Monday, 19 December 2016

The France Show 2017!

http://www.thefranceshow.com/


The France Show returns from 27-29 January 2017 at Olympia, London.

From 10am-5pm Friday and Saturday & 10am-4pm Sunday enjoy a great French day out in the heart of London!

A selection of our properties are being presented by our partners Foremost Property Group on Stand P311.  Our very own Nigel Cowles will be attending the show - you can book to see him in advance by sending an e-mail to nigel@allez-francais.com

A limited number of free tickets are available - email Rebecca for more details!  rcb@fcgworld.co.uk


Friday, 16 December 2016

New air service from Paris to Birmingham, UK

Tickets are now on sale for a new air service between France and the UK.

Spanish low-cost airline Vueling has announced it will start flights between Paris-Orly and Birmingham Airport from March 2017. The first flight will take off on March 26, and it is expected that some 69,000 passengers will use the service in the first summer alone.

The airline - part of the International Airlines Group which also owns British Airways, Iberia, and Aer Lingus - said the new service would operate four times a week initially, before increasing to six flights a week from June.

Birmingham will become the second UK destination that the airline serves out of Paris-Orly, after it began flights to Edinburgh in March 2016.

In May 2016, it also started a service to Gatwick from Charles de Gaulle.





Thursday, 15 December 2016

What could affect the euro in 2017?


The euro has had a turbulent existence since its introduction to the open market between 1999 and 2002. In the early days, the single currency benefitted from a prolonged period of global economic boom and hit highs of $1.59 and £0.95 in 2008.

The credit crunch of 2008/9 took its toll on the common currency and it fluctuated in the following years on news of bailouts, bond buying programmes and banking crisis’ from around the world until about mid 2014 when it fell considerably against its major counterparts. Since 2014, it has remained largely suppressed except when compared to GBP following the Brexit vote.

Whilst most of the continent’s financial issues remain, political pressures have been the main drivers of 2016 and look set to remain in 2017. Everything kicked off with the shock vote on June 23rd for the UK to leave the EU and was cemented later in the year when Donald Trump was elected president of the USA. Both of these votes fell victim to a hangover of issues that have not really been solved since the fall of Lehman Brothers in 2008, not sound political or economic reason. A growing feeling of inequality culminating in a ‘vote for change.’

A similar theme ran true on 4th December in Italy as constitutional reforms were voted down convincingly by the people. In contrast, on the same day, Austria voted down the anti EU far right Freedom party in their presidential election. Had the Austrian’s voted for Norbert Hofer, EUR could be going into 2017 considerably weaker.

So what could affect the euro in 2017?


20th January 2017 – Donald Trump Inauguration

Expected to be positive for the euro

Whilst no policy decisions will be announced on the day, the world’s press and investors will be looking for any indications given in Trump’s inauguration speech. The day itself is more about ceremony and the passing of power from Barack Obama to Donald Trump. However, January 20th officially marks the beginning of Trump’s time in the White House. Most presidents would look to release policy decisions officially through the correct channels. However, as we have seen so far from the President-Elect, can we expect to see some policies leaked in late night Twitter rants giving the market early indicators?

What we do know is that during his election campaign, Trump won votes off the back of having an expansionary financial plan. The markets have moved already in preparation for expected higher spending and therefore inflation. Riskier assets (including European) have gained as investors seek higher returns. Could this be a return to the ‘Reaganomics’ of the 80s? In short, probably a more muted version, yes.

Overall, assuming trade embargoes against the EU are not implemented, Trump will have a positive effect for the EU in 2017. Beyond could be a different question.

15th March 2017 – Dutch General Election


Expected to be negative for the euro

The Dutch election in March is another landmark event in the European calendar that could put a nail in the EU’s coffin. The Party for Freedom (PVV) and its leader Geert Wilders are ahead in some polls currently. Mr Wilders would like to take the Netherlands out of the EU as soon as possible because of Angela Merkel’s ‘stupidity.’ Due to the Dutch voting system, he is unlikely to win enough support to form a government outright, leaving some kind of coalition situation.

It is worth pointing out that Mr Wilders was put on trial for inciting racial hatred and discrimination because of his position against Islam. Although found not guilty, he is a highly divisive character. If he is voted in or is asked to form a coalition government, it will be negative for the euro as it creates uncertainty. We all saw what happened to the pound after Brexit.

End of March 2017 – Brexit


Expected to be negative for the euro, but positive for the euro against the pound

Theresa May has a self-imposed deadline to invoke Article 50. Once the process is started, sterling is expected to fall against the euro. Uncertainty over the uncoupling process will inevitably weaken GBP. This could go on for an extended period of time as negotiations are delayed by other countries having elections and other internal issues to sort out. The UK could find itself at the back of the queue.

23rd April – 7th May 2017 – French Presidential Election


Expected to be positive for the euro

Similar to the Dutch election, any move towards the right could be seen as a negative for the common currency. Marine Le Pen, leader of the Front National, is expected to gain popularity but not enough to make an assault on the top spot.

Francois Fillon is the favourite to win the election. The centre-right candidate’s rhetoric regarding the EU is resoundingly positive for the bloc. Fillon has stated he wants a ‘sovereign France in a Europe respectful of nations.’

Should the vote go against Fillon, and Le Pen becomes President, it would be a seismic event for the EU, but not as bad as Merkel losing in Germany.

Unknown, but could be Q2 2017 – Italian Election


Expected to be negative for the euro

Currently, the next Italian election is due in Q1 2018. However, Matteo Renzi has resigned following his defeat in the constitutional referendum that was held on Sunday 4th December. Although his resignation has not yet been accepted, a replacement needs to be found. Calling an election would be a shock to the system and add to the uncertainty already surrounding the Eurozone.

Latest polling has the Democratic Party marginally ahead of Five Star Movement, an anti-establishment party with anti-EU sentiment. With the polls so tight and momentum building against Renzi and the Democratic Party, we could see another nation fall to the ‘vote for change’ agenda sweeping the globe. If the Five Star Movement were to win, expect to see a Brexit style referendum possibly before the end of the year.

September – October 2017 – German Federal Election


Expected to be positive for the euro

Germany is the undisputed powerhouse of the Eurozone. Any outcome in their election will have an accentuated effect on the single currency because of this.

Angela Merkel and the Christian Democratic Union currently has a 10-15 point lead over the Social Democratic Party. Whilst there is an undertone of anti-Merkel and anti-EU feeling in Germany, the overriding sentiment right now is strongly in her favour. This does not look like it will be changing anytime soon unless the inflow of 1 million migrants in the past year comes back to bite her.

Should the vote go against Merkel however, it would be disastrous for the single currency and the European Union as a whole.

