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Old 10.07.2011, 11:06
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How much effort to manage rural property?

Any rural property owners on here? I'd be grateful for your insights...

I'm looking at buying a property just over the border in France that comes with a pretty considerable piece of land. About 7'000 m2 are covered with open pasture, the remaining 10'000 m2 are forest.

I have a pretty good idea of the time / money / effort to maintain the pasture, but I've never owned woodland before. What's required to maintain a property of this size? An annual clear-out of anything that's fallen? Do I need anything more sophisticated than a chainsaw and a tractor to pull the trees out?
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Old 11.07.2011, 02:43
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Re: How much effort to manage rural property?

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Any rural property owners on here? I'd be grateful for your insights...

I'm looking at buying a property just over the border in France that comes with a pretty considerable piece of land. About 7'000 m2 are covered with open pasture, the remaining 10'000 m2 are forest.

I have a pretty good idea of the time / money / effort to maintain the pasture, but I've never owned woodland before. What's required to maintain a property of this size? An annual clear-out of anything that's fallen? Do I need anything more sophisticated than a chainsaw and a tractor to pull the trees out?
I have no idea! Interested in hearing the answer. But if it's not used, why would you need to pull out dead trees? They are good for the wild life.
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Old 11.07.2011, 08:30
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Re: How much effort to manage rural property?

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Any rural property owners on here? I'd be grateful for your insights...

I'm looking at buying a property just over the border in France that comes with a pretty considerable piece of land. About 7'000 m2 are covered with open pasture, the remaining 10'000 m2 are forest.

I have a pretty good idea of the time / money / effort to maintain the pasture, but I've never owned woodland before. What's required to maintain a property of this size? An annual clear-out of anything that's fallen? Do I need anything more sophisticated than a chainsaw and a tractor to pull the trees out?
Generally if there are farmers nearby they will want to take the trees for fence stakes which they make once a year in the spring to repair fencing.
I believe that if you want to cut down trees yourself (which is much more dangerous than it seems so take advice) you need permission from the Mairie to do it.
Any wood that is cut should be good to cut and split for future years heating so make sure that you find a good wood burning stove.
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Old 11.07.2011, 08:42
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Re: How much effort to manage rural property?

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But if it's not used, why would you need to pull out dead trees? They are good for the wild life.
I honestly have no idea -- I don't know what constitutes good woodland management. It may indeed be better to leave trees where they've fallen, and that's certainly the lower maintenance option.
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Old 11.07.2011, 08:56
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Re: How much effort to manage rural property?

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Any rural property owners on here? I'd be grateful for your insights...

I'm looking at buying a property just over the border in France that comes with a pretty considerable piece of land. About 7'000 m2 are covered with open pasture, the remaining 10'000 m2 are forest.

I have a pretty good idea of the time / money / effort to maintain the pasture, but I've never owned woodland before. What's required to maintain a property of this size? An annual clear-out of anything that's fallen? Do I need anything more sophisticated than a chainsaw and a tractor to pull the trees out?
I guess it pretty much depends on what you plan to do with the forest and what kind of forest it is. You won't need a tractor if the trees are not huge and you just plan to cut the fallen ones in to firewood on the spot. Make sure you know how to use the chainsaw regarding to cutting down party fallen trees (dangerous). Also, you might have difficulties driving a regular tractor in a forest :-) My advice would be to find a neighbor who has the tools and skill to show you how things are done local way.
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Old 11.07.2011, 09:07
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Re: How much effort to manage rural property?

VI the fosse comment to Fidgety applies to you too. Check to make sure your fosse is upto spec as you will have to pay for the upgrade
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Old 11.07.2011, 09:08
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Re: How much effort to manage rural property?

In Switzerland you would generally make an agreement with a local farmer (as "Paechter") who would maintain the land and woods in return for the harvest of hay and wood. He would also pay you a fee.
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Old 11.07.2011, 09:14
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Re: How much effort to manage rural property?

