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Hi and a few questions....


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EuroTr@sh wrote the following post at 08 Oct 2020 18:09:

Chancer set up an aparthotel for workers though, didn't he, not quite the same business model as rural gites. And if I recall, he was ahead of the trend when aparthotels were a new thing..

OH and I .. with son (not young?) .. stayed in aparthotels throughout our visits in France during 2001 and 2002 .. so much cheaper, more spacious .. so more relaxing than paying for 2 separate hotel rooms during our holiday.

I believe it took Chancer a good few years to get his ex-hotel purchase repaired, rebuilt etc up and running rooms from his original purchase date around 2005ish.
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Is Chancer still on this forum?

Looking back to when I first joined (without the arobase) which was probably around 2010 I think, it seems like a kind of golden era - still discovering things and figuring out how how France worked, and so hopeful for the future.

Sorry, this post should be on a different thread. It was BinB mentioning Chancer that brought it all back. All your fault BinB (not really).
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Hi everyone

Some of the responses on these forums are comical, I get everyone has an opinion but don't shoot down people's dreams , I came here for some general advice after a lot of reading and researching, some of the replies are spot on and some could be deemed as really negative , I haven't explained our background or our circumstances I'm not planning on making a fortune as I already have that from my extremely successful business here in the U.K. Yes it will be a lovely holiday home for us once we have had the PLEASURE of completing the renovation and bringing an old and wonderful building back to life , yes it will be a hobby that we can throw as much money as we choose too because we can and that is what we want to do and is a dream we are fulfilling because we want to , the gites too will be hobby and a lovely place to stay for our family members etc and the odd paying guests when we choose to be available for such arrangements , I hope that's stopped all the negative people from blowing steam from their ears .... calm down people , if I want 10 gites I will do no one else has to worry and please people be kinder , think about your replies to new members some may not have as thick a skin as I do , don't just squash someone's dream it's their choice to take a chance in life

Thanks everyone

Be kind ❤️
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CJ wrote the following post at 08 Oct 2020 21:24:

I came here for some general advice after a lot of reading and researching, some of the replies are spot on and some could be deemed as really negative , I haven't explained our background or our circumstances ...

This is usually the problem .. not enough detail given in in the first post by a newbie and then, at the end, an invitation that all replies are welcome.

It often leads to exactly the scenario you have recently experienced.
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I was just saying be kinder don't shatter people's Impression of their dreams I'm not just talking about my post Iv read so many when the op has been shot down on a varied amount of topics , yes advice from people who dream create and live to tell the tale not miserable keyboard warriors telling them their aspirations and plans will fail before they get off the ground( no doubt these people have not ventured on the same journey and that's fine too ) , not every business works out in every sector for every person but that is their journey we live and learn ... all part of the journey.... so what if I wanted to have gites as my main source of income and it didn't work ... my journey to learn and grow from ... and we do have professional advice thanks for the tip though ,i just wanted a chat with people associated with France and people who are or who have achieved ( or not ) the same or similar adventurers as our plans while feeling excited about the next couple of years planning ,building, renovating living , comparing scenarios encountered.

The current world wide pandemic is a reminder every day for me that life can be short, live it your way don't rubbish people's ideas be kinder and offer genuine helpful comments, it's the pandemic that is delaying us moving forward I just want to come to my new pile of dreams and make it shine again, and we will do just that , I'd love to hear other members stories of their journeys good and bad it's all part of the life we create for ourselves

Enjoy the rest of your evening fellow members and thanks for taking the time to reply

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@ CJ

You did not give enough info.

Now CJ, I have no problem with people buying an old house and chucking as much money as they can afford to renovate it. Well, as long as it is an historical building. It does not work with a 1950's plan pied mind you. LOL.

That is the best way renovate. It is a good hobby and it is very fulfilling. We do that. We do that everyday. We can't stop with our house.

Now, make sure you keep up with French officialdom. That is why you do need an architect. Do it properly.

Lastly, is France the right country for you to do this ?

Given what we now know, you will be fine. But the last question is an important one.

No point doing this if France is not the right country for you. France is not everyones cuppa tea and folks find out too late after spending 100's of thousands of pounds.

Do you really know France ?

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Morning albf

Of course I agree to do things by the book , the business I'm in is a mind field of legislation rules policies etc so I'm very strict and resilient and shall we say not behind the door , I'm fully aware of French rules and regs etc can be / ate a mind field but I'm ready for the challenges ahead and will do as required/expected it's not in my nature not to

I / we think France is the right country for us for now on life's journey, probably not forever as the world is huge and I'd like to see where I end up , we have spent lots of time in France ( and many many other countries) and have been on a property hunt for roughly 2 /3 years, last summer we traveled all over France without a plan in a converted van , yes I / we love France for lots of reasons , and for now yes it feels right , ask the same question in a few years and the answer may not be the same I may be off somewhere else following another dream .....

Enjoy your day
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CJ your posts have struck several chords with me (I also spent the best part of a year exploring France in a motorhome before deciding whereabouts to settle - it's a great way to get a feel for the country) and I would like your view on a thing.

