurance to cover the project and would expect to be responsible for completion to the required standard unless the client has specifically opted to adopt responsibility for all or part of the project that is, of course, the theory of how things should be but the reality of getting your problem sorted out might deviate somewhat from the theory! you might have recourse to the architect's professional regulatory body (french equivalent of riba?) so that might be worth a try hope that helps.  good luck, you'll need it!
  11. hard to tell with prices; the value has got to be what someone is prepared to pay!  i have looked closely at prices in several departments over a period of nearly 3 years and i would say that recent prices are static rather than falling.  we ourselves have just bought at, i think, quite a good price.  i do see lots of properties that still have "for sale" status for months and even years.  we made an offer on our house within a week of it's appearing on a website and the house next to it (same owner) also sold within days.  that tells me that we probably got the price right.  but, then again, i do see properties that, on the face of it, appear to be excellent value that haven't sold there is one factor which is difficult to completely take account of and that is individual choice.  for example, some people like a huge garden, some don't, some like to renovate, some don't , etc etc.  i suppose we would have paid a lot more than we did purely because the house ticks most of the boxes for us. i made a list of features that are absolutely essential, eg, at least 2 bathrooms, walking distance to shops, large garden, etc and a list of desirable but not essential features such as double-glazing, mains drainage, 2 living rooms and so on.  then, i drew up a matrix and scored all the properties we viewed.  i then narrowed the choice to the properties that scored the most points.  i was really worried at one stage that there would be 2 or more properties between which i could not decide. but, in the end, there was the one clear winner, which was a tremendous relief to me! my own experience of the property market has always been to be realistic about price and, depending on how much you need to sell, my advice would be to be prepared to hang on till a buyer comes along who will pay you a price near to your asking one  
  12. thank you so much for your view of this.  it's not what i wanted to hear as one of the "children", being autistic, will be unable to give his "consent" but at least i am now forewarned as to what might be requested complexity is one thing but being beyond the commonsense view of "reasonable" beggars belief thanks anyway and i hope all affected will take note!
  13. dear goose i had a giggle at your message.  talk about cultural differences!  now that i have heard about your experience, i should be very careful as to which notaire i appoint to do this for us what would be the ultimate best thing would be if the cu matter as you describe it is then extended to wills and inheritance but i don't for one moment think that that would ever be i am looking at the implications of just keeping the french property (an immovable object) french as it were and keeping the rest of our assets elsewhere.  haven't got as far as finding out about tax and other implications.  fortunately, the french property does not constitute anything like the bulk of our assets when i do find out more about this, i will post the info on the forum.  alternately if there are folks out there who are experts in french and uk inheritance tax, please don't keep all that useful knowledge to yourselves, will you? 
  14. will many thanks indeed for your comments.  from my limited research of the subject, i think it probably is right for us  both as my husband and i have been married before and have children from our previous marriages though not from our own marriage. i do appreciate the time and trouble you have taken all the best therese (sweet 17)
  15. albert thanks for your reply.  i shall now be ready with all info that the notaire might possibly need.  and it doesn't seem too expensive or onerous so we'll do the change in the very near future therese  
  16. we are having to structure our joint ownership of our french property and we know that our best course of action is to change our french matrimonial regime. i believe the french term for this process is "regime de communaute universelle avec clause d'attribution integrale de la communaute au conjoint survivant" has anyone done this themselves and please could you say how much it costs to do also, does anyone know of an english-speaking notaire in the bordeaux, cognac, perigeaux area whom we can engage to do this for us many thanks indeed
  17. we are about to complete on the purchase of a renovated barn in the charente maritime departement.  we have to get permission to construct a fosse. we have duly applied to the mairie and paid the syndicat des eaux bill of 178 euros.  we have now been given a date for the man from the syndicat to look at our site however the vendors tell us that we can sign the acte de vente without waiting for the visit as the visit is just a "formality" and that permission is "tacit" we are unhappy with this and want permission in writing.  we are unsure whether the visit does imply that permission will be granted or whether it's to determine whether to grant permission has anyone any knowledge of this matter? we wish to hold out until after the visit of the sanitary man but we will be putting the vendors and others to a lot of trouble if we did so any comments?
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