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Builder Moving to Toulouse

Builder Moving to Toulouse

Old Jun 12th 2019, 8:24 pm
  #1  
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Default Builder Moving to Toulouse

Hi all,
we are thinking of moving to the midi Pyrenees region of France next year.
we are a family of four children 13,11,7 and 6.
i have a construction company in the uk, but would like to retire to France.
Ideally we would like a property to renovate (by myself) with 20 plus acres.
we need to be within 30 / 40 mins of a major city and ten min drive form a small town.
We have a budget of €800,000
any help much appreciated
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Old Jun 13th 2019, 7:32 am
  #2  
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Default Re: Builder Moving to Toulouse

Hi
Welcome to the forum
A budget of €800k is huge for a rural property in France.
You need to consider the impact on (especially) your oldest child at school.
Property does not normally sell fast in rural France so don't jump in too fast or offer too much.
Rent a Gite for a family holiday and use the time to assess the property market and the area.
You should read the FAQs at the top of the french forum especially regarding french inheritance tax.
You will not be able to sign-off much of the building work that you do yourself.
Building control in France is VERY regulated and you have to have permission for each part of the project.
You will see a large board at any site with proposed works with perhaps 20 different certificates covering the different parts of the project.
French standards are also very different from the UK.
HTH
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Old Jun 13th 2019, 7:43 am
  #3  
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Default Re: Builder Moving to Toulouse

Originally Posted by Christian.m View Post
Hi all,
we are thinking of moving to the midi Pyrenees region of France next year.
we are a family of four children 13,11,7 and 6.
i have a construction company in the uk, but would like to retire to France.
Ideally we would like a property to renovate (by myself) with 20 plus acres.
we need to be within 30 / 40 mins of a major city and ten min drive form a small town.
We have a budget of €800,000
any help much appreciated
Hi, and welcome to the forum!
When are you thinking of moving to France permanently, before or after your future house is ready?
If before, then you're going to be faced with several issues, including having to rent while you're working on it, your employment status if you maintain your UK company, healthcare coverage, etc... You must also bear in mind that, although you'd be doing the main work, a registered plumber and electrician with French qualifications must, for Insurance purposes, sign off, proving that the work has been done in accordance with French Standards. How is your French, for coping with French Bureaucracy and suppliers?
But the principal issue would be concerning your children's education. Unless they know French Grammar and have some knowledge of French Culture (literature, history, ...), the two eldest will find it very difficult to cope with Collège. The general consensus is that "foreign" children of 11 or over would be better continuing their education in an International School. Which, IMO, should determine where you would like to settle - there aren't all that many in the Midi-Pyrénées. The drawbacks of an International School are the expensive fees and the fact that the children learn to speak French and integrate less quickly. On the other hand, the two youngest would pick up French and make local friends in no time in Primaire...
If you'll be moving into your new house when you're in receipt of a UK State Pension, no problem on the healthcare front with the S1 form from the DWP, but everything depends on how Brexit turns out for potential UK expats to France....
Take a look in the Read-Me: Moving to France FAQs above, particularly in the Schooling thread, and thread #19 if you won't be retired yet.
Give us more details on your status when you'll actually be living here, and we'll be able to advise you better!
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Old Jun 13th 2019, 7:48 am
  #4  
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Default Re: Builder Moving to Toulouse

My post crossed with Cyrian's, which reminded me that I forgot to ask whether you're married or simply "partners". If the latter, you'll be faced with a lot of issues, particularly if you buy property jointly. Take a look at the "Partner Status" thread in the above FAQs concerning Inheritance.
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Old Jun 13th 2019, 9:12 am
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Default Re: Builder Moving to Toulouse

Originally Posted by Christian.m View Post
Hi all,
we are thinking of moving to the midi Pyrenees region of France next year.
we are a family of four children 13,11,7 and 6.
i have a construction company in the uk, but would like to retire to France.
Ideally we would like a property to renovate (by myself) with 20 plus acres.
we need to be within 30 / 40 mins of a major city and ten min drive form a small town.
We have a budget of €800,000
any help much appreciated
Welcome to the forum!
Your 6 and 7 year old should have no trouble integrating into a local school. The 11 year-old; somewhat more difficult but doable, with some associated problems which hopefully may get sorted.
As for the 13 year old, think again. Very carefully.
Here's a previous LINK based on my own experiences and those of others.
You may be in a financial position to afford, find and place the child in an International School. There is an issue with this which is rarely discussed, an added risk associated with drug-use. My experience shows that pupils at International Schools are not only often left on their own for extended periods, with exceedingly busy or absent parents, but also have more than adequate funds readily at their disposal. Far from a healthy cocktail! I have personally seen and read several cases in France where this scenario has been dramatic, several being at the International school which our son attended - in the Midi Pyrenees region incidentally........
Fortunately he was well-aware of the dangers and we had no associated problems, but it was a relief when we decided to replace him in another school which was highly satisfactory and far more beneficial for his further education.
To admirably quote DMU, "Forewarned is forearmed."

