Brexit: British expat discusses difficulty of living in Spain
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Lee McLaughlan moved to France a few years ago and spoke to Express.co.uk about the highs and lows. An estimated 200,000 British people live in France.
Lee told Express.co.uk: “My wife and I had owned a holiday home in France for a couple of years and the initial plan was to move to France no earlier than 2019.
“However, there were a combination of factors that brought this forward. Firstly, friends were asking us why we were waiting to move when we should just do it.
“Secondly, Brexit. We wanted to be in France before the original Brexit deadline, who knew it would take another year or so to resolve!
‘My work circumstances had also changed. I was made redundant and could either look for another job, or we could try our luck and be self-employed in France.
“We went for the latter and moved to Haute Vienne, which is very popular with Brits.”
Haute Vienne is located in the south west of central France and is famous for the Châlucet Fortress.
The fortress is one of France’s most beautiful ruins and has been inhabited by both lords and bandits.
There are also many outdoor leisure activities available in France including the forest trails at Espace Hermeline.
Lee said: “Our move was pretty straightforward as we already owned a property.
“At the time of the move, there was no real paperwork involved as the UK was still in the EU.
“It was a case of just sorting the removal van, sorting the pet passports for our two cats to come with us and just go!
“The paperwork is more to do with working here, registering for the health system and having everything in place to live here.”
Lee told Express.co.uk that he found the property process fairly “straightforward” in France.
He said: “The key part when buying a house in France is to definitely go and see it, go see the village/town and the area to ensure it is where you want to live.
“The process was pretty straightforward. Once a sale price is agreed, there is a short cooling off period.
“Once this has passed the seller cannot pull out – unless they want to take a huge financial hit.
“If you’re a cash buyer, the process is definitely easier. In terms of agents, we have also used French agents to buy a second property. They are also very good.
“The key difference is the French operate more via phone and face to face and less so by email, compared to British agents in France.”
Lee said the quality of life is better in France, telling Express.co.uk: “I don’t have a mortgage, I work from home, so no commute.
“The lifestyle is more relaxed and more family and friends oriented.
“I can live mortgage free in France, which would have taken me another 10 years to achieve at the very least in the UK.
“Fuel is cheaper as is the wine! There’s a general feeling on the social media forums that France is more expensive but I think it depends on the lifestyle you want to lead.
“Where the costs are higher, it’s generally because the product is better quality.”
Bramleys property specialists found that the French lifestyle can be very affordable if you look outside Paris.
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