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Treacodactyl

Moving abroad

Those of you who've moved abroad how did you go about finding your property? Did you know the area well before moving, perhaps going on holiday there first or several visits while house hunting? Did you start off knowing where and what you wanted and what sort of help did you need. Is there anything you would advise people to do or do differently?

I know a couple of people who are starting to look to move abroad and would be very interest to hear peoples tales and advice.
Penny Outskirts

It would be very interesting to know how people went about it.
Nick

Did anyone else think all Bugs' Christmases had come at once? Smile
madmonk

moving abroad

Hi I am Ray new to this site.
We are in the process of moving across to France and the things we found helpful were ,
Research the area, use a French estate agent, don't believe any estate agent whatever nationality.
Make a point of introducing yourself to the local Mayor he could end up as your best friend.
Try and speak thr language however badly it may come out, I am a cockney and sound like "Del Boy" but any effort is appreciated.
Use local tradesmen if you can, but allow plenty of time nobody will rush to do the work.
Be prepared to change your way of life, the French won't change theirs and why should they.Lastly the French have had some bad press, get to know them they are a lot friendlier than we were led to believe, we can't wait to go back and finish the house.
A very good book to buy is "renovating and maintaining your french house" by Joe Loredo, it has loads of useful info even if you are not renovating, web sites , price guides etc.,
Hope this has been of some use.
Treacodactyl

Re: moving abroad

madmonk wrote:
Hope this has been of some use.


Yes, and a warm welcome to the site. Roughly where abouts are you going to move to and what do you plan to do?
madmonk

moving abroad

Our house is situated between Chateauroux and Limoges 5 miles from junction 20 on the A20 in a village called Parnac, it is a semi detached farmhouse with about 3/4 of an acre, it is in need of some work and will take us about a year to complete.
We intend to have a few chickens and maybe a beehive, we also have cherry trees and a walnut tree so a apple tree or two will be added.
We would like to use two rooms as a Chambre but will not be totally reliant on them for a living.
Our builder has a smallholding with sheep so we are going to try and persuade him to run a couple of ours in with his, so fingers crossed on that one.
Locally the area seems like it is used to raise Limosin cattle so that also could be useful.
I also go down a few times a year with a half empty transit size van so if I can help anyone out give us a yell I may be passing your house, unfortunately it is full of wine when I come back so bad luck on that one.
moules and frites

Moving to Brittany as soon as possible ..

Hi ,
We bought in central Brittany in 2000 after eight research trips from Poole, Plymouth and Portsmouth looking at Normandy, Brittany and The Loire . Eventually settled on Brittany as loads more to do .
Bought a four bedroomed farmhouse with huge barn and a sited mobile home and garden of about 25 acres . Only one near neighbour within two miles who uses our fields for his cows and keeps an eye on the place . So far have 90%renovated the house and planted 40 or so fruit trees for an orchard in decades to come .
We intend moving out in around four years when youngest leaves school and turning the property into a smallholding . We will probably downsize and keep a flat in the UK as hubby electrician and might work in UK from time to time as does not want to fully retire as only 40!

We have found the French to be superb neighbours , very friendly and helpful although our grasp of the language is only at senior school standard.

We are willing to help anyone who wants any help with similar plans in North Western France .
Blue Sky

Hi TD

We had a pipe dream about moving to France back in 2000. Fortunately we had friends that had bought a holiday home through VEFUK.com and they recommended that we check out the website. As it happened we ended up finding and buying our property through VEF at great expense to our pockets. We don't regret paying their very high fees as we were both working in the UK at the time and couldn't possibly have come out here to search for a property without their help and so at the end of the day we are very happy.

However, if you are looking for a property in central France I would recommend that you come and stay in our holiday cottage here in Haute Vienne and roam the countryside in search of a bargain as it would be much more pleasurable Wink

VEF were very helpful and they do Spain properties too so well worth a look on the website.

S
hardworkinghippy

Hi, I've been in France about 15 years, but it was a long-term dream to come here and I'm really happy and glad I moved when I did. There are other places in the world I'd live in, but my French boyfriend, who'd never, ever move, is worth settling here for. Wink

I wanted to come to the Dordogne especially because the gardening weather is good and it's not too hot and (usually) rains just enough to keep things green. The architecture is really pleasing (to my Scottish eye) and the landscape is wonderful, there are a lot of rivers and more than 50% of the area is forest.

Before I moved here, I spent a lot of time in France, both on holiday and working.

I spent three weeks looking in Provence, and two in Britanny and just kept coming back here, although, even in those days, it was much more expensive than other areas.