Last edited by Tweedpipe; Jun 13th 2019 at 9:17 am.
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Old Jun 13th 2019, 7:59 pm
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Default Re: Builder Moving to Toulouse

Sorry to use the B_ word, but the fact is that at present even HMRC can't offer any advice to Brits planning to move to France next year.
You may need a visa, you may not; UK qualification may be recognised in France, they may not; £/€ may go up or it may go down; your state pension when you get there might be frozen or might be uprated...
Make planning difficult doesn't it.
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Old Jun 13th 2019, 9:06 pm
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Default Re: Builder Moving to Toulouse

Hi,
please find the following answers

i am not married, but have four children with my partner. I am 46 missus 40
we will be cash buyers so no need for a mortgage
looking to renovate the property without using paid for labour, very hands on builder...
want to run our own small holding and maybe do a few jobs undertake a small building contract here or there, subject to red tape
we have visited France on various occasions to ski and enjoy the countryside. We recently stayed in the lot region (les arqes)
would like to be around the Toulouse area due to close proximity to skiing and climate. Also there is large expat community i'm led to believe.
im sure the children will adapt eventually. Would rather they all went to a normal french school, don't like the idea of international school. sure there will be uproar for first couple of years
we speak very little french... Are we completely nuts?

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Old Jun 13th 2019, 9:41 pm
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Default Re: Builder Moving to Toulouse

Originally Posted by Christian.m View Post
Hi,
please find the following answers

i am not married, but have four children with my partner. I am 46 missus 40
we will be cash buyers so no need for a mortgage
looking to renovate the property without using paid for labour, very hands on builder...
want to run our own small holding and maybe do a few jobs undertake a small building contract here or there, subject to red tape
we have visited France on various occasions to ski and enjoy the countryside. We recently stayed in the lot region (les arqes)
would like to be around the Toulouse area due to close proximity to skiing and climate. Also there is large expat community i'm led to believe.
im sure the children will adapt eventually. Would rather they all went to a normal french school, don't like the idea of international school. sure there will be uproar for first couple of years
we speak very little french... Are we completely nuts?
- When you buy the property, the Notaire will advise on the best way of protecting you and your partner. The "Partner status" thread mentioned explains the dangers that a couple not legally bound faces when buying property in France. No problem for the children's inheritance, whoever leaves first, but it's the surviving partner who'll be financially vulnerable.
- You wouldn't be able to undertake any work here without setting up a French business structure.
- For your renovation project, you'd be obliged to pay some French-qualified artisans, failing which no Insurance would accept to cover you. As said, French norms are very different from the UK....
- At least you know in advance that your elder children are going to suffer by being thrown in at the deep end in a Collège - are they themselves aware of what to expect? Long days, lots of homework, essays in all subjects in French. Maths are taught differently here and there'll even be issues in English classes, as they'll be translating into French... Your elder chiild would never be prepared for the Brevet (O-levels) after the "first couple of years" of uproar...
- Without a decent level of French, you're going to have problems coping with most aspects of settling in France, and if you were thinking of counting on local Expats to help out, it would be up to you to decide whether to allow strangers to know about your private business, school problems, etc...
You probably won't like what has been said, but we're being realistic, based on personal experience.
As Tweedpipe quotes me, "Forewarned is forearmed"!

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Old Jun 14th 2019, 7:38 am
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Default Re: Builder Moving to Toulouse

I should have added that, until you've registered with the MSA (google) to run your small-holding, you would be considered as "inactif" and would have to comply with the conditions for residency as per the link in #19 of the FAQs. Not only adequate financial resources, but also proof of private healthcare insurance from Day 1 (make sure you have an official stamp on your Passports to prove your date of arrival). Private healthcare insurance is also a condition in order to be accepted into the French Social Security.
Your partner would be considered as a separate individual and would have to provide the same documents.
Apart from your lack of French, you have many different aspects to sort out before you take the plunge. Research is the keyword!
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Old Jun 14th 2019, 9:18 am
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Default Re: Builder Moving to Toulouse

