Are you returning home from France?
Have you tried France and then returned home, or are you planning to move back? It is not our intention to make people feel they have done the wrong thing and certainly not to gloat from a position of “I-told-you-so”. It would be very helpful to other people to learn from your experience and I would be pleased to put it on the site. Please feel free to email me: JohnMartinBradley … at … gmail.com.
This would also help to counteract the one- sided media that hypes up a move to the “sun”. PS we have received many emails telling stories of woe, but people generally don’t want their story published for fear of loss of face; or we can’t bring ourselves to ask, because it would seem insensitive.
Of course one shouldn’t generalise and there are a lot of people who go out there and love it, but this website is about the pros and cons of moving to France.
When we were planning to live in France we spoke to many people who were planning to do the same thing, or had moved out there. Some common themes arose.
Lots of people had moved to France and then wanted to get back home – in the case of the people we spoke to they were all British and predominantly English.
They were having difficultly in finding a buyer for their French home and needed the equity from this to buy in England.
House prices had risen much more in the UK than in France and so they were faced with having to buy back into the British market with proportionally less equity than they started with. This problem was made worse if people had to pay capital gains tax on the sale of their French home.
When speaking to French people living in England, we were universally faced with a look of incredulity and “why on earth would you want to do that?”. Did we really understand how terrible is French bureaucracy, how corrosive is the French culture of envy towards people with more than they have, and how obstructive they can be towards foreigners.
It is much more difficult to master the French language than you might think.
Undeterred we persevered with our efforts to move to France.
Then we met three people who had come back after lengthy periods in France. Their stories were very sobering indeed. Having gone out with high expectations of a better quality of life, they had come back with, at best, “well that was fun, but we’re glad to be back in Blighty”. At worse having lost everything and still owing the French tax man thousands of euros.
One point that comes through time and again is to make sure you rent in France before you buy. Make sure you actually like living in France before buying a property. I’ll take it one step further. You should rent in France before you sell in England.
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