I am perhaps one of the people you are criticising for squashing people's dreams. I would call it playing devil's advocate, raising issues to see if they have already thought about them, and when they come back with more information as you did to set the fears at rest then it is great. But, I am a great worrier, and to me it would seem wrong to see a possible major flaw in a plan and to say nothing and leave a person to make a potentially disastrous mistake.

Often people say I am moving to France, I am going to do blah blah blah and my income will come from carrying on running my UK business from France, I don't need to change anything there. It is not nice to burst someone's bubble and say Actually no, you cannot live in France and run your UK business from France without jumping through certain hoops. But neither does it seem nice to let them put all their eggs in a basket without pointing out to them that their egg basket has a great gaping hole in it.

There is a lady on another forum at the moment who has just bought a house and is planning on converting part of it to gites to provide an income. Her OH has been made redundant so one deduces that they are investing his redundancy settlement in this project. She is bringing one school age child and one adult child. She says she is going to home school the younger child. She says the older child will live with them until at least next September and help decorate the gite, then perhaps go to uni in the UK. She is looking for a removal company for the week between Christmas and New Year.

Potential holes in her egg basket are: Macron is putting a bill through that is expected to make school attendance obligatory after this academic year. How will the elder child obtain residence rights in France if he arrives at the end of December with no job and no income of his own, and then, if he is not resident in the UK immediately before starting uni he will probably be liable for overseas fees. The biggest elephant in the room is, will the adults even manage to qualify for residence if they arrive at the end of December - will they have healthcare sorted, will they have an acceptable level of income. I hope to goodness they are keeping their UK home and renting it out, but even so, they won't have any rental income to show during transition.

So how do you think posters should respond CJ, would you raise some of these issues or would you simply answer the question asked on the forum, which IIRC was Where is the best place in France to buy white goods and paint? And then if that same person posts again six months down the line and says "We have just had a letter telling us we have to leave France but we have sold our home in the UK and we don't have anywhere to go back to, what can we do?" - how would you feel?
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We bought our first house in France in 91, moved over full time with two very small children in 96, at the end of a five year plan. We are still haunted by some of the houses Notaires /agents took us to owned by Brits who had come across on a dream. Unfinished, all kids sleeping in the same room under the roof, middle of nowhere, no job, no French, stuck in an unsaleable house. Even years after we were still helping people who used the "fully qualified brit builder" who kindly installed UK plugs everywhere so the owners could use their UK electrical goods. The list goes on.

24 years on we are still living our dream and continue to grow through our experiences. Yes it can be done if you plan, have a back up plan, and have a lot of luck and work very hard at it. And do everything you can to speak French, have a big vocabulary, and integrate. Lots of things are very different to the UK, because its France!
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[quote user="CJ"]Hi

I was just saying be kinder don't shatter people's Impression of their dreams... [/quote]
If dreams shatter on the basis of a few perfectly civil comments on a forum, their dreams aren't exactly robust.

[quote user="CJ"] ...live it your way don't rubbish people's ideas be kinder and offer genuine helpful comments...   [/quote]
I think you've been getting some genuine and even helpful comments. They just aren't what you want to hear. That doesn't make them unhelpful. No one has been rude or unpleasant and that being so, you may not demand responses are presented in a certain way. Particularly as...

...you asked posters to make the effort to provide help and advice on your large project without you providing basic information. You've told us that the replies you've received aren't the sort you want but you still haven't answered entirely relevant and quite basic questions re area of building / renovation, what permissions are already in place, etc.

You do not have to provide more information if you don't want to - especially if you don't know the answers - it's your decision. But you can't criticise the responses you've had when you have not made the effort to provide the supplementary information needed in order to give you informed and good quality advice pertinent to your situation.

In the current world of a still undefined and increasingly fractious Brexit and the global pandemic which shows no sign of abating yet, the last thing I'd do is move from the UK to France to do a major renovation. Even in more certain times, I've seen far too many dreams becoming tarnished, sometimes to the level of bankruptcy, banks repossessing 'dreams' and moves into council housing equivalents. While you may call that rubbishing your ideas, it's coming from 20 years of seeing how dreams can go very wrong and may adversely affect the rest of your life. I call it, in your words,

comparing scenarios encountered.

This forum is quiet nowadays. Most participants are well settled here, many are retired and France is just where we live. I suspect there are now active Facebook pages dedicated to renovating / restoring in France and you'll find people at a similar stage to you, in the region you've bought in, with the same level of excitement and

scattergun questions. You might find participating somewhere like that more fun and gives you the buzz you're looking for.

For the business side, there's a well-respected English-language website run by a French woman in Normandy - though she covers queries from France generally. She may be able to assist with some of your planning / building queries too. She charges an annual fee but when you look at the overall budgets you're allocating for your life change, it's a small investment in succeeding. I'm not associated with the business in any way and have never used it but I know people who have and they were satisfied with the advice and support they received.

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Another example just came to mind.