Probably Q4 2017 – European Central Bank Extending Bond Buying Programme


Expected to be negative for the euro

The ECB just extended its current bond buying programme to end in December 2017. With the EU in its current state, it is highly likely Mario Draghi will look to extend this again. Perhaps with some tapering on the amount of bonds bought every month. If he does, the euro will weaken as printing money reduces the value of the current currency in circulation.

Anytime in 2017 – Italian Banking Crisis


Negative for the euro

The Italian banking system currently has a huge hole that needs to be filled. The country’s biggest lenders’ books are full of Non-Performing Loans (NPLs). NPLs are loans and mortgages that have been given to companies and households with no way to repay them. The Italian banks have not yet written them off against their books but are estimated to be 45-50% of the original value.

In July’s ECB stress tests of 51 major European banks, the hole is estimated to be €360bn in bad debts with Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena the worst affected. With no solution currently in sight, this could bring the country to its knees. Especially if timed with a snap election.
Conversely, if a solution is put in place it would support the euro.

Anytime in 2017 – Greek Debt (and other issues)


Negative for the euro

Greece’s current bailout regime ends in 2018 and will likely need extending. However, Greece is having issues accessing its latest phase of the current bailout funds agreed in August 2016. The Greek government are keen to access the funds and sell bonds before the ECB ends its bond buying scheme in March 2017.

However, terms of the current bailout package stipulate the Greeks meeting certain commitment to reform the country’s finances. At a Eurogroup meeting on Monday, Wolfgang Schäuble, the German Finance Minister, revealed differences over how well Greece has done in meeting its commitments. If this round of funding is not agreed, Greece could be in severe financial difficulty.

Many European countries still face huge structural issues such as high unemployment and financial difficulty. If a seismic event happens within the Eurozone, such as an Italian banking crisis or further Greek debt issues, there is still risk of contagion. This could spread like wildfire through the weaker European economies and destabilise the euro.

What does this all mean for investors?


2017 will be a year of great change in the EU with many national elections and Article 50 being invoked by the UK. Buying opportunities will be created for investors all over the world. In fact, many investors will potentially look to rebalance entire portfolios to match the brave new continent. Opportunities will appear both in the foreign and the domestic markets.

As we expect the market volatility to continue throughout 2017, it is important to stay in touch with your Foremost Currency Group Broker.

Here at the Foremost Currency Group we can act as your eyes and ears on the markets to help you find the opportune timing to make the most of your currency. We have a number of different contract options to help safeguard your funds against adverse market movements. One of these being a Forward Contract whereby you can lock in an exchange rate for a future settlement date by simply placing a small margin against the trade.

If you would like to speak with your professional, knowledgeable currency specialists please get in touch for a free, no obligation consultation.

Tom Hampton
Head of Corporate Dealing
01442 892060

Tom Hampton is Head of Corporate Dealing at Foremost Currency Group and Foremost Markets. Tom is available to discuss any aspects of this article with readers.

Thursday, 1 December 2016

Cash-back offer



We appreciate that market conditions are difficult for some buyers, and therefore we are offering an incentive, in the form of a cash-back deal to encourage people looking to sign for their French house during the 1st half of 2017.


The value of the cash back will be based upon the final amount paid for your property. We will be able to give confirmation of the figure at the time that you sign a Compromis de Vente. The cash back will be in the form of a reduction in the agency commission fees. See scale below (full details upon request):




So to increase your chances of benefitting from this deal, let us know in plenty of time ahead of your visit, so that we can schedule adequate time in our diaries, and send us links to your favourites (listed with other agents as well). We may be able to save you both time and money if we can “block book” viewings and save you travelling time to other agents. For example on one property that we have listed between 300,000 and 350,000, our price is already 2,500 € cheaper than rival agents and with the cash back offer for another 750 €, that makes a significant combined saving of 3,250 €. Worth having n’est pas?!

For more details please email me sales@allez-francais.com

Saturday, 26 November 2016

A bit of banking help …

RIB stands for relevé d’identité bancaire, which means ‘statement of banking identity’, or put more simply your bank account details.

It is a pre-printed form combining your bank account number, sort codes for both national and international transactions.

The codes printed on the RIB are used whenever you need to set up regular payments either from or to your bank account. It is really good idea to have a few to hand, which your bank can supply free of charge, or you can print off on-line. Cheque books will include several RIBs that you can easily tear out and use.



RIB example courtesy of the Societé Générale website



A French cheque book is known as a chéquier or a carnet de chèques, and a cheque is called a chèque. French cheques are not formatted in the same manner as those in the UK, so you may need some help about how to complete one…..
Cheque example courtesy of the Credit Agricole website


Friday, 18 November 2016

Down South

Seduced by the south-west? You’re not alone – but choosing a specific househunting location can be tricky. How to narrow your search area with tips on climate, community and value for money - my article featured in the November issue of French Property News.

http://www.allez-francais.com/sites/default/files/af_in_media/fpn_nov_16_location_-_south-west.pdf

Many visitors to France fall under its spell, entranced by the relaxed lifestyle, superb weather, fabulous countryside, mouthwatering food, good-value wines... I could go on and on. They then start thinking about buying a house here: sometimes as a maison secondaire, but often as a main residence and an alternative to the bustling lifestyle in the UK, and also because France offers so much more for your money. Even within a target area such as ours (the south-west) there are so many variations and options to explore – but before your visit, you need to do your homework.

France has recently redefined its regional maps and, as a consequence, new regions have been created and old names have started to be used. The former regions of Poitou-Charentes and Aquitaine have been merged to form Nouvelle Aquitaine, while Midi-Pyrénées has been absorbed into the large region called Occitanie. To confuse matters, Occitanie includes Languedoc-Roussillon which previously fell into south-east France.

Decision time

What could influence your choice of area? The most important decisions perhaps concern how near to the coast you want to be, how rural or how much part of a community, and the climate that you desire. France has several microclimates and some areas can have significantly better temperatures or rainfall levels than neighbouring towns. It is also important to consider communication systems and the proximity of airports, ferry ports, rail services and motorways.

I think it’s fair to say that the popularity of Poitou-Charentes boomed in the period 2001-2006 as the area was opened up to UK buyers with cheap flights into La Rochelle, Poitiers and Limoges, plus an excellent TGV service. Importantly for buyers, though, the area is well south of the Loire Valley, often considered the threshold for better weather.

One other important factor that many buyers consider is value for money. Limousin is popular for this, an area of real beauty bordering the Massif Central. But beware: there is a world of difference between ‘cheap’ and ‘value for money’, and there’s normally a reason for prices in one area being substantially lower in comparison to a neighbouring area. The weather in northern parts of the department of Corrèze, for example, is strongly influenced by the proximity of the Massif, with towns such as Treignac and Uzerche getting their share of snowfall and frosts in the winter months.

