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Everything posted by whocares

  1. Well spotted picnic. And I just found this link .... in Alpine.property.com's blog. (They give their own link to Le Figaro.)Will it equally apply to the sale of any property located outside of France, if seller is tax resident in France ie no CGT to pay in France if the 'foreign' (non-French) property has been owned for > 22 yrs?The tax rules in France never stay still do they? So it's quite hard (for a lay person) to get up to speed and keep on top of the situation from outside of France. Therefore, appreciate the heads up on that proposed U turn.
  2. You can see by the comments which follow the DM article that most people reading it find the whole business of the unlikely marriage and the accidental/sudden death rather suspicious.
  3. The "Marcel & Sandrine" story (from Redwine in 2012) makes the DM today ....
  4. I agree. So to liven things up, let me say that we very nearly bought a house in France back in Nov, but we chickened out after they rejected our (lowish) offer and we had more time to think and to hesitate re a few aspects which were less than perfect. In retrospect, it was a good decision to back away, as we were not sure it was the right house for us, plus prices seem to be still falling. We will try to go on another viewing trip in June if we can, when I imagine we will be a rare sight indeed? (Brit potential buyers!) We will only really think of buying now if/when we see a great house in good condition, in a convenient location, and at a lower than expected price, as we fear the future sellability options of a rural house costing over €300k. We worry also about the rising cost of liivng in France. But we haven't completely given up on the dream yet! (That's why we are still looking.) If you want a laugh, take a read of this really bad, (but terribly funny), translation from French into English ... link here My favourite bits = " a room of water of 7 m ²" and "Le roof est in tuile, the construction NET dead. It dead is in the fioul".
  5. I have to agree with you on that OP! So how could that be that he was (legally) channelling money for the IRA & other so-called terrorist organisations?
  6. Hmm .... very odd indeed I couldn't really understand what he was going on about, (re the mysterious foundation X), but it seemed like, (after he spoke), he was simply ignored? Is that what usually happens in the House of Lords? Is he a known nutter by any chance? So it's agreed that they will all just disregard what he says most of the time? (He didn't sound like one though.) Who could be "Foundation X" with all that money and the gold bullion to back it? (Like a James Bond plot.) And now come you (OP) happened to be reading a (long/dull) transcript of what went on in the House of Lords ... on Nov 1st 2010?! Were u looking for some specific information when you came across that speech ? (The plot thickens?!) Hope someone else will be willing to spend a few mins of their time to have a look, then give us their opinion .... as I am very curious now!
  7. Not surprised to hear this. (Things will get a lot more expensive I reckon.) I think we are less idealistic than most, and we have experience of moving about/adapting, but I'm still worried we are expecting too much. Like Alba said, maybe we are all looking for something, (ie a life style), that doesn't exist? Guess there's only one way to find out thought? (Just do it!) Thanks for that tip.
  8. Just googled and got these ... http://www.rentaplaceinfrance.com/ http://www.longtermrentalfrance.co.uk/ http://www.french-locations.co.uk/ Will have to go through & see if there are any rentals I fancy. (Am warming to the idea of renting before buying now!)
