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south_bound

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About south_bound

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  1. Hi, I'm a bit late to the party, mainly just browse on here every now and then. I started looking at this website 10 years ago when looking to buy a house near London in what was supposed to be a downturn which never happened in that area. Then moved to the south of France (small town near Marseille) and couldn't have hoped for it to work better. OK, so as said above the bureaucracy is a nightmare at first, well every time you need to interface with the government but more than made up by the way of life. I work and need to travel back to the UK and further but as long as I get back for the weekend I am happy. 4 bed detached villa, big garden, pool, 45 mins to the beach in summer, couple of hours to the ski in winter, 4 hours drive to Italy or Spain, whats not to like. Social charges and taxes are high, especially under the previous government but if you can get over that then you're ok.
  2. Do you think yesterday's announcements regarding ISF being limited to property investments will further weaken prices? Does this affect only direct property investments, or also holdings in companies which in turn own property eg. SCI or more complex business structures? If the former than small time BTL portfolios will be hard hit I imagine.
  3. Is that it? I thought this was all part of the same programme and that they would go back to the first one for an update and I was looking forward to seeing her having to accept a knock down offer. Never mind. The second house in the outskits of Paris - they have done a decent job on opening out the kitchen, although it wasn't difficult given it wasn't a load bearing wall! Did they quote 70 Euros for the job? Can't have included the labour OR materials costs??? Lets see what happens.
  4. I'm watching it as well out of the corner of my eye while surfing the net. TBH, my first thought on hearing 250k and 5 visits my immediate thought was - too expensive (although a bargain compared to what we are seeing here in the south). I like the way they prefer to spend 6k redoing paints and touch-ups rather than lower the price by just a bit more. Living on the edge of a roundabout would put me off as well!
  5. Now thinking about the possibility of buying a plot and getting a house built, which I'm not sure is necessarily a cheaper option but at least we would have better chance of getting what we want. I have contacted the Marie of a small town that is selling building plots (non lotissement) and they talk as if it is fixed price. The one I am interested in seems to have been on sale for a while both directly with the Marie and through agents - is there a protocol regarding offers as with the general housing market? I suspect the price has been based on advice from a notaire or similar and doesn't take account of current economic conditions which why it has not sold. Any comments? As an aside, trawling through the internet looking for self-build resources I came across this article promoting new-build lease-back schemes in Langedoc-Roussilion http://www.escapeartist.com/OREQ29/Real_Estate_in_Languedoc_South_France.html. Not something I am planning to get involved in for very good reasons, but if this is an up-to-date article then its no wonder there are still people coming in with the promise of such get rich quick schemes that have only one way to go - dissapointment all around!
  6. I find that this is often the case where people advertise with every agent in town - each giving different floor areas, number of bedrooms and even heating type! The prices are also different by a few thousand Euros which I think reflects the difference in fees charged by each agent. Sometimes, there is a price reduction but they have forgotten to tell all their agents which makes for interesting reading on seloger when there is a 50k difference for the same house. We have been contacted by a couple of British "property finders" who claim that their services will cost us nothing as they share the agent's fees - until you start comparing their listing prices with local ads. They seem to think that all the Brits have pockets full of spare cash to throw their way and aren't capable of a bit of independent research. I have seen some web-based agents now offering much lower fees than the traditional shop based ones e.g. 123webimmo.com is a local one around here (Bouche de Rhone) which seems to operate on a franchise system - one guy with a laptop and mobile phone is all that is needed, no expensive overheads. Thats deffinately the way to go in this day and age, and I can't see many agencies lasting too many years further unless they can start offering more value for money. Rant over.