Further south in Beaulieu-sur-Dordogne, for example, the climate is much softer, hence the town and surrounding area are known as the ‘Limousin Riviera’. Non-savvy buyers could be tempted to buy what appears to be a ‘bargain’ property an hour or so north of Beaulieu, which looks on the face of it a very comparable property for a significantly lower price. But they could be paying over the odds due to regional price variations, and face difficulties in the future when they come to resell. An example of an attractive purchase in Limousin representing good value for money is a pair of houses near Meyssac for €375,000. The property offers rental income potential, a lovely pool area, and there are six Plus Beaux Villages within a 30-minute drive.

Another good-value area of south-west France is the Périgord Vert, consisting of 78 communes, mostly in the Dordogne, with a large part comprising the Parc Naturel Régional Périgord-Limousin. The park covers a surface area of 1,800km2 and is fed by three great rivers: the Vienne, the Charente and the Dordogne.

Due to the variations in elevation (85-556m above sea level), the park possesses different natural habitats such as moors near Champagnac-la-Rivière, bocage (mixed woodland and pasture), meadows near water courses and wonderful forests of principally chestnut and oak. South of Mareuil you encounter heathland and dry grassland, and there are also lots of little pools and lakes.

The climate in the park is temperate but it can show local variations: in the north-east the climate is generally continental, whereas in the south-west it is maritime. Some protected south-facing slopes can even possess a sub-Mediterranean climate, so local knowledge is important and can make a big difference. We are currently marketing a 19th-century farmhouse, renovated to the highest standard and set within a tranquil corner of the Périgord Vert. In addition to the five-bedroom principal house, this property also offers a renovated guest cottage, pool, landscaped gardens, 350m2 barn (incorporating a garage and workshop), stable block with hayloft above and some two hectares of land – all for under €800,000.

Old favourites

One safe way to choose a location is to opt for the popular spots of Charente or Dordogne, which have been favourites with British buyers for decades. Charente is, in fact, one of the original 83 departments created after the French Revolution in March 1790. Cognac and pineau are two of the area’s renowned products – along with butter – but, for many visitors, the lasting impressions are of the superb fields of sunflowers that dominate the rolling countryside. The vines of the Grande Champagne are also a wonderful sight, and there is even a university in Segonzac to help students learn how to taste cognac. Visit it and you will be invited to taste five samples of different ages and, to cap it all, you will leave with a certificate awarded by the university.

Prices around the most popular Charentaise towns of Cognac, Jarnac, Barbezieux and Angoulême tend to be highest, so you need to go more rural to find better value for money. One property that we have previously sold and that is now available again is a modern house near Vouzan, 10-15 minutes’ drive east of Angoulême. An immaculately presented bungalow, it boasts four to five double bedrooms, a magnificent terrace overlooking the gardens and a pool, available for €399,995. Buyers in Charente should be aware of existing wind farms and the plans tobuild more in some areas. Some agents disclose where the planned projects are while others can be economical with the truth – windmills do certainly impact upon price, but quite to what extent is difficult to prove.


Love it or hate it, Dordogne is probably the number-one destination for our buyers. The ‘Dordogneshire’ nickname was actually given to the area around Eymet following a large influx of British buyers. Today, Eymet is home to 2,500 permanent residents, of whom roughly 25% are British. Budget flights arrive at nearby Bergerac and Bordeaux airports and passengers holiday in the hundreds of gîtes that dot the area. The countryside here is pretty, the climate hotter than at home, the food famous (foie gras is a local speciality) and the Bergerac and Bordeaux wines plentiful and of good quality. But in persuading people to stay for good, the first and most important factor is the price of property. Here you can buy a beautiful six-bedroom maison de maître in a market town such as St-Astier, complete with a successful four-bedroom rental business, for a recently reduced price of
€699,300. Such properties, in a town and close to all facilities such as schools, shops and restaurants, are hard to find for this budget.

If your budget is smaller, how about an enchanting woodland cottage with three bedrooms, in a tranquil setting with the chance to get close to deer, wild boar and woodpeckers? A woodland path provides a mesmerising walk to the pond among oak and beech trees, and this area is a delight in the spring with an abundance of wild flowers including primroses, violets and bluebells. In summer there are wild strawberries and in the autumn many varieties of mushroom including the highly prized cèpes – the Périgord summed up perfectly, all for €269,999.

Climate and community

France does occasionally experience extreme weather, so be wary of areas that come under the influence of strong winds such as the Mistral and Tramonte; the latter affects the coastal region from Perpignan to Narbonne, created by the difference in pressure between the cold air of a high-pressure system over the Atlantic and a low-pressure system over the Mediterranean. The high-pressure air flows south, gathering speed as it moves downhill, and is funnelled between the Pyrénées and the Massif Central. One area near the Massif Central has experienced a 41°C difference between its minimum and maximum temperatures during a single day – this is quite an extreme, and will not suit many. Extreme high air temperatures can contribute to cardiovascular and respiratory disease, while pollen and other aero-allergen levels are also higher in extreme heat.

Village life in France can be a bit like turning the clock back 50 years in the UK: when you walk into a shop or bar, everybody speaks and acknowledges you. It gives you a chance to be part of a community. Be cautious about going too rural though, as you can easily become isolated, and think ahead to the future a little – you may be able to manage several flights of stairs today, but what about in 10 years’ time? Also don’t forget that French property buying fees will add around 15% to the property sale price (notaires’ and agents’ fees plus stamp duty), so it’s an expensive business if you get it wrong the first time.

The idea of living in the French countryside is certainly seductive, and working closely with a reputable agent can save you a considerable sum. Choose agents who live in the heart of the area where they operate and, as such, are part of the local community – their local knowledge can be an invaluable tool in your property search. A property in decent condition in a popular area is likely to be a better choice than an exceptional property in  a less desirable location; opting for the latter is one of the most frequent mistakes that buyers make in France. If possible, visit a shortlisted property several times at different times of the day, which will help to indicate factors such as traffic and sunlight. Bear in mind that the position of the sun varies tremendously as the seasons progress. Getting out of the car and walking around the immediate environs is also a top tip. This may give you an opportunity to meet potential neighbours, but will also give a better feel for what to expect from the environment, such as church bells, cockerels crowing or a railway line.

The recipe for success is research, research, research; location, location, location; and a generous pinch of a good agent. The reason for that ‘location, location, location’ saying is, simply, that it’s so vital to a buying decision that it should take up the top three spots on the list of things to consider!

Hopefully, you now have a better idea of what you need to be considering for your search. 


Wednesday, 16 November 2016

Le Beaujolais Nouveau est arrivé!



Part of the appeal of relocating to France is the availability and variety of sumptuous local foods and delightful wines. Beaujolais Nouveau – the cheeky little wine that caused so much excitement overseas in the 1980s – has never really gone out of fashion here. Recently there’s been something of a revival and the wine producers are ensuring that there’s a quality product behind all the hype.


