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Meet our Property Managers – Isabelle Tayeb

Isabelle Tayeb is our Property Manager in the beautiful commune of Le Buisson-de-Cadouin, in the Dordogne.

Originally from Bordeaux, she once came to spend a weekend in the Dordogne and has since never left! She fell in love with the Périgord and the quality of life there, as well as its landscapes, culture and local products. 

Isabelle also has a passion for horses and is a qualified equestrian trainer! This previously led her to work in the circus world as a horse-back acrobat, before going on to teach equestrian acrobatics and circus arts. She practiced this passion for over 20 years and has even directed, staged and produced circus and street shows.

As a Property Manager for LPM, she is committed to helping her clients make the most of their holiday homes and will do everything she can to make their lives easier. 

If you would like Isabelle to take care of your property in the Dordogne, then contact us today at hello@leggettpm.fr

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Meet our Property Managers – Richard Singer

Richard Singer is our Property Manager in Saint-Maximin, in the Gard department in Occitanie.

After living in Auckland and Prague, working both in the wine industry and as attorney, Richard decided that it was time for a change and moved to the sunny countryside in the south of France. Since 2015 he has had the opportunity to help others find their own place in his area, and has plenty of experience looking after holiday properties and catering to his clients’ needs.

Richard loves his region for its many cultural events, such as the chickpea festival in Montaren, concerts held in the roman arena in Nîmes, and the theatre festival in Avignon. He also enjoys cycling around  the Pont du Gard, paddle boarding in the surrounding rivers and canyoning in Cévennes. 

If you would like Richard to take care of your property in the Gard, then contact us at hello@leggettpm.fr

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Looking to buy a holiday home in SW France? You are not alone.

We all fancy a holiday home in the countryside don’t we, and where better than Nouvelle Aquitaine in South West France?

It has stunning countryside, safe and sandy beaches, glorious river valleys and a temperate climate. Add in colourful markets, stocked full of fresh local produce and you have the perfect ingredients for a holiday home.

You will find that you are not alone in your desire though and prices are rising, whilst available stock is falling. New data from a number of different sources (including the Notaires de France) shows that rural house prices are rising faster than those in the cities – for the first time ever.

This change has been driven by the recent pandemic as buyers look for tranquil locations and more spacious accommodation. They are also seeking places with a home office and good broadband access, so that they can work from home.

And, if you are going to work from home, then why not do it somewhere as pretty as the towns and villages of Nouvelle Aquitaine? From Brantome (pictured above) to Saint Emilion and from Royan to Aubeterre sur Dronne there are literally hundreds of “chocolate box pretty” places to choose.

Get in quick though, in the 12 months to September 2021 house prices in rural communes jumped by 6.4% (while prices in Paris actually fell by 1.5%, after years of steep rises). Seaside resorts have jumped by over 12% so La Rochelle, Royan, Arcachon, Bayonne and Biarritz are all in strong demand.

Why not go to www.leggettfrance.com to begin your search and, of course, once you have found your dream home you will want someone local to look after it for you – come and say hi at hello@leggettpm.fr and we’ll tell you if we have anyone nearby.

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The 90 day rule – visiting your French holiday home after Brexit

Leggett Property Management brexit

British owners of holiday homes in France must now factor in the EU “90 day” rule when planning their trips. Here are some tips to make sure that you don’t get a tap on the shoulder from the Gendarmes or the tax inspectors.

1- Familiarise yourself with the rules, since Brexit you will now face the same rules as previously applied to visitors from the USA, Australia and other non-EU countries. The bottom line is that Brits can stay for 90 days out of every 180 they spend within the Schengen zone, without needing a visa.

2- Note that this doesn’t just cover France, a trip to a Christmas market in Germany or a summer on the Costa del Sol count too!

3- The other countries in Schengen are Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lichtenstein, Lithuania, Luxemburg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.

4- You can leave and re-enter over that six month period, so get out your calendar and highlight your time here.

5- It’s a rolling timeframe, so you should count back 180 days to see if you are within your limit. Don’t forget that travel days count too.