Couple set up a business in the UK to own and operate a fishing lake in France. It was explained to them that their plan had not taken various regulations into account. Either they needed to set up a posted worker or cross border arrangement to allow them to keep paying NICs with HMRC agreeing to cover their healthcare in France, or they needed to set up a French business structure and pay French social security contributions through that. Heard no more for a year or so, then the poster came back in a panic because one of their children needed medical care, she had been told she needed a carte vitale, she had applied for one and been turned down because they were not in the French system. When it was pointed out that this had been explained previously she said, oh yes but I didn't have time to do anything about it. Now I need a carte vitale urgently, how do I get one.

All we could suggest was take the child back to the UK to,stay with a relative, pretend you live there, hope no questions are asked and rely on the UK not having a very joined up system to check who is entitled to NHS treatment. Hopefully the child got the treatment it needed and they didn't end up breaking the bank to pay for it. But these posters only pop up when they need help, you never hear the end of the story.
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We have an barn attached to the house which we have re-roofed and created new door/window openings but, for tax purposes it remains a batiment agricole so we only needed a déclaration prealable and our taxes foncieres didn't increase. With the agreement of the planning office, we wrote out and signed an 'attestation sur l'honneur' saying we that if we wanted to convert the inside for living purposes we would apply for the appropriate permission. We have done some work inside, just to make it into a storage/workshop area (aka dumping ground?).

Having said all that, this was done about 17 years ago so rules may have changed and IMO they are (or were) pretty laid back about rules in the Gers?
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I am not sure about facebook to be honest....largely because I have never used it. But it does sound a scary place for renovation....and Brits selling their services.

Long before mainstream internet and Remdesivir, we just got on with it.

I would not ask advice on facebook....it will be all wrong.

Some general tips OP.

1) Think about heating NOW !. Don't use gas, electricity or oil.

2) Insulate, insulate and insulate. When you have finished insulating...insulate a bit more.

Spend your money on insulation and not heating.

3) Don't buy a house that needs a fosse septice. Too much hassle. If you already have, forget that advice. Just don't do it again.

4) Try and have as many downstairs bedrooms (ensuites) as you can. 3 would be great. Upstair bedrooms are a last resort. France is too hot (everywhere) in the summer to sleep upstairs these days.


6) Always always create a very large 'pièce â vivre. You won't sell without one in France. If that means knocking down a wall, well knock it down.

When renovating, create a family house. Create something that people want to buy. The house has got have a purpose. Renovating for the sake of renovating is pointless. Be imaginative.

Spend your time between moving on websites like Leroy Merlin, Brico Depot, Gedimat etc. Get a feel for prices and what things are called.

Buy a van.
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Hi et good post that , so what you have posted has struck a chord with me ? I think the personality of the poster definitely has a part to play, I'm a glass half full girl I'm also a true believer in hard work for gains and the life we want to live but I'm also very honest love my life where positivity brings positivity , I know from my career building a highly stressful business in a critical sector where people come first and matter the most gives me the mindset of always treating people how I'd like to be treated and allows me to be a kinder better person, I'm also a true believer in speaking my mind but in a tactful way ( non offensive or bubble bursting) , my reaction possibly came from having read so many posts on most of the French forums and Iv read many of your replies and posts et, a lot of questions people ask are shot down right there and then don't do it etc etc , informative and constructive info is what I / we newbies are looking for and you do give that but there is a lot where it's jumped on and popped the bubble , yes advice that's relevant and it is Iv gained so much info but it's taken me so long to register and post because I knew from reading what reaction I'd get and that is what I got ( as well as really good advice and I thank you all )

I know the post your referring to Iv read it and the info is great that was given maybe just throw in a few happier points , everyone is on this forum because of a shared interest.... france . Some had their dream years ago some are just dreaming some are die hard French residents,

I think if someone chooses to make the move / buy a house whatever and it doesn't work out for whatever reason that's just part of it , 20 people saying don't do this and that won't stop it it will just stop them using the forum and lurking reading instead,

No one can tell another person what to do they can ( as lots have to ) give honest advice about the situation but I can't tell mrs jones mot to open a chip shop down the road because there's already 50 in the city she may make the best chips in the uk and end up with a whole franchise....

Sorry I'm a chatter box .... long post
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Never use Facebook myself either it's not really my thing , et I agree many posts Iv read and there are no endings but that may be because the op has been offended..... maybe maybe not ...

Great advice from everyone and I do think any challenge can be overcome it may take a little longer or through a different route / process

Here's one to make you all squirm we have no septic fosset aaarrrrrgggghhhhh but that's ok by me we will have one one day

Ps bought the van the caravan and pretty much a full building site of tools ....
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BritinBretagne wrote the following post at 08/10/2020 18:01:

ALBF, Don’t forget your friend Chancer made a fortune from his gites.

Just as well or I would not have had a fortune to lose this year [:D]

Its been an interesting experience being paid not to work and having to turn away business or price myself out of what tiny market that has reappeared in order not to exceed 50% of last years monthly or average turnover or effectively be fined €1500 for doing so.

Its given me time to consider and establish my next venture, I now sell pallets and old car tyres and have 4 very good local customers and a rapidly expanding customer base , no sooner do I deliver them than they are ordering more for the next day, honestly you would think that they are burning them or something [:D]

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