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Clé France

The French Property Network

May 1

Consider the Planning Permission process in France...

A further consideration when buying a house in France is planning permission. What you do inside your own house is your own business and does not need planning permission. If the living area is being increased, for instance, as in a loft conversion, the authorities want to know so they may increase the rates but they do not always do this.

Here you fill in a relatively simple form and submit it to the Mairie, but they do not stop you doing it. Altering the exterior in any way requires full planning permission. If this is a fairly simple change then the applicant can complete the whole process himself, and since the forms and other requirements are fairly simple, it is easy to do and no cost is involved.

Once submitted it may be returned  with some changes requested or suggested, but if you have been sensible and in advance asked the local mayor for advice, then it will go through smoothly. Even if it does come back, when the amendments are made it will be quickly passed.

When it returns finally with the stamp of approval, usually within a few weeks, there is no cost involved. In contrast, obtaining planning permission in Britain is seen often as a nightmare by the average person who usually has to call in experts who are expensive.

It seems as though the planning departments are there in order to harass and harry applicants in every way and, finally, when permission is granted also to lumber the applicant with a big bill that adds to the cost of the project.

Fraser Blake at home in France  A Rant to Far Book cover  Dear Chips book cover 

Fraser Blake, 70, author of 'Dear Chips' and 'A Rant Too Far?' grew up in Africa, was at school in Scotland, and worked for the British South Africa Police in Southern Rhodesia. He has taught English in Saudi Arabia and sold and renovated hundreds of properties in Northern France.

In 1998 Fraser was selling houses in the Mayenne department of the Pays de la Loire region and so was the obvious choice, when Cle France was started, to be their first agent on the ground in France. In retirement he writes, blogs, cooks, drinks wine, and hosts to dinner unlimited numbers of ex-pats.

Always on hand with a viewpoint, Fraser is going to share his views on France, the French and the British, and other people who buy in France. Sometimes informative, sometimes funny, painfully true, outrageously opinionated but always entertaining so we hope it adds a slightly different dimension to the usual normality of searching through the fantastic properties for sale on the Cle France website.

If you want more? then follow the links above where you can buy Fraser's published books.

Add CommentViews: 726
Apr 24

Keeping down the price of housing so that it is affordable for everyone...

The government in France tries to keep down the price of housing so that it is affordable for everyone. One of the ways this is achieved is by having a limit on the profit to be made through speculation. So should a property be bought and then sold on, purely for speculative purposes, the maximum profit that can be made is seven-twelfths of the buying price. If a larger sum is made then the authorities have the right to confiscate the difference and return it to the original owner.

This may seem like a restriction of trade etc., but at least people can afford to buy a house which is more than can be said for many people in Britain! The government also runs a scheme for French first-time buyers by which a youngster who has rented a house for two years, and can prove he has not defaulted on the rent then the government will give him a 100% mortgage at 0% interest.

Profits on the sale of a second home are also quite highly-taxed; in the case of a resident in France the tax is 26% of the profit, and 16% for a non-resident. This is the case for the first five years of ownership and then on a reducing scale over the next ten at which point it drops to zero.

There is also a sanction in so far that the mayors of towns and villages, should they want, have the right to pre-empt any house purchase in their area. So should an outsider come along and wants to buy a house, puts in an offer and it is accepted, then the deal has first to go before the mayor and if he thinks too many houses are being sold as second homes, then he has the right to buy it for the price accepted, and it can be sold on to a local.

This means that villages can ensure they never become second home or dormitory settlements where inevitably trade and most other activities disappear.  This is called looking after your constituents.

Fraser Blake at home in France  A Rant to Far Book cover  Dear Chips book cover 

Fraser Blake, 70, author of 'Dear Chips' and 'A Rant Too Far?' grew up in Africa, was at school in Scotland, and worked for the British South Africa Police in Southern Rhodesia. He has taught English in Saudi Arabia and sold and renovated hundreds of properties in Northern France.

In 1998 Fraser was selling houses in the Mayenne department of the Pays de la Loire region and so was the obvious choice, when Cle France was started, to be their first agent on the ground in France. In retirement he writes, blogs, cooks, drinks wine, and hosts to dinner unlimited numbers of ex-pats.

Always on hand with a viewpoint, Fraser is going to share his views on France, the French and the British, and other people who buy in France. Sometimes informative, sometimes funny, painfully true, outrageously opinionated but always entertaining so we hope it adds a slightly different dimension to the usual normality of searching through the fantastic properties for sale on the Cle France website.

If you want more? then follow the links above where you can buy Fraser's published books.

Add CommentViews: 825
Apr 17

Buying a house does not have to be a traumatic experience...

Buying a house is always a traumatic experience and in Britain it seems to get worse as the years go by. You can put an offer in, have everything accepted and agreed only for the buyer to pull out on the day of completion without any redress or compensation. By this time the vendor may have spent a lot of money and probably got the furniture removers standing by, or even fully loaded. This is really a very unsatisfactory situation if not pure madness.

In France once a price has been agreed a legal contract is signed and a 10% deposit paid. Should the buyer withdraw, then the deposit is lost. Nor can the vendor pull out because the law would compel him to sell on the basis of the binding contract. Hence there is no gazumping, or withdrawing before completion.

The ‘solicitor’ in charge, in France called the notaire, has a fixed fee no matter how much work goes into the conveyance. Their fees are fixed by government and at the end of the sale a full breakdown of where these fees have gone is given on a receipt. Not only that, but there is often a small refund as the fixed fee is the maximum that can be charged.

Normally the same notaire acts for both parties [as they are semi-government officials] and have to give impartial advice. However, should one party wish to appoint his own notaire he can and the overall fees remain the same – the notaires have to split the fee.