6- It’s not like “the good old days”, people will be checking. The EU are bringing in new computer systems. If you want to spend more than 90 days out of 180 here then you’ll need to get a visa. It’s not complicated and you can get details from www.france-visas.gouv.fr

Of course, if you are a resident here then this doesn’t apply to you.

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Seven top tips to look after your holiday home, now that summer is over

Leggett Property Management maintenance

We all know that travel has been difficult over the last 18 months. Hopefully though you will have been able to visit and enjoy your French holiday home. But what should you be doing now that you may not be able to return for a while? Here are seven top tips – remember that your local Leggett Property Manager will be able to organise these for you.

1- Tidy up the garden and prepare for Autumn and Winter. It’s a fact that a freshly cut lawn and tidy garden will stop burglars from thinking that the property is empty. However, it also makes financial sense to keep the garden under control, so that you are not left with a huge “clearance” bill the next time you visit. It’s also so much nicer to arrive to a tidy garden and your neighbours will thank you too. Nobody likes living next door to a jungle. Why not use the time to put matting down under gravel to keep the weeds from taking over your driveway and paths.

2- Have somebody clear out gutters and check your roof. It is vital that your property remains safe and dry and the roof is the most important element of the property. Clearing the gutters is essential and you can check that no external pipes are loose or detached.

3- Close down your swimming pool. Hopefully it saw good use but now is the time to think about closing it down for the year. Clear all the debris out, clean the stains off the liner, check the water levels, balance PH levels, shock and chlorinate the pool, backwash the pool filter and add any winterising products.

4- Get all of your appliances checked and tested by local professionals. Make sure that you check the pipes not just the boiler. During the winter, you may also want to turn off the water supply, drain the taps and leave the heating on a low setting.

5- Thoroughly check the roof – we mentioned the gutters earlier but borrow a pair of your childrens binoculars and check the roof for slipped or broken tiles. Go up to the attic and look for signs of damp (particularly with dormer windows). Replacing a couple of broken roof tiles now could save you thousands of euros next year.

6- Look after the interior as much as the exterior. By this we mean checking all internal windows for damp, covering furniture with sheets, make sure all windows are shut (not just for burglars but to stop birds or stray cats entering the property) and close the shutters – check to see if they need a paint or varnish while you do so.

7- Finally, don’t forget to empty the fridge. You don’t want to return to sour milk, mouldy cheese or rotten meat. Make sure your letter box is empty witrh a “pas de pub” sign on it. Nothing shouts “empty house” like a load of junk mail hanging out of your front door!

We have only scratched the surface here – if it all seems like too much to organise remotely then why not let our local property managers take the stress away from you. Contact us on hello@leggettpm.fr to see if we have one near you.

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Meet our Property Managers – Boris Kermarrec

Boris Kermarrec is our Property Manager in Plougasnou, in the Finistère department in Brittany.

Trained in microbiology, he specialised in marketing and spent 2 years working as a recruitment consultant. In 2021 he returned to his homeland to begin his journey as a real estate sales agent, and very quickly found himself drawn to concierge services. To succeed in this particular profession you have to be reactive, organised and able to provide quick and often varied solutions, which suits Boris perfectly. He is curious, patient and always ready to listen to your problems and needs. His aim is to help second home owners manage their properties, and as Property Manager for LPM, Boris will do everything he can to make your life easier. He is available, resourceful and passionate about his region.

Boris is also a sports fan – particularly sailing and basketball – and enjoys tinkering, gardening, cooking, fishing and being outdoors as much as possible.

If you would like Boris to look after your property in the Finistère, contact us at hello@leggettpm.fr.

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How much does it cost to run your holiday home in France?

If you are buying a second home in France but have no knowledge of French laws and taxes, we have highlighted for you the main costs associated with owning a home here.

