Thursday, 26 March 2015

We sell real estate, but our business is people............

Very often our clients will change their minds as the options with properties become clearer to them. This is when our personal touch really sets us apart. We believe that our success is down to our ability to listen to our clients requirements and assess their needs.

Our motivation is the challenge of exceeding those expectations and ensuring the desired outcome for our buyers.

This video recently produced by VideoProFrance gives a better idea of how we work at Allez Francais.

Expats have nine months to 'clock in' or lose their state pension

If anti-fraud forms are not completed and returned within several months the Government will cut off ex-pats' pensions.

Since 2013 the Department for Work & Pensions (DWP) has been making expat pensioners fill in official forms to stop their friends and relatives fraudulently claiming their state pensions after they have died. If forms are not correctly filled out and returned within nine months, the DWP will assume pensioners are dead – and will stop their pension payments.

The forms are sent out on average every 2 years, however, officials send them out more frequently to expats living in countries defined as “high risk”. They have to be signed by the pensioner and witnessed by a neighbour. The requirement applies to the many countries, including France, that do not automatically share the relevant information with the UK.

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Selling a property in France? Estate agency fees and 'Mandats' explained

In the UK, it is more common for vendors to have a sole agent contract with their estate agent, and pay a slightly lower percentage in fees, than for a multiple agency. Here in France, the opposite is the case.

It is illegal for an agency here to advertise a property without a valid mandat, and it is also normal for the agency to have a simple diagnostic check carried out to confirm the energy efficiency (DPE report) for the property.

The mandat sets out quite specifically who pays the fees (buyer or seller), and the details of the property being sold. Good agents will describe the property in reasonable detail, and include land parcel numbers.

The mandat also needs to be signed by all parties involved in the ownership. We sometimes come across examples where an estate agent has only obtained a widow’s authority for a mandat, when in reality, if there are, say, three children by their marriage, the three children should also sign the mandat and subsequent paperwork. Without this detail, the agent could be doing an awful lot of work for nothing

There are three types of mandate, which are outlined as follows:

Mandat exclusif: Exclusivity means that no other agent may sell on your behalf and nor may you sell direct during the period of exclusivity, which lasts a minimum of three, months and unless cancelled continues until the conclusion or expiration of the contract.

Mandat semi-exclusif: Semi-exclusivity means that no other agent may sell on your behalf during the period of semi-exclusivity but that you may find a buyer by your own direct means (word of mouth, or private advertising, for example) with the proviso that you then pass that client to the agency to take care of the sale. In this case the commission is halved. The period of semi-exclusivity is likewise a minimum of three months and unless cancelled continues until the conclusion or expiration of the contract. This type of mandat is only to be recommended for those able to put the time and budget into their own advertising. It also saves you becoming involved directly in the price negotiations with a buyer.

Mandat simple: The mandat simple is the non-exclusive type of mandat and means that any other agent may sell on your behalf, or that you may still find a buyer directly yourself and you are not obliged to have an estate agent deal with any of the formalities if you do so. In this case you have the opportunity to go with multiple agencies and your property will be seen by more potential buyers as a result.

However, a word of caution – do not make the mistake of instructing too many agencies. Agents charge different fees and as a result the property will appear at different prices, often on the same websites, which can give mixed messages to buyers. Two or three agents at the most should suffice.

If you want to cancel your mandat you will need to do so in writing by recorded delivery, and this is not normally possible during the first three months.

When choosing an agent to sell your property it is wise to check their website first of all, since over 90% of buyers make their initial viewing decisions online. A good website should be easy to navigate, have quality images, and perhaps floor plans or video. Believe it or not, some agents are slow to respond, even when the market is quiet. Your agent should offer good internet exposure via their own website, plus the use of quality international portals. You want to offer your property to buyers of all nationalities, not just the British or French.

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Now is the time for Britons to buy property in Europe

Jim Mellon, Britain's answer to Warren Buffett, says the euro has hit the bottom and now is the time for Britons to buy property in Europe.

The combination of favourable exchange rates and comparatively low house prices makes purchasing on the continent the investment to make.

That being said, the currency markets are incredibly volatile at the moment; the cost of a 200,000 euro property was £6,000 more expensive last week than it was the week before so timing is key.