Originally Posted by Christian.m View Post
Are we completely nuts?
Not quite - but you could be heading for the most expensive mistake of your life.
What you propose is perfectly possible but you really need to take a step back and consider each step VERY carefully.
Consider buying a property to renovate but remain in the UK until your kids complete their schooling.
French building standards are completely from the UK.
E.g. they don't use ring mains in France.
EDF will not connect you to the grid unless the internal wiring is compliant to french standards and has been approved by a registered french electrician.
While you would be perfectly capable of doing the bulk of the work you will need local tradesmen to oversee each element.
The benefit of having a relationship with local tradesmen is that they can help you to get the necessary permissions from the town hall.
I would think that your level of french would not be sufficient to dealing with the local bureaucracy.
France is full of artisans = craftsmen who are time-served who have achieved a high level of expertise in their trade.
They have their qualifications; insurance and are registered businesses.
In the UK, I can call myself a plumber or a painter/decorator and just advertise on the internet with a mobile number a just get on with it.
This is not allowed in France.
If you offered to do building work for me, I wouldn't consider it because I would want the work done to french standards in order to be able to sell the property in the future.
If you use a registered tradesman in France then the work may qualify for a reduced rate of VAT.
Take a step back and then take small steps forward for a successful move to France in the future.
HTH



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Old Jun 14th 2019, 10:01 am
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Default Re: Builder Moving to Toulouse

Originally Posted by Christian.m View Post
Hi,
please find the following answers

i am not married, but have four children with my partner. I am 46 missus 40
we will be cash buyers so no need for a mortgage
looking to renovate the property without using paid for labour, very hands on builder...
want to run our own small holding and maybe do a few jobs undertake a small building contract here or there, subject to red tape
we have visited France on various occasions to ski and enjoy the countryside. We recently stayed in the lot region (les arqes)
would like to be around the Toulouse area due to close proximity to skiing and climate. Also there is large expat community i'm led to believe.
im sure the children will adapt eventually. Would rather they all went to a normal french school, don't like the idea of international school. sure there will be uproar for first couple of years
we speak very little french... Are we completely nuts?
I don't know many people who were happy in France with very little French to be honest. I often pass Toulouse when we drive down to Spain and the countryside is not very different, so unless you are so focused on France, what about Spain or Andorra for example? We have a place around Girona but compared to France, at least you can go further with English or people are willing to talk to you, as you have more Dutch, Germans, Swedes etc.

Last edited by Moses2013; Jun 14th 2019 at 10:05 am.
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Old Jun 14th 2019, 4:36 pm
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Default Re: Builder Moving to Toulouse

Originally Posted by Christian.m View Post
Hi,
please find the following answers

i am not married, but have four children with my partner. I am 46 missus 40
issue #1 already addressed
we will be cash buyers so no need for a mortgage
looking to renovate the property without using paid for labour, very hands on builder...
issue #2. I have a friend who is an architect near Toulouse, planning regs/building permits/restrictions are unbelievable. You will almost definitely need an architect to get plans approved and then just a heads up - the architect will have to charge you 10% of the value of the property to get mandatory insurance on top of their fees.
want to run our own small holding and maybe do a few jobs undertake a small building contract here or there, subject to red tape
small holding -more permits required and you will need to make sure you buy a property that is suitable.
few jobs - you'll need to set up a french business structure, even amongst the french speaking averse anglophones, is an awareness of insurance/legal issues of employing someone illegally.

we have visited France on various occasions to ski and enjoy the countryside. We recently stayed in the lot region (les arqes)
would like to be around the Toulouse area due to close proximity to skiing and climate. Also there is large expat community i'm led to believe.
Yep. about 10k anglophones in the area I believe.
im sure the children will adapt eventually. Would rather they all went to a normal french school, don't like the idea of international school. sure there will be uproar for first couple of years
As someone whose kiddoes were in a local french school, then went to the Lycee International and with friends in the International School (IST), I wouldn't bring the kids and dump them in French college. I''m not sure that a Lycee general would even accept them with no french. I mean, how would they learn anything? Osmosis?? I have known kids that arrived with no french and went into college, the ones that succeeded had at least 1 parent who was a native french speaker.
Drugs in high schools??? Grow up Tweedpipe!! every single high school in EU/UK and USA has an issue here. Educate your kids and know that they will MOST LIKELY try it out.

we speak very little french... Are we completely nuts?
Look at the downsides and decide.
There was one English builder that all the Airbus lot used - he was properly set up in the french system, employed local builders (so he spoke french) and spent years developing contacts so that he could stay in business. He retired.
BTW, my uncle lasted 10 years in the Dordogne as a "semi-retired" builder. He had as much work as he wanted but in the end the french business taxes/red tape headaches just got to him and they sold up and left. Took at least a year for their beautiful house to sell. Sad really, they had had the house for 12 years before deciding to move there and had loved it. Living and working in France really is a different kettle of fish to being a tourist.
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Old Jun 14th 2019, 6:47 pm
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Default Re: Builder Moving to Toulouse

