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We Moved Back After a Year: Case Studies

By: Maggie Lonsdale BA (hons) - Updated: 5 Nov 2016 | comments*Discuss
 
France Move Retirement Children Family

When Anne and Terry Bartlett, 62 and 63 respectively, sold their three bedroom house in west London to move to France, they never imagined that they would be back in the UK within a year.

Having dreamed about retiring to the South of France for many years, it came as a real surprise for them to realise that they were not really suited to a life in the sun.

Anne told us, “Terry and I had worked hard all our lives to be able to retire to France. We were both employed at a local book printers – me as an accounts assistant and Terry in the binding department – and had worked there for many years. We would always spend our holidays at campsites in the South of France and talked about how we would love to move there one day.”

Early Retirement

During a quiet economic time, both Anne and Terry were offered early retirement, meaning that they would be able to move a couple of years earlier than they had planned. They were ecstatic and put their home on the market straight away.

Ann continued, “As we had been dreaming about moving to France for so long, it was almost as though we were acting on autopilot. We contacted the estate agent and got the house on the market and arranged to go over to France to look at some houses there.”

Anne and Terry have two children, both of whom are in their thirties with children of their own. They enjoyed seeing their three young grandchildren as often as possible, as all of them lived locally and had yet to start school.

Anne explained, “We thought that our children would spend as much holiday time with us as possible, so we looked at houses that had at least one spare bedroom and some outside space. We wanted to make sure that we were near an airport and we gave strict instructions to our French estate agent.”

Moving Quickly

Within two months, Anne and Terry had sold their west London property and were in the final stages of completing on their dream home in France.

Anne told us, “We had found a three bedroom house with a garden, all newly renovated and in a village with a bakery, bar, shop and restaurant. It was perfect!”

They knew all about the problems that some people had in buying homes that needed renovation and then running out of money doing them up, or people having problems with the language or cultural differences. Anne and Terry could both speak good French and took an intensive course before they moved and, having bought a new property with a ten year maintenance guarantee, knew there was to be no problems on that score.

Missing the Family

What they didn’t account for, though, was homesickness. Anne told us, “The first two months were fine – it was like being on an extended holiday – but then it just hit me how far away we were from our children and grandchildren. New rules were brought in so that children couldn’t be taken out of school terms for holidays and both our children and their partners were so busy that they only visited once for a weekend. We missed the every day life of being with our families and we couldn’t see it changing for years – and we weren’t getting any younger – so we decided to sell up and come back.”

Luckily, the Bartlett’s were able to make a profit on their French home. They bought a small flat near to their daughter and were able to buy a French apartment in a nearby holiday location. “Now we’ve got the best of both worlds,” Anne says, “although it caused us a lot of heartache to find it!”

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Hoppy - Your Question:
We have a main house and a small house attached which we already rent out as a holiday home as we are near a tourist area in the UK. Should we rent out our main house as a holiday rental and convert the mortgage to buy to let and then buy a property in France which has business potential as gites. My partner has his own business putting in new bathrooms, kitchens etc and has built many houses. He can tackle most things and we have experience of running holiday lets., but we are not sure of the best way of proceeding. Should we sell our house but keep the holiday let. How easy is it to get a French mortgage? Can you make enough money running holiday homes? Our French is limited but we are booking an intensive course. Some of our family are fluent in both spoken and written French.

Our Response:
We can't really give detailed invidividual advice on decisions like this. Please use the advice on this site, together with forums, consultations with financial advisers and your own research to make an informed decision.
NewLifeInFrance - 7-Nov-16 @ 11:55 AM
We have a main house and a small house attached which we already rent out as a holiday home as we are near a tourist area in the UK. Should we rent out our main house as a holiday rental and convert the mortgage to buy to let and then buy a property in France which has business potential as gites. My partner has his own business putting in new bathrooms, kitchens etc and has built many houses. He can tackle most things and we have experience of running holiday lets., but we are not sure of the best way of proceeding. Should we sell our house but keep the holiday let. How easy is it to get a French mortgage? Can you make enough money running holiday homes? Our French is limited but we are booking an intensive course . Some of our family are fluent in both spoken and written French.
Hoppy - 5-Nov-16 @ 10:55 AM
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