Drinking a wine ‘young’ isn’t a new idea – in the case of Beaujolais Nouveau that’s around six weeks after harvesting the grapes. Traditionally, the light, cherry red wine was drunk to celebrate the end of the harvest or vendange. It’s made using the Gamay grape that was introduced by the Romans. To gain the Appellation d’Origine Contrôllée (AOC), the grapes must be harvested by hand and the wine produced using the whole grape, avoiding any bitterness from the skins. The date of the harvest will vary slightly, depending on when the grapes are ready. The wine is bottled 6-8 weeks later, rather than continuing the fermentation process until spring. It’s light, fresh and slightly sweet and is best consumed as a young or 'Primeur' wine before the following May.


Beaujolais Nouveau Day (this year on 17th November) is the official launch date of wines made from the same season’s harvest and is the third Thursday in November. Special events, parades, fireworks and tastings mark the occasion. The majority of the festivals are held in the Beaujolais region itself, the most famous being the five-day celebrations in the regional capital, Beaujeu.


Georges Duboeuf, one of the key Beaujolais producers, was instrumental in the energetic marketing campaign in the 1980s that saw the wine propelled to international fame with tagline, Le Beaujolais Nouveau est arrivé!   The traditional harvest celebrations were turned into a race to bring the first bottles of the new vintage to Paris after its release.


This cunning ploy succeeded beyond the wildest dreams of the marketers and négotiants. Suddenly there were races to bring back the first of the new season’s vintage to the UK, the USA and even Asia with competitors adopting unusual modes of transport and dressing up in the spirit of celebration. Wine drinkers around the world were enjoying Beaujolais Nouveau. However, inferior quality wines soon flooded the market and consumers weren’t impressed. Producers had to dump or distill their unsold wines.


In the latter part of the twentieth century, Beaujolais Nouveau also had to compete with the rise of reasonably-priced, quality sparkling wines, such as the Catalan Cava. Today there is a concerted attempt among wine producers to ensure that Beaujolais Nouveau is an appealing, quality product, worthy of the festivities that surround its annual launch.


Usually, ‘Nouveau’ wines are already in the supermarkets and wine merchants ready to be made available to a thirsty public at a minute past midnight – the official release time.


Critics’ opinions still differ in their appreciation – or lack of – for Beaujolais Nouveau. Some appreciate its zesty, youthful exuberance. Others – don’t.

I suggest that the only way to be sure is to try it for yourself!


Image credit Fotolia ©hcast

Saturday, 12 November 2016

Thank you!



12th November 2016 marks the 15th anniversary of the formation of Allez-Français.

During this time we have sold hundreds of houses, and given great service and advice to thousands of people.

A small and personal business, but big on initiatives and ideas. A huge thank you to all of our team, partners and customers.


Monday, 7 November 2016

Best French Mortgages


A recent Notaires report has shown that house prices outside of Paris fell again in the second quarter of 2016, although in contrast, sales reached their highest level since 2012. There is a strange phenomenon in the housing market in France currently, with house prices falling whilst sales are increasing, rather than soaring, as was described in one recent report. Most observers or commentators would attribute the "bounce" in activity down to historically low mortgage interest rates, which have now been consistently under 2% for the past year. When you combine the low rates with lower prices and property in France has once again become more affordable for many French households, and also overseas buyers.

However, in the domestic market, with the fundamentals in the economy showing few signs of recovery, the rise in activity is probably nothing more than a correction from three years of low sales. UK buyers have been hit by the falling £ over the last 12 months, as the cost of a home has risen significantly with the £ trading at 1.15 rather than as high as 1.40 odd.

The good news for buyers is that there will be no significant increase in prices in the near future. UK buyers would do well to consider using a Euro mortgage, even if they are comfortable cash buyers. We can arrange penalty free mortgages easily enough, and clients can opt to wait for Sterling to improve before repaying the mortgage in part or in full as they prefer. In choosing this option, you can actually choose your own exchange rate, rather than having it imposed upon you.

BEST FRENCH MORTGAGES

Rate Term LDV Notes
1.70% 20yrs 80% Rate fixed for the term
2.15% 25yrs 80% Rate fixed for the term
2.20% 20yrs 85% Capped rate for 7 years
1.50% 15yrs 80% Rate fixed for the term
1.85% 20yrs 80% Tracker Variable
2.60% 14yrs 75% Interest Only




More details from Peter e-mail sales@allez-francais.com

Friday, 28 October 2016

The Professionals


If you are buying property in France, you may well be unsure which, if any, professionals you need to use in your property transaction. Here is our brief guide to help you:

Accountant – you may be surprised to find this one on the list, but it may be beneficial to you if you purchase your house in the name of a SCI for example, or if you plan to run a business in France. A bilingual accountant can explain to you the most favourable way to structure your plans, and assist with your first returns.

Architect – The quality of French architects is generally very high, and you will need to employ one if you are considering a build of 170m² or above. Below this figure you can use someone who may not be qualified as an architect, such as a maître d’oeuvre, but you need to be careful about their competence. An architect can be a good steer to advise you on any major renovation project, and this is generally money well spent.

Currency expert – as a business, we always recommend our clients to use a currency exchange company if they need to switch currencies. The best FX companies will offer rates that are between 2.5 and 5% better than those offered by the High Street banks. Some clients are suspicious because they are not banks, and prefer to use their tried and tested bank. I recall one client from the Isle of Wight who purchased a property back in 2003, and chose not to use our currency experts. He got a truly rotten rate, and advised me that he had to stay with the bank out of loyalty. He subsequently sold and returned to the IOW several years later, and I reminded him to use our FX providers rather than the bank. Guess what – he used the bank and got an awful deal again. Some price loyalty!

Diagnostics – when you buy a French house there are an increasing number of professional surveys that must be provided by the seller as part of the sale process. The survey reports are provided to the notaire for annexation to the sale and purchase agreement and, ultimately, the deed of sale. These cover the following areas: - Asbestos, Lead, Termites, Energy Efficiency, Natural or Industrial Risks, Electrical Wiring, Gas Installations & Septic Tanks. Some of these are useful and some are pretty useless. They do give you some exact information about what you are buying though.

Financial adviser – too few buyers consult an adviser versed in both the UK & French financial systems. I think that advisers have a bad name because of fees / commissions. But today, fees are relatively low, and a good financial adviser can structure your investments so that you pay minimum tax, and perhaps even advise you about a better, more tax effective pension scheme. Sounds like a win / win to me, but few clients go down this route.

Insurance agent – many buyers take over the vendor’s existing insurance policy when they buy in France. But ask yourself – does this provide me with the cover that I need? A far better option is to speak to our bilingual assurance agents, who can offer claims service & schedules in English as well as French, plus discounts for multiple policies.