Originally Posted by petitefrancaise View Post
Look at the downsides and decide.
There was one English builder that all the Airbus lot used - he was properly set up in the french system, employed local builders (so he spoke french) and spent years developing contacts so that he could stay in business. He retired.
BTW, my uncle lasted 10 years in the Dordogne as a "semi-retired" builder. He had as much work as he wanted but in the end the french business taxes/red tape headaches just got to him and they sold up and left. Took at least a year for their beautiful house to sell. Sad really, they had had the house for 12 years before deciding to move there and had loved it. Living and working in France really is a different kettle of fish to being a tourist.
Can't include your other comments in red in this quote, but I would add that, normally, a pupil must have passed the Brevet in order to go up to Lycée. It is sometimes possible for a bright pupil with good marks during the year but who failed the Brevet exams due to nerves, for example, to be accepted into a Lycée. A special Conseil de Classe would decide on this.... But a foreign child who will have spent 2-3 years floundering, would have no chance. Without the Brevet and the Bac after 3 years' Lycée, the pupil would find it impossible to get into Higher Education, and would have bleak career prospects. I don't believe that the OP realises just what's involved in French Collèges/Lycées and I hope he takes all this advice on board. My two who were born here, went through all levels of French Education, and I'm not speaking from hearsay, but from observation.
To give an example of how important the Bac is, the organisation which employs my home-help requires all its employees to have the General Bac and, in the building trade, many candidates have the "Professional Bac" and priority is given to them when work is offered.
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Old Jun 15th 2019, 2:35 pm
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Default Re: Builder Moving to Toulouse

@pititefrancaise, you've missed the point I was making. Past and also more recent research has shown that top private school pupils are more likely to end up with drug (and alcohol) addictions. After changing our son's lycee from a costly, private establishment to a well-researched, lesser-known lycee - far removed from an industrial city, he confirmed that for the period of time he subsequently attended, the encounters with drug-taking students was negligible. (Incidently it was he who was most favorable to a change due to a 'cleaner' environment).

Usually enjoying your posts, but here I'm disappointed. Two of your comments here merit a good, hard spank to your derriere.
Advising me to “grow-up”, and more surprisingly the very unfortunate choice of word in your comment “one English builder that all the Airbus lot used” appears condescending to say the least, as you may not be aware that amongst the personnel you are referring to there are many hundreds of exceedingly talented and skilled workers and excellent engineers. Imho they demand a little more respect - especially from across the pond.

Last edited by Tweedpipe; Jun 15th 2019 at 2:38 pm.
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Old Jun 15th 2019, 3:13 pm
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Default Re: Builder Moving to Toulouse

Originally Posted by Tweedpipe View Post
@pititefrancaise, you've missed the point I was making. Past and also more recent research has shown that top private school pupils are more likely to end up with drug (and alcohol) addictions. After changing our son's lycee from a costly, private establishment to a well-researched, lesser-known lycee - far removed from an industrial city, he confirmed that for the period of time he subsequently attended, the encounters with drug-taking students was negligible. (Incidently it was he who was most favorable to a change due to a 'cleaner' environment).

Usually enjoying your posts, but here I'm disappointed. Two of your comments here merit a good, hard spank to your derriere.
Advising me to “grow-up”, and more surprisingly the very unfortunate choice of word in your comment “one English builder that all the Airbus lot used” appears condescending to say the least, as you may not be aware that amongst the personnel you are referring to there are many hundreds of exceedingly talented and skilled workers and excellent engineers. Imho they demand a little more respect - especially from across the pond.
I hope your son manages to get through university without coming across any drug taking - maybe you found a nice little country side place for that too?
As for using airbus "lot" - As someone who got off her backside, learned french and then got a job in a professional environment, I got really fed up with the number of times I was asked if I could recommend an english speaking dentist/doctor etc. My friend the architect got fed up with dealing with airbus employees who expected her to do her job and provide all the french documentation in english too and please can we use English speaking builders. Who quibbled and argued mostly because they clearly didn't understand what was going on and expected everything to be like it was in the UK. The sheer laziness and unwillingness of the British airbus employees to learn to speak french was breathtaking. FWIW in my group of friends/acquaintances, I had many that were senior engineers and one was the ex CEO of Airbus UK ( who speaks excellent french) I went to the english speaking mums and tots group and I can absolutely assure you that I know of whom I speak.
If you object to me using the term "lot" you should hear me talk about the coven.....
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