Entrepreneur and investor Jim Mellon has reportedly amassed a fortune of £850m by making the right calls and identifying various key trends or "money fountains".

He built his reputation after making spectacular amounts during Russia's transformation in the 1990s and more recently has seen his bold views on biotech pay off. Sometimes called Britain's answer to Warren Buffett, he co-authored Cracking the Code three years ago, which correctly predicted biotech investments would take-off.

In a new series of video interviews with Telegraph Money, he shares his views on the best investments today, how he built his fortune and his worst investment mistakes.

Monday, 23 March 2015

International Francophonie Day

International Francophonie Day (French: Journée internationale de la Francophonie) is observed within the International Organization of La Francophonie's 77 member states every March 20 to celebrate the French language and Francophone culture. There are over 274 million French speakers on Earth.

The date celebrates the signing of the Niamey Convention in Niger on 20 March 1970. The convention established the Agence de Coopération Culturelle et Technique, the precursor to the International Organization of La Francophonie.

Thursday, 19 March 2015

Allez-Francais will cover the cost of your property video

I recently worked with a professional video producer, Joanna Urwin, to create a short film about Allez Francais and how we work.  Joanna runs a Dordogne based business "VideoProFrance".

I don’t want clients to think of us as "Estate Agents". Allez-Francais is in the business of selling houses, but we take a lot of time to get to know our clients, what matters to them and the kind of property that will suit them best. In the long run this saves everyone a good deal of wasted time and disappointment.

Our Team have a vast range of property knowledge, and experience of living and working in various areas of France. They can advise on mortgages, currency exchange, surveys, legal matters and insurance – a complete package so to speak!  

I am delighted with the video Joanna produced. I hope it gives people an insight into the level of service that we offer and the process of buying a property in south west France.

Through working with Joanna, I also gained a better understanding of how versatile and effective using video can be.

Property sellers are increasingly using the power of video to get their property listing found in a web search.   Joanna explained to me that including an optimised YouTube video on our property website will significantly increase the chance of a property being seen on page 1 of Google.

Video is also mobile friendly, which is good news bearing in mind that the number of people searching for a property on a tablet or smartphone is growing all the time. of course has a full web page dedicated to each and every property on our books.
If you are interested in having a short video made to promote your property for sale - I recommend you to contact Joanna. If we have a mandat to sell your property, we will add a copy of your YouTube video to the Allez Francais website, and if we sell your property too I guarantee to refund you the cost of having the video produced.

If you would like to know more please email me or contact

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Guest Post: Christian Perron - founder of

All Allez-Francais agents are registered with JeSuisAgentImmobilier, based in Bordeaux.  Christian Perron,  who also writes books and produces CDs for the estate agency industry, founded JeSuisAgentImmobilier in 2005.  

Christian Perron

Christian writes:

"We at are a French national estate agent network, and work with great success with Allez-Français for more than 6 years now.  Peter Elias’ team sold 22 % last year of our total annual sales of properties. Their exposure to the international market is very important because France is the most wanted country in the world!

And, of course, the Allez-Français team are located in the best parts of France!

Peter’s team allow principally English speaking people to have access to great choice of properties in delicious regions, with a premium standard service which includes every aspect of our work for both buyers and sellers : from financing though mortgages / banks and currency companies to maximise exchange rates, from market research to homestaging, HDR pictures of the highest quality to Comparative Market Analysis, etc.

The Allez-Français team also use a powerful Estate Agency software programme to manage their big portfolio of properties for administration, and to publish them on the most efficient estate websites & networks.

His team is dedicated to customer satisfaction and excellence. I highly recommend Peter as my “best professional” for over 10 years as an estate agent"

Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Allez Francais now mobile & friendlier than ever!

More and more people are searching the internet from a handheld device - a smartphone, an ipad or a Kindle.

So the web wizards at Allez-Francais have been hard at work bringing the website completely up to date and I am pleased to report it is now fully responsive whatever the shape of your screen!

The property search feature is still top of the page - so you can search by department, budget, or by the property reference (if you know it already).

Our information pages are still there too - from your phone just click the menu button in the top right hand corner.

Pay us a visit and let me know what you think - new properties are being added all the time.

We have some great business opportunities at the moment too - so if you are looking for a property to generate some income - do get in touch!

Sunday, 15 March 2015

Good news for Golfers !