Notaire – if you are buying a French house then you will need a Notaire. These experts are generally very competent, but their skill sets do vary considerably. We tend to recommend bilingual notaires who are used to deal with English speaking clients. They will listen to your requirements, particularly with regards to succession, (what happens when you die), and structure your purchase accordingly. They will often prepare a Procuration (Power of Attorney for someone in their étude to sign on your behalf. They can also advise you about wills. You can appoint a separate Notaire to the vendor if you wish, at no extra cost. We generally advise against this, as frequently there is a bit of professional posturing, and there is no real added value.

Solicitor – just below 5% of our buyers instruct a solicitor to assist them with their purchases. Usually, they are buyers who feel rather insecure about the process that they are about to undertake, or have reservations about the transaction in some way. We have no objection to clients appointing a solicitor, but we do feel that they add little to the process, as pretty well everything that they do is covered by the Notaire. What they can do is add an element of conflict between buyer and seller, because they tend to be rather “picky” about small, and often insignificant details. As an example, one solicitor advised that his client was not prepared to sign as whilst the fixtures & fittings included in the sale had been fully itemised, we had not included door furniture, i.e. door knobs. The Notaire, unsurprisingly adopted a stance of “I am not being moved”, and the UK solicitor backed off. The buyer was appalled when we told them – they had no idea of how awkward their solicitor was being. They can also cause conflict with the Notaire(s), who also see their professional abilities being questioned. They do not come cheap, and I have yet to see one have a major input on the content of a Compromis de Vente in 15 years, so I suspect you could spend your money more wisely.

Surveyor – between 5 and 10% of our buyers decide to opt for a pre-purchase survey, as this is the “done thing” in the UK. Again, a report of this type does not come cheap, and there is normally a lot of small print about what is excluded. Bear in mind, an old C17th house will probably have a roof supported by beams that are literally trees, and follow the contours of the tree. If you want something absolutely squared and exact you probably need to look at a new build! Once again, many clients go down this route for “reassurance”, and then totally ignore what the report says because they love the property.

Personally, I think that the most important areas are to use a currency company to exchange into Euros, and consider using a financial adviser to point you in the right direction for the structure of your finances. A solicitor and surveyor are really only necessary if you really feel unsure about what you are doing. They come at a cost – and perhaps that money can be better invested elsewhere in your French house?





Thursday, 13 October 2016

Obtaining a French property valuation

Ask the Experts


"I have owned a house in Vendée for 16 years and am thinking of selling it. I recently had an estate agent give me a valuation and was surprised when I had to ask for a written quotation and was asked to bring in documents of proof of ownership for their files. I was expecting them to direct me to a notaire. I did ask about a notaire dealing with it but was told they would carry out the sale. Is this the normal thing in France?"

Peter Elias of estate agency Allez Français (allez-francais.com) replies:

There are many methods of estimating the value of a property in France. Fully qualified experts are known as experts immobilièrs and they charge for this service; by comparison, estate agents will generally provide a valuation free of charge.

Some agents – and this could be the case if yours is a modern property – want to see the ownership documents and then calculate the appropriate value from the square metre surface habitable of the property, based on local values.

By way of example, we tend to use a range of tools and knowledge to calculate a value. We would still want to see the proof of ownership documents demanded here, but we would visit the property to see its location and condition a first hand, and factor in matters such as the quality of renovation and the state of the kitchen, bathrooms and heating system. Proximity to airports, train stations, schools, shops and other services would also be considered.

Without a complete set of diagnostics, we are reluctant to advise accurately on price. How can you, for example, confirm a valuation if you do not know if the electrical installation is up to date, or the fosse septique conforms to the regulations? Unfortunately, some agents do offer assurances to their vendors despite not knowing the outcome of these reports.

Some notaires also as estate agents, but their advertising tends to be very limited and they may only find you a local buyer. You can of course appoint a notaire in addition to an estate agent if you wish.

You do not say whether this is a main residence or second home – if the latter, then capital gains tax could be another issue that needs to be taken into consideration.


This article is featured on page 84 of the October edition of French Property News.



Monday, 10 October 2016

Allez-Français Annual Conference


(Which could also be described as a team get-together!)

Our annual "reunion" took place on 7th & 8th October at the superb venue of Chateau Castel Novel on the outskirts of Brive. to a certain extent, this is a team building event, but also an investment in our agents, and a reward for their hard work. As well as the Banquet Dinner on Friday evening, we also visited the Denoix distillery for a tour of their facility on Friday afternoon.

The main goals of team-building are undoubtedly to improve productivity where possible and maintain or even improve motivation. By taking our agents out of an office environment really helps eliminate distractions, and for us all to share a bit of relaxation. Because we cover such a wide area of S W France, the number of times when we can really get together are very limited. This time we had the added bonus of being joined by Christian Perron, MD of JeSuisAgentImmobilier, plus Adam Bobroff & Tom Taylor at Foremost Currency.

As a company, we have been "licensed" as agents for over 10 years now, and this has always been a really good relationship. Foremost Currency have also been our "currency partners" for clients since their business was established over 10 years ago.

In a world where attention is constantly focused on making the client happy, some agencies forget about their most valued asset — their agents.

Afterwards the feedback was that the team realise how lucky they are to be part of a company that values every individual as a person and also as a team member. For us all, this was seen as an opportunity to ignite creativity and share ideas. At Allez-Français we have always encouraged / coached our agents to "run their own business as a business within our business", and we provide the proven business methods as a guide plus 1st class real estate systems (including software) which ultimately steers our agents towards success.

We are a small team, (5 couples), with no superstars, and no big egos. We share similar values, and have the same ideas about customer service, and how we present our company. It is important for us, that we use events like this to reinforce those values, and reward everyone, so that they feel special.


 



Friday, 30 September 2016

Guest blog: What moves exchange rates?



Yesterday proved to be a relatively quiet day for GBP crosses due a quiet week for economic data so far, and little headline news related to Brexit. GBP/EUR closed where it opened at 1.1600, and GBP/USD did little more only fluctuating within a 40pip range between 1.2990 and 1.3030.

GBP/EUR exchange rate graph for 28/09/16




In today’s report I am going to explain the process behind data driven rate movements, and how having a dedicated broker will add considerable value to your individual requirement.

There are so many factors responsible for the movement of exchange rates that it is impossible to focus on them all. When trying to foresee potential movements, the main culprits are economic data, major political news, natural disasters, and international incidents such as terrorism, with the most predictable of these being data. Those of you following the currency markets I’m sure will have witnessed sudden jumps on rate graphs and possibly thought to yourself “what has caused this vertical line?” More often than not ‘eco-data’ is the culprit.

Although eco-data is predictable in timing, it is not predictable in results. In the run-up to an eco-data release a consensus is published, providing an indication of what the release is expected to demonstrate. This figure is then accounted for and priced in to the market, often causing rates to move in anticipation during the few sessions preceding the announcement.