When we finally made up our minds, ("We", because I came out to France with a very new husband who unfortunately discovered that country life wasn't for him! Confused ) We stayed in this area for a few weeks and eventually bought through a French Estate agent.

I've moved three times since then, but I've always stayed in the same village.

I think it's really, really important to get the location right. I know a lot of people in the north of France who are fed up with rain and people in the south who just can't get their gardens going without spending time and money on irrigation. Visit the area of your choice in all sorts of weather and spend time and effort coming over often to get the "feel" of the place.

Learn the language as well as you can before moving!
Blue Sky

hardworkinghippy wrote:
Visit the area of your choice in all sorts of weather and spend time and effort coming over often to get the "feel" of the place.


I can second that. visit in all seasons. We found our house on Christmas Eve 2002 and it was just as beautiful then as it is in mid summer.

hardworkinghippy wrote:

Learn the language as well as you can before moving!

Most certainly, but didn't you find that you picked up the language much quicker (through neccessity) once you had made the move? That is what we found anyhow.
hardworkinghippy

The very best way to speak French is to be "forced" to learn it.

But, if you're the kind of person who is organised about these things, a good grounding in the basic structure of sentences and learning useful verbs at least helps a bit once you hear people talking.

It's a shame to come to another country and be attracted to to other English speaking people because they're the only people you can communicate with. You'd be amazed how many English people there are who have live in France for years, only have English friends and are still scared to pick up the telephone! Confused

Another very important point is also to find out about the laws and social structure of your chosen country.

I suppose that's common sense, but to be honest, I didn't do it... Embarassed
madmonk

Another good way to learn the language is to spend 2 weeks in a French hospital, trust me you learn quick when Michel Thomas is not there to help
Lozzie

A warm werlcome to Downsizer, Moules and Frites. I love your screen name Wink

I am a regular visitor to a friend's rural farm cottage in Normandy and it has made me think very seriously indeed about moving over there ... however, I have yet to visit in the dead of winter, whcih might be a quite different kettle of fish ...
tahir

madmonk wrote:
Another good way to learn the language is to spend 2 weeks in a French hospital, trust me you learn quick when Michel Thomas is not there to help


Laughing Hope you're better now.
madmonk

Thank you Tahir I am much better now thanks to the superb treatment I received in hospital, I fell off a ladder and had to have 12 pins in my elbow, the good thing that came out of it all was how helpful our neighbours were, the ambulance men and all of the hospital staff, it was very reassuring to find out how good the French health service is, although I don't recommend falling off a ladder to find out.
tahir

madmonk wrote:
it was very reassuring to find out how good the French health service is


I can vouch for the Spanish one too, on hols in Spain a couple of years ago my 3 yr old nephew broke his arm, we took him into the nearest hospital, he'd been x-rayed, plastered and out in less than 45 mins, try that at your local NHS trust....

Follow up appointments never took more than 20 mins either (including x-ray).
tigger

Don't be embarrassed to try to speak the language even if you hardly know any, people generally appreciate that you've made the effort. Another good way to learn is to swap conversation lessons. The fact that you're English is a great advantage and you'd be surprised how many people even in small villages want to practice their spoken English. You don't need to be able to teach grammar, just be prepared to chat and listen.
monsieurpoule

Learn the language before you arrive. The idea that 'I'll pick it up when I arrive' is stupid. If you can't communicate with people then you're stuffed - and rightly so.
Try to learn about he culture.

My own method was a bit like HWH - I arrived here and eventually found a French partner. Does wonders for the language skills! Obviously it's not a method that applies to everyone but it worked a treat for me.
tigger

monsieurpoule wrote:
My own method was a bit like HWH - I arrived here and eventually found a French partner. Does wonders for the language skills! Obviously it's not a method that applies to everyone but it worked a treat for me.


Me too! you learn quickly when someone cries with laughter everytime you make a mistake!

My most embarassing moment was when i had a chat with a very respected hospital consultant I was teaching English to, about preservatives in food, and then discovered that "preservativo" in Italian means durex Embarassed
Treacodactyl

Re: Moving to Brittany as soon as possible ..

moules and frites wrote:
Eventually settled on Brittany as loads more to do.


Welcome to the site. I'm certainly keen on Brittany as well, anything I should know that's not in the guide books?

Thanks for all the info everyone I shall pass it on to my friend who is currently on holiday in France!

Rather than spending 2 weeks in a French 'ospital can I just spend 2 weeks with a couple of French nurses. Shocked

I agree about learning the lanuage, I'm not good at picking them up but if you ever live somewhere then you really must make the effort IMHO.
Blue Sky

Re: Moving to Brittany as soon as possible ..