“Notary fees” :

At the time of the closing or final sale of a property, you as the buyer must pay the acquisition costs, usually (and improperly) called “notary fees”. They are collected by the French notaires on behalf of the state and are ultimately remitted to the Public Treasury. These costs are composed of registration fees, disbursements and emoluments (the notary’s remuneration). Ultimately, about 7-8% of your property’s net price will have to be assessed for these notary fees and taxes. There is no escaping or lowering these fees, but on the plus side, it’s a one-time cost only.

Taxe Foncière :

Along with the taxe d’habitation, the taxe foncière is one of the local taxes whose revenue is used to finance the local authorities’ budget. It comprises several taxes including the tax on household waste collection. Unlike the taxe d’habitation, only property owners must pay the taxe foncière. Tenants are exempt. Moreover, it concerns both occupied and empty housing (with some exceptions). The taxe foncière is paid each year in the autumn.

Three components that are taken into account in the calculation of the taxe foncière are :

1. The cadastral rental value;

2. The revaluation coefficient;

3. The tax rate voted by the local authorities.

Redevance audiovisuelle :

If you are liable for the taxe d’habitation and own a TV, you will have to pay the redevance audiovisuelle, which is akin to the television license in that you probably already pay if you’re from the UK. If you don’t own a television (or equivalent device), you will need to specify this on your income tax declaration to be exempt from this fee, which is 138€ in mainland France and 88€ in other territories.

Home and contents insurance :

You will want MRH (multi risque habitation) assurance which covers you for material damages as well as providing civil liability insurance for anyone living in the property. Check with your broker that there are no special clauses for “second homes” that could affect your policy. We can put you in touch with specialist brokers to ensure that your cover is suitable. As a guide, the average cost of house insurance in France is 365 euros per annum.  You may also want to add in holiday and travel insurance for when you are visiting your second home.

Gas bills :

Natural gas is commonly used in France for heating, hot water and/or cooking. The average gas-connected French household consumes roughly 11 800 kWh of natural gas per year, making the average natural gas bill in France around 830€/year, or about 69€/month. However, residential gas markets are open to competition in France, so you are free to choose the energy supplier and natural gas plan that suits you, meaning that the price you pay for your energy may be vary from this average. Other factors can also affect the amount you pay on your natural gas bill, such as your gas usage, insulation, the size of your home and your household, your region and even the weather.

Electricity :

The French have one of the lowest electricity prices in Europe. Last year, the average cost of electricity was 0,1557 € (incl. VAT) per kWh, almost 30% cheaper than the average in the E.U.

However, as with gas, you have a choice of supplier and price plan, so the cost of electricity will vary depending on your choices. There are two elements to your bill. The first is the standing charge, which is determined by the power supply installed. The most popular supplier in France is EDF with its tarif bleu, which can be as cheap as 104.89€/year (incl. VAT) for 3 kVa and up to 496.31€/year (incl. VAT) for 36 kVa, with plenty of options in-between. The second element is your electricity consumption. VAT is applied at 20.6% on the standing charge and 19.5% on the consumption. Local taxes are added at around 12%, before VAT. In 2019, electricity bills cost on average 810€/year per household, which rounds up to about 67€/month.

Homeowner association dues (charges de copropriété)

The charges de copropriété are the current expenses that must be paid collectively by the co-owners of a condominium. There are two main expense categories : general expenses relating to the administration, conservation and maintenance of the common areas; and specific expenses for collective services and common facilities. These expenses are paid according to the objective usefulness of the services and facilities for each lot. For example, the owners of ground floor condominiums do not have to pay for a lift unless it serves the cellar or the car park. Each co-owner in France pays an average of 46.77 euros per square metre per year.

Water :

In France, water is supplied by private companies such as the Saur group, Suez Environment and Veolia Environment, but the water supply infrastructure is owned and managed by local communes, so rates can vary by up to 100 per cent in price from region to region. Typically, you are only required to pay for the water you actually use, and are charged per cubic metre. On average, the water bill for a French household rounds up to about 453.60€ a year, or roughly 3.78€/cubic metre.