So why the sudden movements?

On release of the data should the actual figure differ from the predicted in either direction, you will almost always witness a market correction. Which direction this will be is entirely reliant on whether the number is better or worse than forecast, and its severity directly related to the magnitude of the difference.

Our Job for you

Our job here at Foremost Currency Group is not to predict these numbers, but to inform you of their approach, their significance, and in turn their potential to affect your upcoming transaction. Once you have spoken with ourselves, you will be assigned a dedicated account manager who will be your one point of call to guide you through the entire process from start to finish, and beyond.

We will spend as long as it takes to gain a full understanding of your requirements, including your time frames and appetite for risk, to then work with you to put a bespoke plan in place aimed at maximising your return, whilst ensuring you don’t get hit by a surprise adverse movement.

Get in contact

With the currency markets being one of the most unpredictable entities known. It is always worth having as many sets of eyes and ears on your side as possible. If you have an upcoming international transfer then there is no time like the present to get in contact with Foremost Currency Group. We have a range of contracts available to you, designed to protect your interests, and mitigate the inherent risk of a forever moving market. A

Dedicated contact

Allez-Français have 2 dedicated dealers in Adam Bobroff & Tom Taylor to secure preferential rates for our clients. Give us a call on +44 (0) 1442 892060 and mention Peter Elias at Allez-Français to get the best rates




Adam Bobroff

The Foremost Currency Group

+44 (0) 1442 892060




Thursday, 22 September 2016

Selling a manor house or château?



Allez-Français have for some time been involved with marketing high-end property and indeed we have our own Prestige website http://prestige.allez-francais.com where around 75 of the best properties are featured.

We are enjoying increasing success in this market sector, because we have very targeted marketing and we also spend more time preparing our properties before they are presented.

We are very keen to hear from you if you are thinking of selling a manor house or château in south west France.

Please email me sales@allez-francais.com




Wednesday, 21 September 2016

How to get the best exchange rates

Our partners Foremost Currency Group can help you achieve exchange rates up to 5% better than your bank may offer. In addition to better rates, you can also use our ‘Forward Contract’ to lock in the rate today, for a transaction up to 2 years into the future, simply by lodging 10% of what you need to convert. This protects you against the rate dropping away, and is very useful when buying overseas.

For example, once you have paid your deposit you may have a month or two until the balance is required for completion, during which time the exchange rate could change significantly. The Forward contract allows you to fix the rate for your completion, allowing you to budget effectively and know exactly what the property is costing.

To find out more, contact: Adam Bobroff, Director, The Foremost Currency Group and mention Allez-Français

amb@fcgworld.co.uk


Friday, 9 September 2016

Waterside properties

At present we have a selection of 8 stunning waterside properties for sale in south west France - take a look!

For full details of a particular property please visit our website or send me an email sales@allez-francais.com





Watermill with Equestran facilities (Haute-Vienne) http://www.allez-francais.com/property/R8568E


2 Stone houses with a lake (Dordogne) http://www.allez-francais.com/property/R8699


Country residence with 2 cottages (Dordogne) http://www.allez-francais.com/property/R8988


Town house with guest cottage (Vienne) http://www.allez-francais.com/property/N8975


Mill with gardens and outbuildings (Deux-Sèvres) http://www.allez-francais.com/property/N8953


6-bed retreat with its own lake http://www.allez-francais.com/property/N8789


Mill & gite complex (Charente-Maritime) http://www.allez-francais.com/property/D8629


Farmhouse with fishing lake and outbuildings http://www.allez-francais.com/property/D8328

 

Wednesday, 31 August 2016

Steady French property sales to UK buyers following Brexit vote

“Many of our UK-based clients who were already considering a move to France now feel uneasy about the UK and see its economy suffering,” he says. “For some, the vote to leave has cemented their personal desire to make the move to France happen. The sooner the better in most cases: many have brought forward plans for a five-year ‘escape’ and made it into a 12-month project.”

Read the full version of this article on page 10 of the September issue of French Property News

Tuesday, 16 August 2016

Selling a property in France – agency or private ?



I was recently asked about estate agencies in France and how selling fees are managed. Most agencies advertise their houses to include agency fees, (Price FAI) – as we do at Allez-Francais.

One or two agents advertise the property fully inclusive of all fees, (including agency & notary fees). However, this can be overly complicated, as prices may include fixtures & fittings, which would normally be excluded from notary fees.

Agency fees do also vary, sometimes quite considerably. Typically between 6 to 8%, which means that a house with a price net of 250,000 could be advertised anywhere between 265,000 and 270,000.

The agency fees are set out in the mandate which all agents have to have in order to market the property legally. The terms of the mandate will specify who pays the fees, either the vendor or the buyer, but in reality, because almost all properties are advertised to include the agency fees, it is effectively the buyer who pays.

There are a number of websites encouraging people to try and sell properties privately in France. On the face of it, this saves on agency fees and that money seems better off in the buyer's pocket than that of an agent.

However, not only can sales be slow, this can also be a huge mistake with legal and complicated repercussions. For example, items that should be listed in the Compromis de Vente (CDV) can be easily overlooked, and come completion day, the buyers are cursing their course of action as they haven’t got everything that they expected ... or worse.

On average, Allez-Francais fees are always highly competitive and we also offer the option of an exclusive mandat - which is of particular interest to any owners hoping for a quicker sale.

For details of the different Mandates we offer, please contact me sales@allez-francais.com

Saturday, 13 August 2016

Guest blog: The Complexity of Expat Finances



One of the biggest challenges that expatriates face when moving to and living in France is the complexity of expat finances. According to HSBC’s Expat Explorer Survey, 75% of respondents (9,288 respondents worldwide) say that their finances have become more complicated since they left their home country and this can be especially true in France with the complex inheritance and tax rules. Add to this, problems with understanding language and it can soon become difficult to know where to turn.

Many expats don’t consider all aspects of their finances before, during and after moving abroad; therefore making organising their financial affairs even more difficult than it needs to be. What are the common mistakes made by many?

1. Living beyond your means

The excitement of starting a life in a new location, integrating with the local culture, building or renovating a new home (always unforeseen expenses) and making new friends can affect your spending behaviour. How far does your income/investments go to cover this lifestyle? Am I planning far enough ahead for my/my children’s future?

2. Banking, local or overseas

It is of course imperative that you open a local bank account in your new country of residence to assist with your day-to-day financial needs. What then - what other needs do you have and what products are suitable for you now you are in France? Like in the UK, France has many tax efficient savings and investment solutions (Assurance Vie as an example).

Should I maintain accounts in my home country or consider alternative locations? It’s important to get this part right to ensure you are aligning everything in a tax effective manner and getting the best service/returns for your money.