  9. Thanks Alba and davidg ... I know we need to be v careful and it's going to be a hard decision whether or not to buy in France. I also know that only main airports can be trusted for regular international flights eg TLS, GVA, CDG. I have been looking at rentals online today, (just to see what there is), but so far I only saw winter lets eg Oct to June. So I will need to look more into that ... & see if there are any all year round possibilities. I have heard say that most Brits tend to stay about 8 yrs on average when they retire to France ... as usually in that time frame one of the couple will get ill/die, or they will get divorced or just a bit fed up/bored. I also guess that the last 2-3 yrs of that 8 yrs could well be the period when they are actively trying to sell? So that would indicate only 5-6 of 'good' yrs to be expected, statistically speaking? Shocking that you have heard that the "good yrs" might be even less than that Alba ... ie only 2 yrs! (That would be bad news indeed, but I agree it might well happen that way.) We know some people, (not unlike ourselves), who are currently living in France, (as early retirees), & who seem very happy after 5 yrs of being there. So it''s probably very personal/individual ... ie what sort of life you want and how much you are willing to pay to live it? And obviously some people love being in France long term. However, I think the 5 yr mark, (which is where they are now), could be quite siginificant for them, (and for others like them), as this is when early retirees can/should move from private healthcare into the CMU. It all sounds very positive to make this transition, as the CMU covers all pre-existing ailments, unlike private cover which usually excludes these. But when I looked into it a bit more, I found out that we, (and they?), would have to pay an additional 15.1% from our private pensions, (in social charges/cotisations), as well as possibly paying wealth tax, (which kicks in after 5 yrs of residence), and quite high income tax as usual/throughout. This continues until one person of the couple can get their OAP status from their home country. (In my case that's at the age of 67.) So life could get a lot more costly from year 6 until a state retirement pension is obtained. And the CMU cover does not even refund all health costs at 100%. (I think we would have to get a top up policy to not have to pay a percentage ourselves.) All these additional charges, which will crop up after 5-6 yrs, may not be obvious to the average early retiree at the start of their residence when they decide to buy a house in France. So if the cost of living in France works out more that was foreseen, plus if there are constant costly house repairs, maybe compounded by an unfavourable exchange rate, things could start to look a lot less rosy, financially speaking after 5-6 yrs, if state pensionable age has not yet been reached? I think I am in danger of talking myself out of this plan of mine, (with good reason), but as I said before, I do fear that staying in the UK will be just a bit too dull, so it's hard to decide what's best for us. We were thinking of doing some extended house-hunting (hol) trips, (just to get more of a feel for life in France), but maybe the renting plan is a lot better. I like your idea of just doing more travel from a UK base Alba. (Rather than commit yourselves to another holiday home.) This sort of approach could also work for us, but as I said in an earlier post, we are a bit tired of being "nomads", so it wasn't really what we imagined we would be doing in retirement. Thanks again everyone for sharing with me what you know. (It all helps with my thought/decision processes!)
  10. Hi redwine, I have just read through that Mumsnet link ... some very interesting comments on there. A lot of people are saying "you must rent first" first, which seems like good advice for this young couple, (who were currently living on a barge in the UK), but in our case, we have a lot of personal possessions and we are getting older. We have moved on average every 2 yrs for past 10 yrs and before that about every 3-5 years. (Too much moving!) So we would like to find a place in SW France, move in, make it homely, and stay there until we decide to move back to the UK. I also heard the loud "message" about houses in France being cheaper, (than in the UK), mostly for a reason, and that any house on the market for >2yrs must have some sort of a problem. This sounds true. Buying cheap isnt really cheap if you have to pay loads of money on fixing up the place and then can never sell it! Very helpful to get the perspective of people already living in France ... with most saying they like it, but that it isn't always easy eg language probs to overcome, hard to make good friends, high cost of living, too much bureaucracy, sometimes having to put up with obnoxious expat 'friends', lack of an easy social life, shops too far away etc. The OP (on MNet) was obviously a very optimistic person, and up for a challenge, but she didn't really explain what they would do if they hate France and then can't sell the house they have just bought. I would say that's the biggest risk they are taking .... & that all the rest, (being lonely, learning the language), is more manageable/up to them to sort out.
  11. Yes, we have been setting up spreadsheets with variable exchange rates and inflation rates. Just to make it more interesting, we have 3 countries/currencies to worry about. (One is UK/GBP/my home country, one is France/EURO and the 3rd is my husband's home country/source of his pension income.) So it's VERY COMPLICATED! Argh!! We are very aware that currency exchange rates and inflation and HPI will affect us, (postively or negatively), but not sure how much we can predict with long term accuracy. Seems like we are screwed wherever we will go? (High taxes, high inflation, falling house prices?!) So in a way, you just have to throw all the variables into a pot and make a sort of guess? (And live with the conseqences!) The best bits about the UK are the free NHS and the fairly low taxes. But the sun and the adventure of living in France is calling to me. I feel that retirement in the UK will be safe but dullish. I do hope to return to the UK eventually though (in older age), as the UK is my home and I appreciate the culture/language/people, though some aspects of modern life (eg yobbishness/selfishness) do depress me.