We are currently advertising golf properties in 3 locations in SW France, (although more are planned).

The existing developments are at:

  • Les Forges, near Menigoute (Deux Sèvres / Poitou Charentes)
  • Souillac Golf & Country Club, (Lot, Midi-Pyrenees)
  • Halcyon Resort, (Creuse, Limousin)

Visit packages are available at each of our complexes.   We are normally able (except July & August), to arrange a stay on site in some of the accommodation as a discounted price  .Slightly different terms and conditions for each, as you would expect, but a great way to try before you buy, it gives you the opportunity to get a real feel for the complex, and perhaps enjoy a round of golf !

Contact me by e-mail for full details -

Saturday, 14 March 2015

Personal wealth warning for pension freedom

The new “pension freedom” regime will come into being on 6th April 2015.

This is potentially very welcome news for retired British people, but it comes with a large personal wealth warning, and a need for personal responsibility. You need to be fully informed on how all your options affect you personally before you take action. Remember your pension fund is exactly that – designed to fund your retirement, it was not designed to fund a house purchase, but take care otherwise you could get it very wrong.

If you have a defined contribution schemes, from April 2015 you can draw down (withdraw) as much of your pension funds as you like. From April 6, 2015, there will be no limits on how much money can be removed, but all withdrawals outside of the 25% tax-free cash will be treated as taxable income. You can take a series of lump sums from your pension funds without having to enter into a drawdown policy. However, you need to understand the French tax implications – and it can, in fact, provide interesting opportunities, so we have teamed up with a leading firm of International Financial Advisers to provide all Allez-Français clients with suitable advice.

The 55% pension ‘tax upon death’ will be abolished, including annuities.  This means that your beneficiaries can receive the balance of your fund tax free if you die under age 75, or pay income tax or 45% if the fund taken as a lump sum (for the year 2015-16) if you are over 75. This does not affect final salary pensions.

From April you can transfer a defined benefit scheme into a defined contribution scheme - but be aware that you could lose valuable benefits, so it may not be the best decision for you.

Deciding what to do with your funds now could be one of the most important financial decisions you ever undertake. Taking suitable professional advice from a professional and regulated adviser will give you peace of mind, whilst ensuring that all the complex rules are followed and suitable advice for you is offered.

For more information please contact Peter Elias for referral onwards –

This can involve an initial consultation by phone with our advisers.

It is essential to consider the tax implications in your country of residence to establish what would work best for you.

Be aware also that pension schemes offer sound UK inheritance tax protection, whereas once the cash is back in your estate it could be exposed to inheritance tax as well as local succession tax in Spain and France. However with expert advice you may be able to avoid or lower your liabilities.

This article can only cover the key points of the new legislation and only provide a summary. There are also other elements you may need to consider. Sound financial planning and personalised advice is crucial, particularly for those with larger funds. Do not make any decisions until you have all the information and understand all the implications.

Friday, 13 March 2015

Can you help?!

Family looking for a quality house, budget 250-400,000 ideally. Attractive detached property in good condition. Preferred area Eymet (Dordogne) & Ste Foy la Grande (Gironde).

Contact or tel 05 53 82 36 19 

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Thursday, 12 March 2015

Golf in France - A Guide to Ways of Playing

Stableford - The players score points on each hole according to their score, the winner being the one whose total points are the highest at the end of the round.
To calculate points (excluding handicap)
Bogey 1 point
Par 2 points
Birdie 3 points
Eagle 4 points
Albatross 5 points
To calculate points (including handicap)
Each player receives a number of strokes equivalent to their handicap. These points are awarded according to the degree of difficulty of the holes. (For example, a player with a handicap of 10 receives 1 point on the 10 most difficult holes, a player with a handicap of 20 receives 2 points on the 2 most difficult holes and 1 point on the other 16 holes). The net scores are recorded accordingly.

Matchplay - The game is played hole by hole. A hole is won by the player who takes the least number of strokes on the hole. The match is finished when one of the players has won more holes than there are left to play.

Strokeplay - All stokes played are counted, and this can be played without handicap (brut) or with handicap (net).

Foursomes - Each team of two has a single ball in which play is struck alternately by each of the partners. Only one ball is therefore hit per team. One partner take the even tees, and the other the odd tees.

