Sunday, 22 April 2012

Plan early to avoid disappointment

There is a deal of good news for people looking to purchase property in France with three of the biggest lenders recently cutting interest rates and the current continuing strength of sterling against the Euro.   (Financial Times Money Section 14 April 2012)  However, it is all too easy to get carried away when property hunting and one useful exercise that you can carry out, even before arriving in France is to investigate exactly what funds you might be allowed to borrow.   With an approval in principle you will both be more certain of the price bracket in which you can search, but when the time comes to negotiate, this will also stand you in good stead in your sincerity as a purchaser.   Bear in mind that the process of applying for a French mortgage can take many weeks and so it is always worth getting the ball rolling early.   Of course, mortgage rates and conversion rates will always fluctuate, but by understanding exactly what may be on offer to you you will have cleared the first hurdle of the buying process.

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Flights to Normandy

For London and Home Counties based property hunters looking for a convenient route direct to Normandy, Cityjet has now extended what was originally a summer service between London City Airport and Deauville.

Flights depart London at 12.30 on Fridays with return flights leaving Deauville at 19.05. Being just 10 mins by road from Deauville and Trouville, 20 mins to Lisieux and 40 mins to Caen this is an ideal point from which to start your property viewing trip. Remember, if you have asked us to undertake a search for you, we will come and collect you from the airport.

The company hopes to add further flights to the schedule as the year progresses. Check the Cityjet website for full details.

Thursday, 12 January 2012

France 2012

With Christmas and New Year celebrations now behind us but the warmer weather still some way in the future, for those thinking about purchasing a property in France these early months of the year are often spent surfing the internet looking at properties and starting to make plans for viewing trips.

However, many francophiles will be looking forward to the France Show this coming weekend - 13th to 15th January. In an age when increasingly information comes via ever sophisticated websites, the opportunity to talk face to face with people who have already made the move and have the experience to help is a valuable one.

French Entrée's network of property finders will be amongst the exhibitors, ready to explain how our service can make your search less stressful and your viewing trips more effective. Please come and find us on Stand 207.

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Chimney sweeps - more than just a clean chimney?

The last few months for this property finder have been somewhat overshadowed by my own house move, the moving date neatly coinciding with a 12 inch fall of snow here which persisted in our garden for nearly three weeks. The challenges of starting to work on a 300 year old stone property are considerable but I am hoping to turn some of my experiences to good advantage and share a few useful tips.

While not always the case, it is often in the small print of house insurance policies that chimneys are swept on an annual basis here in France. Obviously it is good practice, especially for chimneys that are in regular use, but there are hidden benefits to this as I discovered earlier this week. Your chimney sweep should not only be able to clean your chimneys but he may also be able to advise on any defects that are not apparent to the naked eye, certainly from ground level. Capping off of chimneys, installation of cowls, closure plates etc will all make your home more comfortable to live in and ensure that your heating bills are paying for heating the house and not the air outside. My sweep has a state of the art camera that he can use to check out any potential problems within a chimney or flue - although I’m not sure how much I’m looking forward to seeing these particular pictures when he returns to sweep our remaining chimneys in a month or so!

On 1st January 2011 a mandatory DPE (diagnostic de performance energetique) for all properties for sale or long term rental was implemented. This report gives both energy consumption details (which must now be displayed on all property sale particulars in France) along with CO2 emissions. With this in mind, a visit from your chimney sweep could well prove exceptionally good value.

Saturday, 24 July 2010

Bayeux Braderie

The annual Bayeux Braderie is timed to fit neatly into the middle of the month long summer sale period. As with most matters in France, sales too are ruled by legislation and paperwork and shops may only hold full sales during specified dates (normally January to early February and late June through to the end of July). So the Braderie is just one more opportunity for shops to capitalise on this and display their goods out on rails, trestle tables etc along the length of the High Street. Also a chance to sell off shop fittings and sometimes personal goods (such as the four cane chairs which we felt were just too good a bargain to miss!) All these sit side by side with more typical market stalls which have been set up specially for the two day event. A real mixture then of market, vide grenier and summer sales – a shopper’s delight.

Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Return of direct flights to Calvados

At the end of last week CityJet launched its new service to Deauville. With the demise of Skysouth early in 2009 Calvados had been left without an airport offering direct flights to the UK.

Now Calvados is closer than ever with the flight from London’s City airport taking just an hour. The service currently operates two flights a day each way on Mondays, Thursdays, Fridays and Sundays with prices for a one-way trip starting at £59.

Deauville and Trouville offer a huge variety of property choice for prospective purchasers, whether it be for a chic holiday apartment, for investment or for a permanent move. But don’t just take my word for it, book a flight and come to see for yourself. And of course, if you would like any help or advice that is exactly what I am here for.

Friday, 25 June 2010

The French Lunch Hour

…. or, 90 minutes or two hours. In many larger towns and cities shops closing for a period anywhere between midday and 14.30 may be less common these days, but here in Bayeux, as in most of Calvados, businesses close for lunch for at least 90 minutes, except of course for those most important to the French; that’s boulangeries and pharmacies but not banks!

This is one of the practicalities of day to day living in France that many newly arrived from the UK find somewhat exasperating and difficult to come to terms with. However, it does have its advantages: roads and motorways are quieter, parking over the lunch period is normally free, out of town supermarkets remain open but will be less busy – although the pay-off for this may be far fewer checkouts open.

But this week it has taken on a greater significance for me. With the start of building work on the former car park adjacent to my apartment uncannily coinciding with the start of our current bout of glorious weather, never have I been so appreciative of the long lunch hour. It is an all too brief opportunity to throw open the windows and balcony doors while we too have lunch before the unwelcome hour of 14.00 approaches and all must be closed again to protect ourselves from the thunder of pile driving and excavations that will continue through the summer afternoon.