3. Not getting your tax right

Many expats forget to inform their home country’s tax agency of their decision to move abroad, thus failing to change their tax status. In the UK, aspiring expats should inform HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) of their intention to move abroad and submit a completed P85 form. This is crucial for expats to ensure that they will not be sought after for tax, claim tax relief or any tax refund they are owed and become non-UK resident to avoid tax on certain incomes. If you are a UK expat and want to learn more about getting your tax right now you have moved abroad, visit HMRC’s website or speak to a regulated financial adviser.

4. Not researching the laws of inheritance in the country you are moving to

Every country has its own way of taxing people’s wealth after they have left this world. Leaving the UK, contacting HMRC and completing the P85 form does not remove your Inheritance Tax liability to the UK; but on top of this you are likely to have a liability on the assets you hold in the country where you now reside and this is certainly true in France, potentially up to 60% Inheritance Tax liability. Careful financial planning is required to ensure that you get to leave your wealth to your loved ones in the most tax efficient way possible.

5. Neglecting your pensions

Ok, so by this time you know how much you need (or know what you are spending) to maintain the lifestyle you have always dreamed of (or become accustomed to); you have the appropriate banking facilities in place and have notified HMRC in the correct manner; you have also looked into your inheritance tax obligations and fully understand what this is likely to look like for your family.

Next you would be advised to review your pensions; we have all been educated over our working careers that we must set aside monies to be able to live a comfortable life in retirement. So what should I do with what has been accumulated? How do the new Pension Reforms in the UK affect me? What options outside of the UK could have advantages such as QROPS etc.

6. Getting the services of unregulated financial planners

One mistake expats make is believing that their financial adviser is regulated in their new country of residence. You need to ask the question and complete your own due diligence; the Internet is a great place to start. If your financial adviser is regulated appropriately then you should be able to see this via the countries regulator; i.e. the Financial Conduct Authority in the UK or the Financial Services Commission in Gibraltar – this is not sufficient in itself if you live in a country outside of these – the Financial Adviser must have the relevant ‘Passporting’ permissions to provide advice in your country of residence – again this information should be well documented on the Regulator’s website.

7. Poor investment choices

Making poor investment choices is, to some extent, relevant to the previous mistake, which is getting the services of unregulated advisers, especially in countries with lax policies on regulation. Many expats make investment choices based on the advice of insufficiently regulated financial planners. It is imperative that you understand that your adviser is regulated, has the appropriate licences/permissions to advise you in the location you are in and hold sufficient Personal Indemnity cover. Failure to do so could leave you with a difficult task should it be necessary to complain about your investment choices/performance.

Do you recall your parents telling you ‘You made your bed, you lie in it’ – well it doesn’t quite have to be like that! You wouldn’t jump out of a plane without a parachute, so why continue without the necessary tools to help you make wise financial choices. The key, as always, is to educate yourself and to take control of your own financial future, but when your situation becomes too complex, you can always get the expertise of a planner to help you organise your finances in your native language. If you are an expat, or if you are just about to become one or have made these mistakes and need help organising your finances, speak to a qualified financial adviser.

Guest article by: Rosemary Sheppard
Blacktower Financial Management (International) Limited
Email: rosemary.sheppard@blacktowerfm.com
Website: www.blacktowerfm.com

Cycle for Life 2016

From 11 – 16 September 2016 a 300km cycle ride will take place alongside the Canal de Garonne from Bordeaux to Toulouse.

The event is organised to raise funds and awareness for Cancer Support France (CSF), a network of registered associations helping English-speakers in France (and their families) affected by cancer. Hundreds of trained volunteers provide a complete range of services and support, whether that's someone to talk to, someone to make home-visits, accompany or drive people to consultations, or simply translate.

We at Allez-Francais are very proud to be an official sponsor for this event in 2016, and our very own Nigel Cowles, agent for properties in the Charente area, might also be taking part !

Finishing in the pink city of Toulouse on Friday 16 September, the cycle ride is a flagship event for a new initiative - Activity for Life - and CSF associations will be organising events all around France. To find one near you, see http://activityforlife.fr/activity-for-life/events

Cycle for Life is a fun event and definitely not a race. Following the success of a similar event along the Canal du Midi in 2015, the organisers expect this to be a very social occasion with plenty of laughs at the lunch spots and bicycle banter along the way. The event is free to join, and participants can choose to take part in the full event, or cycle for just one or two days.

For more information or to sign-up, visit www.activityforlife.fr - or follow the updates on their Facebook page www.facebook.com/activityforlife


Wednesday, 10 August 2016

A “champagne lifestyle on a lemonade budget"



Fractional ownership offers a “champagne lifestyle on a lemonade budget” because it allows people to “own” an overseas holiday home on a relatively small outlay – a fraction of the overall cost.

As of today, we have some “fractions” for sale of apartments within a superb Chateau near to Limoges priced at just £36,000. The fractions also benefit from a 10 year Buy Back guarantee offered by the developer. Fractional ownership means that you literally own a fraction of the property, in this case 1/12th. This allows you to purchase something way beyond your normal means.

Please find below a summary of the deal:
  1. Price £36,000 (the price on our website is a guide in Euros, but the actual cost is in Sterling)
  2. Rental 2 years at 10% (Paid from day 1), then an equal share of the profit
  3. 150% Developer Buy Back option, year 10
  4. A minimum of 2 weeks has to be put into the rental scheme each year due to the leaseback scheme
  5. In first 2 years possible personal use for up 2 weeks and just pay for ownership costs for the weeks used and still get a rental return.
  6. Year 3 onwards receive an equal share of the rental profit and provided you offer at least 3 weeks each year into rental scheme – developer guarantee all costs will be covered or they pay the shortfall.

The properties for sale in this luxury golf and spa resort can be fully managed and maintenance free, offering buyers a hassle-free experience.


This leaves you free to relax and enjoy the amazing facilities exclusive to the retreat, including a professionally designed 18-hole golf course, world-class spa complex and even a luxury hotel with a fantastic restaurant.


See www.allez-francais.com/property/LIM-CH and also http://golf.allez-francais.com where there is also a fly through video of the resort.


Full details, viewing visits from £149 / person – contact me on sales@allez-francais.com




Tuesday, 2 August 2016

Fractional ownership near Limoges



A Fractional ownership opportunity at a Chateau in France for only £36,000

See http://www.halcyon-retreat.com/allez-francais-properties and also http://golf.allez-francais.com where there is also a fly through video of the resort.


Wyndham Halcyon Retreat is luxurious golf and spa resort for the entire family with a Louis XIII style hotel, the carefully renovated 17th century chateau, an 18-hole golf course and world-class spa. In addition, there will also be a selection of private residences throughout the resort available for ownership. The French properties for sale are located on beautiful grounds amidst lush countryside in the country’s stunning Lake District. Bordered by glistening lakes and an established arboretum and nestled into rolling open countryside, the location of the resort couldn’t be more perfect. Channel Four’s ‘A place in the Sun’ has named the Limousin region in France as the 5th best place to buy abroad due to its “beautiful scenery and quiet farming villages as yet relatively undiscovered”.