  12. Hi Alba, I would be interested to know more about your experiences of buying and selling a house in France. Would you be willing to share this info? Did you live in France or was it just a holiday home? Which area? What specific problems did you encounter? Was it overall a positive thing that you bought, a 50:50 spilt, or more like a complete disaster? I know that on the one hand you are quite correct, (financially speaking), to say that we should rent in France, (rather than buy), because prices are falling and looks like they will continue to do so. But on the other hand, life choices cannot always be made on purely a cost basis?? (Cos if that was true, no-one would ever have any children?!) And buying might still be the best for us overall, if it brings us a sense of security/contentment? Background : we have always been moving about & living in rented, (or company provided), homes abroad, (since we got married, ie 25 yrs ago), so we feel it would be nice to be settled in our retirement and for the place we live in to be actually ours to enjoy/improve. Also I reckon larger (nicer) quality houses in France will not be available for rent on a long term basis ... more likely to be let per week/per month for the summer hols? (But I will start to check this again though, in case I am wrong.) We have a good amount of savings, (saved for this very purpose of living in France), a reasonable pension and a small house which we own in the UK. This small house we are keeping empty at the moment, for our use when visiting the UK and also for our kids who still use it occasionally. (Mostly for storage.) We are not planning to sell or let this UK base when we retire ... so we can make UK visits and so our kids won't need to get rid of all their stuff yet. (As they are not yet settled in their own right.) Maybe we will (have to) sell it later on, depending on how things go in France, but I don't want to burn our boats too soon. (Nb I am not that keen on letting it out.) The main thing I feel is that the money we have saved cannot bring us happiness on its own/in the bank, and we think that we want to use it to experience a nice life in the sun while we are still youngish retirees. (We are mid to late 50s.) We thought about France (a while ago) as we have aging parents (still OK) and 3 young adult kids, (in various EU countries nearby), who we want to see as often as poss. France is the nearest to all our loved ones, (if we move outside of the UK), plus we can both speak French. Shame we can't speak Spanish as Spain could be tempting if we found a nice/cheap villa inland. (Coastal settlements are not generally my cup of tea.) But it's a bit further to drive to see our family members from Spain and we'd have to make a big effort to learn Spanish. On top, I'm a bit concerned about instability in Spain ...with the unemployment situation as it is ... though same could be said for France soon, the way things are going? Anyway, France still seems to be the best choice for us, although the plan to buy there is looking more risky by the day. We could sink a lot of cash (eg €500k) into a property there and then not be able to extract any of that money later on. Renting in France doesn't look like a long term option, (for the sort of house we had in mind), but I will definitely have another think about that and check the web. I could ask myself if we would be better off staying in the UK for our retirement and just spending some hols abroad for the sun? It's a good question, but I'm not sure we would be better off, as it would be quite costly to buy a bigger house in the UK, (current house a bit too small), & then to rent a big house with a pool in France or Spain for say 2-3 months a year in summer. I am also interested in having another attempt at learning to ski. If we lived nearer to the Pyrenees or Alps we could buy our own skis and then pop over whenever snow was good/slopes were empty. But if living in the UK, we would need to add in the cost of a few weeks in a (rip-off) resort? In that situation, I fear that we would just not go/spend that sort of money (on hols), and that we would lead a different (less adventurous?) life in the UK. (That's what I am trying to avoid by going to France ... ie I am trying to force us into leading a more challenging life!) No plan is perfect, so I am ready to live with some risks/disadvantages/losses/mistakes, but I do need to make sure we are not making too big a mistake if we buy in France, because our finances will be getting tighter once we are retired and any losses cannot be recouped. I do feel very sorry for some expats we have met who are currently trying to sell their own retirement dream houses, as they often look quite worried and demoralised. They are holding out for a sale/good price but I wonder how long they can do this once one of them (or both) is no longer enjoying it? (They probably always assumed they could sell and cash in whenever they wanted to, but that boat has sailed.) I know that could be us in 10-20 yrs' time if we are not careful and that our losses could be more than theirs, as mostly they had bought when prices were a lot lower. We made one offer, (of €425k), on a house which was first offered for sale at just under €700k, then reduced down in stages to €510k. Our offer was rejected. We thought about offering more but in the end got cold feet. So it will be interesting to see if they can sell for more than €425k. It was a very nice house (so seems worth the money on the face of it), but it needed some maintenance and I was quite worried we would not find a buyer when it was our time to sell up. Without expat buyers, think most locals cannot buy a house like that as the salaries are not high enough. But maybe I am wrong? Maybe I am being too pessimistic?
