Brits in France: Expats discuss pool maintenance business

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Express.co.uk spoke to property expert Dominic Hilton, sales director at La Résidence agency, to find out. La Résidence is based in Devon but the team covers all of France, specialising in character properties.

Hilton told Express.co.uk Brexit has had an impact on potential British expats, saying: “If you want to retire to France or live there permanently, then you need to apply for the carte de séjour which is effectively a residence permit.

“The criteria for that is relatively easy to meet but it is a lot of admin to get the application in and all the rest of it.

“And to do that you need to be living in France so it’s not something you can do prior to leaving the UK.

“It needs to be done once you’ve actually committed to buying in France. I mean in principle you could rent and then apply.

“But the amount of administration needed to live there has increased fairly dramatically which is a bit of a headache.

“So as well as finding properties and managing the buying and selling process we help people navigate the residency issue.”

He added: “The enquiries we tend to get about moving to France are from people who have done quite a lot of research.

“Brexit has kind of weeded out the dreamers and it leaves those who are actually serious about going to France.”

Hilton told Express.co.uk that Covid has opened up the French property market to a wider audience.

He said: “Covid has opened up the French property market up to a whole host of people that probably never considered living or working abroad.

“So we’re getting a lot of enquiries from people that aren’t going to be going into the office for the foreseeable future.

“People in the UK are thinking why am I paying top dollar to live in an apartment near my place of work when actually my place of work is no longer relevant.

“Someone’s one bed flat in London could get, not quite a chateau, but something quite dramatically different in rural France.

“I would say properties in rural France are 50-60 percent cheaper than they are in the UK, or certainly than in the southeast of the UK.”

La Residénce has also seen a lot of interest from British people looking for a second home across the Channel.

Hilton said: “About 50 percent of the properties that we handle are people moving permanently to France and the other 50 percent of people, mainly Brits, are looking for a holiday home.

“For second home owners, Brexit hasn’t changed anything dramatically as most people wouldn’t spend anything like that amount of time at the property.

“But I think if you have a second home you’re going to want to sit down in January and plan the dates you’re going to be over there due to the 90 day rule.

“The holiday home market is still very strong. It’s been a bit more difficult to get over there during Covid but I’ve seen people feeling a lot more confident in the last six weeks.”

He added: “The areas that are getting the most interest are places that are easily accessible from the UK, so Calais, Normandy and Brittany.

“And in the South interest is focused on places close to international airports or major TGV links.”

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