Here at Elys Relocation we know that moving to France is a challenge and there is so much to get organised before you can start living your dream life in this beautiful country.
As British expats who have moved to France with a young family and had experienced building a life, starting a business and learning the language, we’ve seen so many people make mistakes, and made a few of our own, so in this article we want to share the most common mistakes to help you avoid them and make your move easier.
Not managing your time properly and leaving too much to the last minute
Although you may have planned to move months in advance, you’ll be surprised just how quickly your moving date can approach.
For this reason, it is important for you to manage your time effectively. Start getting things done early, make a list and ensure you tick them off on time and as you do them.
Once you have arrived you may also be surprised at how long certain things take, for example how long it will take for your shipped belongings to arrive.
For this reason, it is important to manage your time effectively and be prepared for every eventuality. If you’re getting kids into school, you want to plan so that they can start school at the beginning of a new school year, or term.
This will give them the best chance at settling in, but can require registering up to 12 months before they are due to start, so make sure you know the key deadlines you need to hit and have the paperwork required ready to go well in advance.
Poor Communication with Suppliers and Professional Services
It’s not uncommon for expats to only talk to the removals company to arrange the move and then not keep them updated.
This can lead to problems if you wish to add anything to your load, as the company may have only allocated space for everything you initially stated.
To avoid this, you should try and maintain good lines of communication between yourself and the company. As soon as anything changes, let them know.
The same is true for your real estate agent or residency specialist. Keep in touch with them on a regular basis to ensure that things are progressing smoothly and there have been no unexpected delays, making sure you are well informed and can make alternative arrangements if required.
Unfortunately, some professionals will keep quiet when things are going wrong, so make it your responsibility to keep those channels of communication open, avoid nasty surprises and ensure you have enough notice to deal with any difficulties that arise.
Not knowing enough about the accommodation you’re moving to
It’s important to know where you’ll be living and have received all the necessary information about the property to allow you to plan and prepare.
A mistake commonly made by expats is not measuring their furniture before moving, to see if it matches up with the dimensions of their new home.
Before you visit, take measurements of everything you’re planning on taking with you, this way you can avoid being stuck with furniture that doesn’t fit.
Another common issue is assuming there will be parking, especially if you’re moving to a city.
If you’re in an apartment in a busy part of town which doesn’t have parking, make sure you do your research about the street parking situation throughout the year and know the costs of securing parking to ensure they are within reach.
Arriving with an insufficient budget
Expats often underestimate just how much it’ll cost to relocate. Moving abroad contains many variables, so as part of your research and organisation you should start budgeting early.
Ask about average deposits required on rental properties and budget for the worst-case scenario.
Look into fees for securing residency and whether you need a specific amount of savings to apply for residency for example, depending on your situation.
You should also have some money saved to cover anything unexpected that may occur.
If you are planning on starting a business, setup costs need to be factored in and there should be a contingency in place for low to no income during the first 6-12 months of trading, making sure you can stay afloat during the difficult first year in business.
If you’re hoping to find a job, try to start your search well before you move to give you time and make sure you have the money to live during an extended search, in case finding a job is more difficult than you’d planned.
Planning for the worst and saving and budgeting accordingly is a good idea, even if of course you hope for the best.
Lack of Research and Poor Organisation
Remember if you do not plan and research before you arrive, you will be in a vulnerable situation.
Finding the right accommodation for your situation and budget takes time and if you haven’t done your research you won’t be able to properly plan or budget for all eventualities.
Make sure you know how to register your kids for school, how to obtain healthcare, how to get your pets there, how to move your belongings, what job or business opportunities there are and what the cost of living is.
It is vital for you to know absolutely everything well in advance so that you can plan and prepare for your new life in France.
About the author
Relocation expert Pippa Maile is the Founder of Elys Relocation, a company which offers a one stop solution to moving abroad. Pippa is British, but lived and worked in France for over 10 years, speaks fluent French and has a wealth of knowledge, great network of contacts and all the skills to make your move to France run smoothly.