That's why it's essential to visit the area where you're thinking of buying, especially if it's in deep dark, France Profonde, in mid-winter to see what you'll be letting yourself in for during the other half of the year. And it's not just a question of getting the full picture in terms of the climate but also consider it as an opportunity to see which shops, bars and restaurants stay open for the whole year, as well as how much of the area is taken up by holiday homes.
Before you put your house on the market and book your tickets to the French countryside, first speak to a solicitor so they can advise you on the rules around fore igners buying property in France. If the house is going to be your home, you will need to apply for French residency unless you are an EU citizen - check first whether you meet the criteria.
This is particularly true for people planning on retiring to France, there are minimum income levels needed to get residency. If it's going to be a second home, be aware that there are some extra costs and taxes associated with masions secondaire in France. If you are not an EU citizen, there are also limits as to how much of the year you can spend there without applying for a visa.
And sorry to mention it, but after Brexit British people will no longer be EU citizens and will lose their freedom of movement. If you want to have it as a second home and also generate some income by renting it out, check what the rules are on this and what taxes you will be liable for.
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While it can often look like you're getting a lot for your money in France, keep in mind that running costs can be high, with taxes, upkeep and heating bills all likely to swallow up heaps of cash. Not to mention the cost of any work you need to be done on the property. And remember there's no rule against asking the agent or owner what the cost of running the house is likely to be.
The cost of property taxes vary widely in different areas of France, so check out in advance how much your annual bills are likely to be. Even small projects can cost an arm and a leg, so really think things through before you decide to buy the empty shell of your dreams, unless you have the time and money to make it into a proper home. While there are certainly some positive stories about people renovating beautiful old houses in the French countryside and turning them into the perfect property, there are also many many horror stories.
It's important to consider whether you're likely to make your money back on the renovation if you sell the house and remember that selling could take longer, much longer than you'd like. And with that in mind, it's important to make sure you have enough money to make the house liveable without going bankrupt.
If you're unsure about exactly where you'd like to live in France or what kind of house you'd like to buy, then why not rent first? That will allow you to get an idea of the way of life there and investigate the transport, weather, different neighbourhoods and shops, without the financial risk. By easing in slowly, you'll have time to work out your priorities in advance of making a purchase.
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Also, you might find that by becoming familiar with a town and the people living there first, you'll find out about properties that are available to buy which aren't being advertised by an estate agent. Similarly, it's important to visit lots of houses that pique your interest and use those to work out exactly what you're looking for. Use Google Maps and even Street View if possible to get the best impression of the properties you're interested in from all angles, especially if you're going to be spending time travelling over from the UK.
That way, you can avoid wasting precious time on houses that were wrong from the beginning. Don't restrict yourself to the estate agents in the area as you can save a lot of money on fees by avoiding them.
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For example, France's most popular classifieds site Le Bon Coin has property listings and it's also worth familiarising yourself with the town hall and local solicitors in case they have any tips about properties that are or will soon be available. With thanks to the Expat Life in France Facebook page for help with these tips.
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Things that should be included in your prep suggestions include cleaning floors, clearing all counters and tables, making all beds, emptying sink of dirty dishes, clearing refrigerator of most magnets, checking that curtains and blinds are operable, and getting some fresh flowers for pops of colour. One of the quickest ways to up your real estate photography game is by making sure all your lines are squared off.
This means your verticals are vertical and horizontals are horizontal. In Lightroom, you can first use Lens Correction to let it automatically fix any lens distortion, and then use the Transform section just below that to straighten your lines against a grid. Ideal height for interior photography is at about 5in height, and having a tripod helps you take that extra moment to ensure everything is lined up perfectly straight. While I personally recommend shooting with all lights off, there are differing opinions on that. Whatever you decide, be aware of various light temperatures, and be sure to balance them out in your editing.
Incandescent lights are much warmer than sunlight, so typically, interior lights are very yellow and sunshine is a bit blue. Using brushes in Lightroom is one quick way to correct the imbalance. Blue will cancel out the warm lights, and yellow will cancel out cool blue light. Fluorescent lights may have a green tint to them. Adjusting the brush for a red tint would even that out. Did you know, though, that you need to have a property release for each and every privately-owned location that you photograph?
The release is only needed if you ever want to show the images, like in your social media feeds or on your website. Just to be sure, I recommend always requesting that they sign a release. One easy way to handle the property release is to work it into your process.
I like to send the property release with the invoice, so the client gets all documents at once. This makes the process more streamlined, and I rarely forget to request that signature! Real estate photography is typically fast-paced.
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The budgets are low, the clients are in a rush to get the listing into the market, and so time is of the essence. While each home may have unique qualities or details, there are standard shots that will apply to all properties. However, you may decide to add an extra wide shot in a bedroom that has more interest in the design. If time permits, you can also consider adding some vignettes or details.
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This is one area where having client feedback can help to create the ideal process for your market. Rather, they need clean, professional photos that clearly show all spaces and entice potential buyers to the property. Real estate photography is the ideal niche for editing in batches. There are several ways you can incorporate this into your workflow. If you have saved your previous edits as presets , you can apply presets to a set of photos while importing.
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Anything wider than 10mm on a cropped sensor camera or 16mm on a full sensor camera starts getting into the classification of fisheye lenses. These ultra-wide lenses have much more distortion, and end up making the space difficult to really see clearly. This degree of distortion also makes it incredibly difficult to straighten out lines and correct lens distortion in your editing. Your pictures will end up looking like amateur snapshots rather than professional photographs. I tend to shoot real estate work between mm with a full sensor camera , with 16mm only being used in small spaces out of necessity.
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Doing a bit of research to see what top work in your area looks like will also give you some perspective on client expectations and things that you do and do not want to emulate. Using a flash is sometimes necessary. But pointing a flash directly into the room will almost always give too harsh of a look.
The simple change of bouncing the flash rather than just pointing it in can completely change the feel of your photos. Be sure to make the flash a bit brighter when you bounce it. The light has to travel farther to fill those shadows! Everyone you talk to will have an opinion. It may take some time to learn whom you should listen to more carefully than others.