Treacodactyl wrote:
Rather than spending 2 weeks in a French 'ospital can I just spend 2 weeks with a couple of French nurses. Shocked


Bet you got a clip round the ear for that Laughing
moules and frites

Re: Brittany Update

Treacodactyl wrote:
anything I should know that's not in the guide books?


About the only bad thing about Brittany and the west of France is the lack of choice and the surprisingly high costs of ferry travel . Brittany Ferries are the only option and price accordingly.
Swimming is not really an option Very Happy
and flying with a budget airline is good for visitors but not an option for taking tools/ building materials/ tradespeople .
You can save around 33% with the BF property owners club but you do feel that they added on 50% first !
monsieurpoule

I'd suggest the Pas de Calais or Somme - cheap crossings from tunnel, speedferries, p&o or seafrance. Nice part of the world
Blue Sky

Re: Brittany Update

moules and frites wrote:
You can save around 33% with the BF property owners club but you do feel that they added on 50% first !


We were members of the BFOC too. I kicked them in to touch when they billed me a hundred and fifty quid for a ferry crossing that was on offer as a 25 day return. Apparently because I didn't use the "return" part of the booking (I was only going one way) I was in default of their terms and conditions and so I was expected to pay the full listed price.

How on earth a company can get away with having a list price of 175 for a single, six hour journey and then advertise offers of 25 day returns for twice the same journey (in effect) is beyond me.

Needless to say .....
madmonk

I use Norfolk line, Dover to Dunkirk it is about 1/2 hr longer and the mileage to Limoges area is actually 1 mile less, but less motorway. I drive a toyota hi-ace van and if you travel at the right time it normally around 50 return . Hope this helps
thos

Re: Brittany Update

simon wrote:

How on earth a company can get away with having a list price of 175 for a single, six hour journey and then advertise offers of 25 day returns for twice the same journey (in effect) is beyond me.

Needless to say .....


Its called differential pricing. The bulk of the trade is provided by the beer and fags day trippers who get the cheap day returns. Those on longer holidays are a more captive market and will still travel for a higher fare. Those coming from France are even more captive, and will pay even more.

That is why we have a ten-trip voucher from Speedferries.
Blue Sky

Thanks Madmonk

50 sounds very good. I havn't used the ferries for nigh on 2 years as I don't go far these days but I'm sure the info will be very helpful to others.

Just out of interest, you say it is a shorter journey from Dunkerque to Limoges but I don't see how this is so. Where in France did you used to ferry to?

We used to take Portsmouth to Caen which would take us about 8 hours down to Limoges (Slow van & including stops). The Calais run took at least an hour longer in the same vehicle. I suppose Paris (spit) could have alot to do with that???

S
Blue Sky

Re: Brittany Update

thos wrote:
Its called differential pricing ....


Yeah, I know how it works. It is that they can get away with it that annoys me.

The ten trip voucher sounds OK. I have heard that speed ferries are very reasonable in any case.

Cheers

S
thos

I find Speedferries excellent.

I paid GBP210 for ten singles. They are now charging GBP250. The tickets can be crystallised for any crossing that's not full. However, on my last trip across I could have travelled for GBP19 each way.

I used to use the shuttle through fear of being delayed by bad weather, but the shuttle is now too dear. If the weather's bad, we'll just cancel the trip.
ksia

We always knew we wanted a house in the country with land for loads of veg, fruit trees and chicks and looked in the UK 1st. We found we couldn't afford anything we liked, well not and give up work (or at least mad, full-time, stressful work) so that house hunting really helped us hone what we were looking for. The idea of warmer weather and cheaper house prices attracted us to France (now there's other thing's that attract us/ keep us here).

Each year we've added more trees (fruit or for future firewood) and veg plots and continue to make improvements to allow us to live off our land as much as possible...don't suppose I can grow chocolate bars though! Good job the french want to learn english!

We bought 6 years ago but only made the full-time downsizer move 2 years ago. We worked on our french before arriving. It's not easy 'just to pick it up' it takes time and effort. Learn as much as you can before the move and once in the country get out and meet people - even though we came here to hide from the world a bit we've made the effort to join in various (=lots) of things to improve our french as quickly as possible. It's working / worked! But don't ever think it'll be easy.
Karen
Douglas in Transilvania

finding property abroad

We have set up a company in Transylvania. We aim to help downsizers wishing to move here. Our main motive is to preserve village life and stop the holiday homers making more inroads. Profit or 'property development' are not our motives. If you came here tomorrow we could show you two houses which are available for immediate sale. Both have substantial tracts of land. We can put you in touch with a lawyer we trust. We also have contacts with a language school and others similar to ourselves across Romania. Any adventurous downsizer should not rule out Transylvania. The opportunities for the environmentally conscious are enormous.
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