Spanning a massive 220 acres, the grounds of French chateau are dotted with tree-lined paths, glimmering lakes and manicured gardens. Bordered on one side by one of the country’s finest and best stocked fishing lakes and on another by an established arboretum, the setting of this chateau is amazing.

The main residence, the lavish and historic French chateau, has been converted into an elegant and character-filled luxury hotel with only 19 suites. The ground floor of the chateau, with its majestic panelling, period frescos and towering windows will be home to the Retreat’s grand reception room, luxury restaurant and Sommelier’s fine wine bar. The other floors offer luxury hotel accommodation with 19 suites.

The French spa will be the centrepiece of the resort. The unique and enchanting 16th century ‘Petit Chateau’, set in an idyllic plot, approximately 250 metres from the main residence, will be home to the resort’s exclusive spa. The Spa will be designed by the internationally renowned Spa design company Blue Spa. The property is set to become one of Europe’s top spa destinations. The 18-hole golf course will meander around the grounds and lakes with the last hole at the main chateau. There are two fully-stocked fishing lakes, the larger lake being one of the best fishing lakes in the region.

See http://www.allez-francais.com/property/LIM-CH and also http://golf.allez-francais.com where there is also a fly through video of the resort.

  • Choice of stunning lake view luxury rooms
  • 10% NET for 2 years immediate return-plus option to use up to 2 weeks and just pay costs
  • Equal share of the rental profit year 3 onwards
  • No ownership costs option. Use for 1 week and give 3 weeks back to rental scheme and we guarantee all your costs are covered and there is a shortfall the developer pays them.
  • Just £180 Fractional Ownership Charge (FOC) payable each year.
  • Furniture and completion costs included
  • Optional 150% Developer Buyback in year 10Fully managed
  • 12th Fraction of a luxury chateau room for just £36,000 (fractional ownership).
Discounted viewing trips available at £149, Subject to availability and terms conditions apply.
The chateau will be used as part of Wyndhams worldwide marketing campaign directing customers to the stunning chateau meaning higher occupancy and room rates and good news for all owners!

Tuesday, 26 July 2016

5 top tips for buying a property and moving to France

http://www.completefrance.com/home/5_top_tips_for_buying_and_moving_to_france_1_4607131
 
We have recently worked with one of the leading French property magazines to produce our 5 top tips for buying a property and moving to France.

You can check these out here :

http://www.allez-francais.com/sites/default/files/af_in_media/5_top_tips_for_buying_and_moving_to_france.pdf


It is always our goal with each client to build a really strong relationship that allows us to work for you. Most of the time we succeed, and we have great feedback from clients who become friends.

We try to keep our clients informed by various means, including of course telephone, e-mail and our monthly newsletter.   But we also take great pride in our Social Media channels, in particular Facebook & Twitter, where you will always find snippets of information, price reductions – always bang up to date.

Enjoy the summer, it looks like 30°C plus for us in S W France. But, as a word of warning, we do need plenty of notice for viewings, so please do not hope for something last minute ...!



Thursday, 21 July 2016

Brexodous Brexoditis Deprexit - Which one are you?


We have noted 3 categories of clients starting to emerge in the days post Brexit. It is true to say that many people are still in a state of shock, and some actually feel like they have lost someone close to them.

However, life goes on, and what will be will be. We need to adapt and change. The quicker that we deal with this, the more “normal” our lives become once again.

Brexodous

These are manly UK based clients who were already considering a move to France. The Leave vote came as a surprise to many, but what has also emerged is a degree of racial undertones that makes these people feel at unease with the UK. They see the UK economy suffering, perhaps a recession, but above all this vote to leave has triggered their personal desire to make the move to France happen. The sooner the better in most cases. Many have brought forward plans for a 5 year ‘escape’ to a 12 month project.

Brexoditis

These clients are those who are “sitting on the fence” to wait to see what happens. They are uncertain, (as we all are), about the future. Aspects such as Visas, healthcare and rights to work are holding them back from making a decision one way or another. To them, our message is be brave, if you want to own property in France, what realistically will actually change? The process will remain the same, the tax situation will remain the same. The only complications could be the possible need for Visas or Work Permits, but these were in existence before the EU, and UK citizens lived in Europe before. It just means that there will be an extra layer of bureaucracy to deal with, (and France are the World Champions there).

Deprexit

Some clients have taken the news really badly. A few commentators actually see them as emotionally depressed by the Leave vote. It has ended their French dream – one client told me that they wanted to be “European”, but did not feel that they could do that after the UK decision to leave. They felt ashamed. For many the decision has thrown up too many negatives, and that plus the weakened £ has been a crushing blow for them. They speak in terms of “rupture” and “fragmentation”, quite strong terms, but these are early days and nobody know when or even if, Article 50 will be triggered, which really is the start of Brexit.

Our medicine

We work closely with our clients, trying first of all to understand their hopes and aspirations, before then helping them achieve their goals. After a conversation last week with a 60ish year old, they thanked me for the time that I had spent going through their fears, which were largely over stated, and they had decided that life was too short to sit around waiting. They were going to control what they could and leave the rest to the politicians. Their decision was to move to France and take what comes with it. At the end of the day, there are no guarantees in life apart from death and taxes, (Benjamin Franklin). This saying comes from the letters of Benjamin Franklin where he states: Our new Constitution is now established, and has an appearance that promises permanency; but in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.

—Benjamin Franklin, in a letter to Jean-Baptiste Leroy, 1789. Rather appropriate today!



On the subject of great men and quotations, here is one from Winston Churchill, “Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference”. Can I ask you is your glass half full or half empty?




Monday, 11 July 2016

Brexodus?



After the Brexit vote, there is a suspicion developing that we are about to see a “Brexodus”.

An increasing number of clients have advised us over recent days that they are now “more committed than ever” to make that move to France.

Many comments such as "we don't like the direction the UK is heading and wish to move to another country and remove ourselves from the negative ethos being created in the UK."

"I wish to remain a European"

We have pulled together a help sheet of Q & A on the Brexit subject – available upon request via sales@allez-francais.com.

Remember, once Britain triggers Article 50 there is a period of 2 years in which to negotiate withdrawal from the EU and agreements with the EU countries.

During those two years Britain remains part of the EU and so in the short term nothing is going to change. Nobody seems very keen at the moment to pull that particular trigger, but plenty have "sharpened knives" in their pockets it seems.

It goes without saying that the answers to all of these questions depend upon the outcome of negotiations between Britain and the EU, nobody knows for certain what will happen.