it is not just Spain

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31 Oct 2011 12:00 AM by normansands Star rating in Kent. 1281 posts Send private message

Dear All,

a holiday in France revealed that the ex-pats are decamping there too and returning to the UK.

a UK trader there says that the French idea of fighting recession is to put up prices and sell less

 also bitterly complains of the administration there as stifling small business

yet the younger Brits are still buying in hope of achieving the "dream"




N. Sands

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31 Oct 2011 7:02 PM by Poppyseed Star rating. 897 posts Send private message

We have just returned from a house hunting expedition in France and the property market is busy, there were househunting Brits all over the place (Dordogneshire). Every house we saw that we liked was sold within a few days of us seeing it and the agents said they were very busy. There are plenty of half finished renovations on the market.  Prices not as cheap as they were but still a lot better value than the UK. Everyone we spoke to knew all about the problems in the  Spanish system.



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31 Oct 2011 8:33 PM by ads Star rating. 4087 posts Send private message

Far better to have security albeit stifling administration (red tape and regulation) than incompetent, inconsistent and ineffective administration....... Spain has much to learn about consumer psychology!!

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31 Oct 2011 9:04 PM by Bri Star rating in North. 591 posts Send private message

 Well having been an owner of a French property between 1986 and 2000, I can tell you, they ain't gonna learn it f rom the French!!!



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31 Oct 2011 11:34 PM by meggie Star rating in England. 114 posts Send private message

I suspect that the demand for property in the Dordogne region of France is due to the current series on TV, namely 'Little England', The programme makes it seem like hundreds of Brits are moving to the Dordogne in search of a better/different way of life....but if you do your research you'll find that hundreds are leaving/want to leave France to return to the UK. As in Spain, many Brits are stuck in France with properties they can't sell.  Yet, it looks like we are still looking for 'the dream'. 

Can you tell us a bit more about your property-owning experiences in France, Bri? Like all these types of programmes, 'Little England' makes it look like an idylic proposition.  If only we were shown the other side of the coin (so to speak) there wouldn't be so many disillusioned buyers in France and Spain. Of course, that doesn't mean to say there aren't hundreds of Brits in Spain and France that are very happy where they are! 


This message was last edited by meggie on 31/10/2011.



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01 Nov 2011 10:02 AM by Bri Star rating in North. 591 posts Send private message

 Yes, but first, let me just remind people of where we stand re property abroad before people start shouting foul!!!    We have owned in three countries (France, USA and Spain) and I can honestly say that we have never bought to make a profit.  Back in 1986 it never crossed our minds that we might make a killing out of our property and simply wanted a nice place for holidays while the kids grew up.  And I am sorry all those gloom and doom people, but it was perfect.  We had a beautiful old Normandy farmhouse half a mile from the beach, found the locals (a lot of young couples from Paris with holiday homes as well as the locals) lovely.  No one spoke English, but I speak French, and it was a fantastic experience.  A lot of Brits, then and now, fall into the trap of buying a wreck and thinking they can do it up.  This is almost always a big mistake, and the negative for us, was when we tried to get a couple of barns converted into gites to let.  It was almost made impossible, and we found the French workmen (high standard of work - no problem there) VERY difficult when working with non French people.  It took forever to do a job that would have taken maybe a month in the UK and in fact was only resolved when French friends took up our cause and got things moving.  When we sold, we had no problems, and we got money back plus a little bit - it was before French prices really took off. We dealt in French and did our own legal work.  In those days we just walked into Credit Agricol and said we wanted a bank account - ahhh - it was all so easy then!!!!!

Then, as an observer of our French friends, I would say that the social system is so generous (very early retirement for women with families, especially public sector),  it  ties the whole finance in a knot and makes it very heavy in terms of administration.  Having said that, we found the medical services excellent, and we spent many happy holidays there.   We have never been incined to ONLY go to one place so tend not to get bored.  France would never have been my choice as a retirement home, but for a holiday home, it has a lot to be said for it.   I do not really believe stories about a mass exodus.  I think there will always be comings and goings, and sadly, plenty of people who regret their purchases.  But my brother moves people between Portugal and the UK, and he says the people wanting out still far outweighs those moving back.      



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01 Nov 2011 11:35 AM by meggie Star rating in England. 114 posts Send private message

Thank you, Bri, for such a comprehensive insight into your purchase, sale and the times you spent in France.  I'm sure it will be a great help to anyone thinking of buying there.  I think you're right...too often we get 'sensational' reports into what's happening in the overseas property market, particularly when it comes to 'Places in the Sun'.  

I'd really love to see a thread wholly concerned with people's buying (and, if relevant, selling) experiences in Spain ie; where your property was bought, when you bought it, why you bought it and how smoothly (or not) the buying purchase was. If you sold it, why did you sell it, how easy was it to sell or are you still trying to sell it.  Did you/will you make a loss/profit? Does it matter?  I really think this type of thread will help anyone looking to purchase in Spain. BTW, I think we should keep this thread for successful purchases only ie; you actually took possession of your place. I'm sure there are lots of folks out there that are/were really pleased with their purchase but If it turned out to be a real headache (nightmare?), let's hear about that too.

Hey...I'll start the thread myself!  Look out for it later.  I'll call it BUYING/SELLING EXPERIENCES IN SPAIN.  Yes, I know lots of folks have already told their tale...but it would be nice to have a thread dedicated JUST to this...



This message was last edited by meggie on 01/11/2011.



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01 Nov 2011 1:54 PM by Bri Star rating in North. 591 posts Send private message

 It is interesting to compare experiences.  The easist and most stress free purchase was in the USA - the process was unbelievably quick and easy, but I understand that was part of the problem with the financial crash.......................... 



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01 Nov 2011 2:56 PM by Poppyseed Star rating. 897 posts Send private message

I agree with Bri about the ease of buying is USA. We did this in 1999 and found it totally seamless, not a hiccup. The UK agent we had was wonderful, the build was completed on time and when we made our first visit I was overwhelmed and shed tears of joy, it was beautiful and exceeded all our expectations, everything was at it should be and more, and the pool sparkled. The agent had  left some champagne and other stuff in the fridge and a welcome card, it just made it all so nice. Sadly we had to sell because 9/11 kept everyone away from the US for so long it was unsustainable. Compared to our experience in Spain.............a different world entirely. I've just returned from SW Florida and if I was looking for a holiday home now thats where I'd be, unfortunately can't afford the healthcare so no chance of retiring there.



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01 Nov 2011 3:04 PM by Bri Star rating in North. 591 posts Send private message

 And selling too was easy (though never stress free), but of all this was the days before the crash and I suspect it is different now.  And what you got for your money was unbelievable.  They like lots of space in the USA!!!



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