  13. Hi there, Sorry if I am being dim, but I am another one who cannot find an EDIT button! So I can't edit any of my posts once I have posted them! I have checked my PROFILE and I ticked the RICH EDIT option there and saved it. After doing this, I did see more editting options for making a new post or for replying to a post, but there was still no sign of an EDIT BUTTON. It seems (from reading other posts) that there should be a button in the Right Bottom Corner of the post? (But I have never seen one.) FYI, I am logged in and the post I am trying to edit was posted today ... so this is not a case of trying to edit a very old post. Any idea what am I doing wrong? (Maybe my member name is not allowed to edit?) It's not a big deal ... I am just annoyed that I can't work it out. But maybe it's not my fault even? (Maybe it's a system problem?) Can anyone help me/offer any advice? (Thanks for reading.)
  14. Thanks whalebone. That's very interesting. I am not surprised that the French housing market is still in such trouble, but I am a litte shocked at how bearish the report is! Good to know what the future may hold, but this is quite depressing news for me, (and my OH), as we (like you) are looking to buy in France, and we really would like to buy something in the next year or two. (So we can enjoy a little adventure before we get too old/frail!) We are looking for a retirement house and think we might live there for 5-15yrs (depending on how much we like it) then move back to UK. Obviously, if we love it we can stay there forever, if we can manage, but realistically I guess there will be a time when we want to go 'home' to the UK. We were already aware that house prices were quite static in (rural) France and probably continuing to fall (from highs about 5 yrs ago?) and that cheeky (low) offers might now be considered. (And as asking prices still seem relatively high.) We have already accepted that we are probably going to lose (some of our retirement) money just to go & live in France a while, as we will not be able to sell for more than we bought at, and as 10% of teh purchase price is immediately lost due to buying/selling costs. (Both are around 5% I think, so that makes 10% spent in total when we sell up.) Assuming we do not spend much on meaintenance/improvements and that prices stay the same/do not fall, we will lose at least 10% then & I can live with a 10% loss over say 10yrs, but I would be more worried if we risk a much larger loss. And I am especially worried about getting stuck with an unsellable asset. Even a nice rural house might well become unsellable if it is priced above the means of the employed locals while all the wealthy expats/retirees have decided they are no longer looking for a holiday/retirement home in France. (And that could happen ... cos President Hollande is doing a good job at putting them off?!) Btw, we are not interested in doing a house up to make money, (cos we are not into DIY or grand design style projects) and we don't want to do a gites business either. We just want to retire and live as modestly/simply as we can, within our pension income. Even if we WERE interested in gites, most properties in our price range (<€500k) which had them (or did chambres d'hotes) were too low in quality of accommodation IMO, so I couldn't see them getting any repeat business ... & maybe not even 2 nights in a row! (Or I am being too fussy?) I would have thought one would need to be in a really good location and/or be either top notch (very comfortable) or else very good value just to survive. (But I havent stayed in a gite or done chambres d'hotes so maybe I am wrong?) Back to the forecast of house price falls in France, if we buy a house soon, I think I could cope mentally a bit better with the prospect of a 15-20 yr period of slow decline, but this would mean we would probably be selling up at the lowest price point, having lost the max possible on our capital 'investment'? So maybe the 5-8 yr sudden drop would be better for us in the long run? (Get the worst over faster and then we could maybe see some small rises after that? ) What is your buying strategy? I see you want a holiday home,(not a permanent home like us), so I guess you are looking for a smallish place which is easy to get to, & easy to lock up? We want a 4-5 bedroom house with a pool/large garden, in good condition/winter-proof, near to