The surveys completed for a house are intended to ascertain whether there is any asbestos, lead or termite pollution, and there is also a calorific survey to see how well the house is insulated. These then remain in force in the case of lead, for life, in the case of asbestos for two years and the remaining two for twelve months each, so that paying a survey fee is not required every time an offer is made.

Consequently, buying a house in France, particularly for a foreigner, is rendered a lot easier and far less stressful by the rules that govern the process, and these are, for the most part, strictly adhered to.

Fraser Blake at home in France  A Rant to Far Book cover  Dear Chips book cover 

Fraser Blake, 70, author of 'Dear Chips' and 'A Rant Too Far?' grew up in Africa, was at school in Scotland, and worked for the British South Africa Police in Southern Rhodesia. He has taught English in Saudi Arabia and sold and renovated hundreds of properties in Northern France.

In 1998 Fraser was selling houses in the Mayenne department of the Pays de la Loire region and so was the obvious choice, when Cle France was started, to be their first agent on the ground in France. In retirement he writes, blogs, cooks, drinks wine, and hosts to dinner unlimited numbers of ex-pats.

Always on hand with a viewpoint, Fraser is going to share his views on France, the French and the British, and other people who buy in France. Sometimes informative, sometimes funny, painfully true, outrageously opinionated but always entertaining so we hope it adds a slightly different dimension to the usual normality of searching through the fantastic properties for sale on the Cle France website.

If you want more? then follow the links above where you can buy Fraser's published books.

Add CommentViews: 793
Apr 12

The differences between the two countries are palpable...

Here in conclusion and having made many criticisms of Britain today it may be appropriate to compare us with another country which seems to go out of its way to help people, rather than to hinder them. France is the nearest foreign country to Britain and in many ways is quite similar.

Both are European, both members of the EU, both democracies, both were allied during the last two world wars, the economies are largely similar, and since the Norman invasion in 1066, and the Huguenot refugee crises of the 1500 and 1600s when thousands of French Protestants arrived in England, there has been a fair bit of French blood flowing through British veins.

Yet the differences between the two countries are palpable. In general people in France are friendlier, the countryside is better kept, towns and villages are cleaner, service, be it in a shop or restaurant, is more attentive. The general attitude and feeling of well-being compares with that experienced in Britain during the 1950s.

The first thing that comes to mind is the intrusiveness of authority in Britain where there are more cameras per person than in communist China. In France there are hardly any and certainly none in what might be termed reasonably-sized towns and villages. They are not needed in France, the people do not like them and in all probability would not stand for them.

It would also be very difficult for local authorities to introduce CCTVs in the stealthy and underhand way that they have done in Britain. At the first sign of anything like that there would be a queue outside the mayor’s office demanding to know what was going on.

They do not even like speed cameras for which a good argument can always be made. But even here a difference exists between the two countries. In the case of static speed cameras in France there is always a large warning sign about 200 or 300 metres before each camera. Furthermore, on sale [and even in little advertising freebies] you can obtain a map that indicates every camera in France.

When police use radar traps, they have to publish in the local press on which roads they are going to be and often the local radio station will announce where they will be that day. If this is not more people-friendly than Britain, what is?

Fraser Blake at home in France  A Rant to Far Book cover  Dear Chips book cover 

Fraser Blake, 70, author of 'Dear Chips' and 'A Rant Too Far?' grew up in Africa, was at school in Scotland, and worked for the British South Africa Police in Southern Rhodesia. He has taught English in Saudi Arabia and sold and renovated hundreds of properties in Northern France.

In 1998 Fraser was selling houses in the Mayenne department of the Pays de la Loire region and so was the obvious choice, when Cle France was started, to be their first agent on the ground in France. In retirement he writes, blogs, cooks, drinks wine, and hosts to dinner unlimited numbers of ex-pats.

Always on hand with a viewpoint, Fraser is going to share his views on France, the French and the British, and other people who buy in France. Sometimes informative, sometimes funny, painfully true, outrageously opinionated but always entertaining so we hope it adds a slightly different dimension to the usual normality of searching through the fantastic properties for sale on the Cle France website.

If you want more? then follow the links above where you can buy Fraser's published books.

Add CommentViews: 761
Apr 10

Introducing Fraser Blake

The owners of Cle France, Sharon & David Evans, met Fraser Blake in late 1998 after 6 months of property searching. They cannot quite get to the bottom of whether it was the house or the man who sold it to them, but they ended up buying the house and spent 12 years in France buying, selling and renovating property all over the North-West regions.

Fraser had spent most of the previous 20 years involved in the property market in the Mayenne department of the Pays de la Loire region and so when Cle France started, he was the obvious choice to be their first agent on the ground in France. Together they  have been involved with countless sellers, buyers, notaires, problems and of course solutions.  But more importantly Sharon and David have enjoyed many happy 'soirées' together with Fraser and his wife Annie, who are both great fun and an endless source of great stories and advice for ex-pats looking for a taste of 'la vie française''.

Fraser Blake, 70, author of 'Dear Chips' and 'A Rant Too Far?' grew up in Africa, was at school in Scotland, and worked for the British South Africa Police in Southern Rhodesia. He has taught English in Saudi Arabia and sold and renovated hundreds of properties in Northern France. In retirement he writes, blogs, cooks, drinks wine, and hosts to dinner unlimited numbers of ex-pats, and is an all round 'good sort'!

Fraser Blake at home in France  A Rant to Far Book cover  Dear Chips book cover 

Over the coming weeks Fraser is going to share his views on France, the French and the British; we think his blog will provide some light relief from trawling through the internet looking at property details, as well as tell you a thing or to about life in France from an insiders point of view.

If you want more? then follow the links where you can buy Fraser's published books 'A Rant Too Far?' and 'Dear Chips'.

 

Add CommentViews: 907

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