Greensomes - At the start of each home each partner hits a ball. For the 2nd stroke, they choose which ball they prefer, and take alternate shots intil the end of that hole.

Fourball - The 2 partners each play a ball until the hole is finished. The score to be counted will be the better of the 2 players.

Wednesday, 11 March 2015

Golf in France. Buy more than just a property - buy a lifestyle

Perhaps not seen as glamorous as Portugal or Spain, French golf holidays are extremely popular, particularly with travellers from the UK.

This is primarily as a result of the quality golf courses to be discovered, but a trip to South West France has so much added value to offer. You can of course rely on outstanding culture, art, gastronomy, history and scenery, which already make France the No 1 holiday destination in the world. Inevitably, these attractions are extremely appealing, particularly for the non-golfers.

All apartments, lodges, bungalows & houses are on or adjacent to quality golf courses. They also benefit from other leisure facilities, and are therefore ideal for sports enthusiasts or an active lifestyle.

It is perhaps worth bearing in mind that the next Ryder Cup in Europe (2018) will be in France, so interest in golf property in France is sure to increase during this decade. The Ryder Cup has a history approaching 100 years. Starting as the vision of a garden seeds salesman in the 1920's, the tournament gained significant momentum with the participation of Europe and a certain Seve Ballesteros in the 1980’s. 2018 will see the Ryder Cup make a historic return to the Continent in France at the Golf National.

What you are really buying here is a lifestyle. The benefit of an ideal holiday home, alongside a leading leisure facility, and a management package. In brief, a no hassle, trouble free ownership deal. No gardening worries, cleaning & changeovers handled, a fully managed package. You enjoy various shared facilities at each location, such as the clubhouse, restaurant, tennis courts & swimming pool, an opportunity to chill out and relax immediately upon arrival. There is also natural surveillance of your property without you worrying.

Discounted viewing visits available throughout most of the year via ourselves.

Contact if you would like more details.

Monday, 9 March 2015

Concern for expats selling property in France

The stronger £ over the last 12 months has seen a significant increase in buyers coming back to the French property market. But, as always, there is a flip side to the coin. In this case it is for sellers planning to sell up and go back to the UK, as they have seen the price of their house reduced by over 15% during the last year, purely by currency movements. In addition, they have probably had to reduce their asking price if they have been on the market for a while, so have endured a “double whammy”.

Sunday, 8 March 2015

Smoke detector law comes into effect today in France

From the 8th March 2015, all properties in France should be equipped with a self-sensor smoke detector, called DAAF (“détecteurs avertisseurs autonomes de fumée”).

The device are best installed in a corridor or hallway leading to rooms that are used regularly. The detector should be fitted to the ceiling or at the top of a wall, away from a source of smoke.

The obligation to install this device falls on the owner of a property and not on its occupant. During the duration any rental agreement, the tenant must ensure regularly that the smoke alarm is working properly and they are responsible for its maintenance.

As ever in France, the detail of the law is very sketchy, and the number of detectors required in a large house is debatable. Insurance companies will require to see “proof of purchase” regarding the alarm, but that does not, of course, mean that it has been fitted !!

The legislation has been introduced as just 2% of French homes were fitted with smoke alarms in 2013, compared to 89% in England and 98% in Norway.

A smoke detector can save your life

(image © 

Tuesday, 3 March 2015

2015 is the year to make it happen!

Recently, the £ has pushed through to the 1.375 barrier against the Euro, which would make French houses very affordable for UK buyers.  Less than a year ago was below 1.19, so at over 1.375 we have seen a significant move in the FX markets, and French houses are effectively over 15.5% cheaper for UK buyers. A 500,000 € house costing £423,730 a year ago, is now a much more attractive £363,635.

So here’s hoping we can make it happen for you too! 

Monday, 2 March 2015

Good news for UK buyers!

 Recently the £ has pushed through to the 1.375 barrier against the Euro, which would make French houses very affordable for UK buyers. Less than a year ago was below 1.19, so at over 1.375 we have seen a significant move in the FX markets, and French houses are effectively over 15.5% cheaper for UK buyers. Translated into money, a 250,000 Euro house would have cost £210,085 last year, but today is only £181,820, almost £30,000 cheaper!

2015 is the year to make it happen.  Here’s hoping we can for you also!