You’re billed by your local water company every year or every six months. If you own property in a condominium, you will usually split the water bill for the whole building with your fellow co-owners. Costs are divided based on apartment size, as are most other maintenance charges. In some situations, condominiums have a separate meter per apartment, requiring you only to pay for your own water usage.

Internet/TV/Phone costs :

The most popular internet providers in France are Orange, SFR, Free and Bouygues Telecom, and most of them offer reasonably-pried all-in-one (TV, internet and phone) plans. If you’ll be needing to switch to a French SIM card, you’re in luck! They’re extremely cheap in France and can cost as little as 2€/month.

These are all the main costs of French home-ownership that you will have to budget for. Of course you will probably want someone local on hand to arrange for gardening/pool cleaning and general property maintenance. Costs depend upon the size of the house and gardens but our charges start from €80 per month. If you have additional questions or concerns that we did not address in this article, you may want to check out the French government’s official information website. We wish you the best of luck with your property plans, and if you’re thinking of buying a second home, we’re always here to help!

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Changes to the Taxe d’Habitation in France

There have been a few misleading articles about the changes to Taxe d’Habitation in France, so we thought we would address these and lay out the facts.

The fact is that the changes to the taxe d’habitation are not a new initiative. President Macron authorised the move in 2017.

In essence, he scrapped the taxe d’habitation on first homes but has allowed Mayors to increase the taxe on second homes in certain areas, the idea being that these popular areas have seen locals priced out of the market. These include Paris, Bordeaux, certain parts of the Alps, PACA and popular seaside resorts.

Some facts to consider:

– This is not new, it has been around for four years already. French buyers have known about it and it hasn’t dented their current insatiable demand for second homes.

– It affects all second homes, not just those owned by Brits.

– Only certain areas are affected.

– Whilst the percentage rise may sound dramatic, the cost in euros is still only a very small part of the overall running cost of any second home.

– It is highly unlikely to have any effect on the demand from U.K. buyers – the taxes here are generally well below council tax charges in the U.K.

As an example, the council tax on my old property in Elmbridge is currently 4,134 GBP whilst I pay under 1,000€ here in the Charente. Both are 4 bed/2 bath houses.

If you have additional questions or concerns, you may want to check out the French government’s official information website. We wish you the best of luck with your property plans, and if you’re thinking of buying a second home, we’re always here to help!

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Meet our Property Managers – Deborah Lupton

Deborah is our Property Manager in Prats-de-Carlux, in the Dordogne.

She has a background in hotel management and is a seasoned traveler, having experienced life in various countries such as the United Arab Emirates, the US, Brazil and many more. Moving from country to country has made her an expert at adapting to new situations and has given her the opportunity to experience and learn about a broad range of cultures. Deborah loves exploring new places and meeting new, interesting people, and she always delivers professional and friendly customer service.

Having now settled down in France, she currently lives in the South-West, in the Dordogne department, with her husband. Together, they own a fabulous perigourdine style house, including a chambre d’hôtes and gîte, so she is well aware of the challenges of owning and the care needed to maintain properties abroad. No matter what problems you may face with your French holiday home, Deborah will always find a solution!

If you would like Deborah to take care of your property in the Dordogne you can contact us at hello@leggettpm.fr

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Meet our Property Managers – Kim Smith

Kim Smith is our Property Manager in Saint-Émilion, in the Gironde.

Born and raised in Leeds in the UK, she moved to France in 2009 and spent nine years in Angoulême, in the Charente before finally settling in Saint-Émilion, where her French partner works as a winegrower. She is a mother of three and is passionate about travel, architecture, music and fitness. But Kim is not only driven in her personal life; she is also a very hard-working and motivated Property Manager!

She has a background in sales and marketing and, as such, listening to customer needs and attention to detail is her priority. She loves getting to know the people in her community and working with local companies, and as a gîte owner herself she knows all of the best local tradesmen to call on for all of your property needs.

Kim prides herself on providing excellent customer service, so if you would like her to take care of your property in the Gironde you can contact us at hello@leggettpm.fr