  7. Just for information, I thought I'd share this info on my recent activities in searching for a house in northern Bouche du Rhone (13) - generally quite high-priced touristy area, but where we have decided to settle for the longterm and wanting to move out of rented accomodation. About 25 viewings to date either through agencies or private sellers, some sold quite quickly, many for sale more than the 6 months we have been actively looking, and some even dropping prices by 20 to 50k Euros over the course of a year (bit not the ones we would want to buy anyway). 3 offers submitted at between 12 and 27% off asking price based on our evaluation of value and our budget, 2 rejected even though the sellers say they are keen to move and are still advertising a few months on, and we are currently awaiting the response for the third offer. This is someone who needs to move for their work, so might be under a bit more time pressure - we'll see, and wait until the right house comes at the right price. It is not surprising that agents are suffering from low commission income when their clients cannot be convinced to lower prices to sensible amounts! Agents here though are as arrogantly optimistic in public as ever, claiming a huge rebound in sales since August, but I know for a fact that local tax take from house sales is down 60% here. Again, we'll see how things develop.
  8. I just found out this weekend that in France, if someone sells their house within 5 years of having it built, they are liable to pay 19.6% TVA on the land and construction costs. This sounds like it is designed to discourage "flipping" by amateur developers by making it more difficult to turn in a profit from such activities. I realise that there are reduced notaire fees on new-builds, but it does seem quite harsh on those who genuinely need to sell unexpectedly within 5 years. A house we viewed a couple of days ago is in this situation due to bad health of the owner (apparently), but he seems to have included this tax in the asking price which makes it completely unreasonable compared to what it should be!
  9. Great site, and interesting to see what has been around a long time and confirm our suspicions that particuar properties are still way over-priced. I was amazed at the asking prices on some of these a year ago! It woud be great to see an update beyond 28/09, as quite a few ads have now dissappeared - sold or not, I don't know. There is also a good section that compares price per sq m to identify the better prices, and a forum that I found interesting reading.
  10. Thanks for the various replies - I will definately follow up with the local Notaires to see what they have on their books. Is there a formal mechanism that allows the notaires to know what is for sale while it is being marketed, or is it just down to local knowledge - I can see that they will get involved once negotiations start but earlier in the process as well? I have also been using Google Earth to help pin-point properties, but many are hidden from the road so not really easy to spot, plus agents are really cagey about givving away even their general location. At least I am already renting in town and have easy access to the resources. I had an interesting conversation with an agent today, although I do take it all with a pinch of salt. I suggested that sellers add 10% to the price they want to allow for negotiating room, and he was quick to say that it could be nearer to 20%, especially in this climate when buyers expect reasonable reductions! That was in the context of the particular house we had just seen being above our budget. Another agent suggested we could offer 12% lower on another house even before we had been to see it, so there seems to be some consistency there. I will add update posts as thinmgs progress.
  11. Hi Redwine - I have been following your posts and links with interest over the past little while, all very interesting thank you for that. I am in the process of looking to buy a house in Provence (Northern Bouche du Rhone) - to live in rather than investment - although obviously looking to make the most of difficult selling environment. The agents down here are worse than useless, expecting that we turn up and buy without them needing to do anything, and showing any old tat they have on their books with no regard for criteria etc. I read constantly that half of French property is sold privately, but the pap.fr website, for example, only has 7 houses in our town - so where are the rest to be found? Are there any other frequented websites for private sellers and buyers, or recommended paper-based press that I need to start looking at? I am doing all the leg work anyway, so I may as well work directly with sellers and save the 6% fee! I would also be interested in your views on the market in this area if you (or anyone else) know it. Its obviously a very sought-after region for second homes from all over Europe, but volumes are way down on previous years (eg. I'm told that the town's tax revenue from house sales is down 60%). Asking prices don't seem to reflect this and people are still expecting to get whatever they want, and the lack of transparency and ability to compare with land-registry transactions as in the UK makes it difficult for us to gauge. There is a huge range of asking prices between agents for the same properties, and it can't all be down to varying commission levels so suggests that some are pulling a number out of thin air and offering sellers what they want the hear. Having said that, some price reductions are being seen for those houses that are failing to sell after a few months so there is hope yet... Anyway, any comments and thoughts would be welcome. Thanks, south_bound
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