some shops & <1.5 hrs drive to a decent airport (eg TLS or PAR) so that our adult children might decide to drop in for a holiday from time to time. We don't know many people in France at the moment, so assume it might be quite hard to integrate & that we will be very glad to have some visitors to break the long periods of solitude! I would give up on the idea of France and stay in the UK (as it would be cheaper & I love the UK) but I like the sun too much & assume/hope there would be a bit more of it if we were in the SW of France somewhere. Also I would like to challenge my (aging) brain by having to adapt and speak French and not spend too much time shopping and watching TV. There are some other quite complicated factors in favour of us settling in France for a period, (which I won't go into here), so I think we will have to do it (no matter what) and therefore I really will have to make sure we don't over-pay, as we are going to get screwed anyway. (So we will need to prepare for damage limitation by driving a very hard bargain?) It won't be nice, (being mean on the price) but I think we can't afford to be soft as prices will fall. (Might mean more owners will hang on and on, and refuse to sell to us tho?)
  15. That report is too complicated ... at least for me whalebone ... so can you possibly give a summary (from this report) of where future prices might be going in France?
  16. Christmas greetings from me to all HPCers! FYI, Mr Whocares,Master Whocares & I are throwing caution to the wind here by having some festive lights on DURING DAYLIGHT HOURS and a roasting a whole chicken in celebration. (Hang the expense eh?!) Love from whocares. (I DO actually care, after all?!)
  17. Wow! Thanks for the background info redwine. Rural France seems full of mystery and intrigues! Thanks also to Democorrupcy - I just managed to get France24 (French). Sorry (everyone) that I find posting quite hard! I can just about manage to post a reply, but I can't see how to edit an existing post of mine if I mess up! (The format changes completely when I am logged in so I usually don't bother, find it easier to browse as a guest and only login to view certain links or to post, which is rare.) How does one get one of those emoticon faces on here? ( Confused smile ) <img style="border-style: none; vertical-align: text-bottom;" title="Confused smile" alt="Confused smile" src="http://gfx1.hotmail.com/mail/w4/pr04/ltr/emo/confused_smile.gif" height="19" width="19"> Did I do it (above)?
  18. Glad to see you back online Redwine. I was wondering where you were and hoped you were OK. I always read your posts as I am interested in buying in SW France. I think are bad in France at the moment, and might be about to getting even worse, so I am being cautious and watching what's going on for now. Not about to buy but still interested in buying one day. The French estate agents I have met, (so far), try to put a brave face on, but things don't seem to be going too well and some admit prices are down/buyers market etc. Fewer sales and lower prices I am guessing. France still seems to me like a good place to retire, for a while ... nicer weather being the main attraction for me. (And for many others too?) The attraction certainly can't be that the cost of living in France is low as it doesnt seem to be low any more. But French rural houses are still relatively cheap ... and rural's fine for the retired and those who can work from home or commute. I remember you talking about Marcel in past posts. Was his death an accident? Or suicide? Or suspected murder? So sad (for him), of course, no matter what. Was he in some sort of French reality show? Did he have a cheating younger wife? It all sounds stranger than fiction. Is there anyway to watch any French TV online, (for free), so I can get my language skills up to a better standard and maybe get a little cultural taster at the same time? (Like iplayer for the BBC?) Just wondering.
  19. Have they taken into account repairs & maintenance? (It can add up over the years.)
  20. Thanks for this thread ... I just snorted with loud laughter. But isnt it a stuffed toy of some sort and/or a table decoration? (Still quite weird I grant you.)
  21. How rude of that estate agent! (You were only being honest. And I agree with you.) Maybe it shows that you hit a raw nerve?
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