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In Switzerland you would generally make an agreement with a local farmer (as "Paechter") who would maintain the land and woods in return for the harvest of hay and wood. He would also pay you a fee.
Yep in France its called fermage
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Old 11.07.2011, 09:34
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Re: How much effort to manage rural property?

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VI the fosse comment to Fidgety applies to you too. Check to make sure your fosse is upto spec as you will have to pay for the upgrade
I need to double-check, but I think we might be close enough to the village to be on public water & sewer. There's no house on the land currently, but there is a house right next door and several across the street within 100m, so I'm guessing it shouldn't be a problem to be hooked up.
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Old 11.07.2011, 10:49
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Re: How much effort to manage rural property?

I'd say don't guess, get expert advice. Same for planning permission, right of access, etc, etc.
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Old 11.07.2011, 11:10
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Re: How much effort to manage rural property?

If I could tag onto this thread...

As we have pretty much given up on the Swiss property market (IMO buying at the top of a bubble market makes zero financial sense) I'd like to learn more about buying property in France. (Most likely for holiday use.)

Everytime we spend a weekend in Burgundy or the Rhöne-Alps I fall in love with the countryside and start dreaming of owning my own little piece of rustic heaven, where my dogs could gambol about (truffel hunting of course ), where my husband and I could sit outside and enjoy a bottle of wine - even after 10PM .

But I'll admit that those wonderful weekends are pretty much all I know about France. I've scoured t'interweb for info, but find a lot of conflicting information. In addition to VI's question about property management, I'm also looking for basic advise on navigating the legal issues, on how the purchase process works, etc.

Can any of you who have bought in France direct me to websites you trust, whose advise you have found to be accurate?

Many thanks.
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Old 11.07.2011, 11:16
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Re: How much effort to manage rural property?

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If I could tag onto this thread...

As we have pretty much given up on the Swiss property market (IMO buying at the top of a bubble market makes zero financial sense) I'd like to learn more about buying property in France. (Most likely for holiday use.)

Everytime we spend a weekend in Burgundy or the Rhöne-Alps I fall in love with the countryside and start dreaming of owning my own little piece of rustic heaven, where my dogs could gambol about (truffel hunting of course ), where my husband and I could sit outside and enjoy a bottle of wine - even after 10PM .

But I'll admit that those wonderful weekends are pretty much all I know about France. I've scoured t'interweb for info, but find a lot of conflicting information. In addition to VI's question about property management, I'm also looking for basic advise on navigating the legal issues, on how the purchase process works, etc.

Can any of you who have bought in France direct me to websites you trust, whose advise you have found to be accurate?

Many thanks.
I shall pm you MC
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Old 11.07.2011, 11:48
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Re: How much effort to manage rural property?

Meloncollie, I have no idea if you have to be in a specific location because of your or OH's job. France could be a brilliant choice. However have you ever thought of areas of Switzerland where large properties with land are still available and cheap- for instance the Jura, be it NE, VD or JU. We have a huge old vicarage/farm with land which cost the price of a 2 bed flat in ZH or GE.
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Old 11.07.2011, 11:57
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Re: How much effort to manage rural property?

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But I'll admit that those wonderful weekends are pretty much all I know about France. I've scoured t'interweb for info, but find a lot of conflicting information. In addition to VI's question about property management, I'm also looking for basic advise on navigating the legal issues, on how the purchase process works, etc.

Can any of you who have bought in France direct me to websites you trust, whose advise you have found to be accurate?
I can't direct you to websites, but I can recommend a few books. I'll look up the titles when I get home.

In addition, I found the people at Credit Agricole (Switzerland) very helpful. They put me in touch with an English-speaking advisor who set up a one-hour meeting with me and explained everything in detail.
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Old 11.07.2011, 12:02
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Re: How much effort to manage rural property?

coming from living in the ewoods myself most of my life and big property management in the USA.

What are must haves:
Jeep, doesnt have to be roadworthy but it will need to be able to pull a trailer.
chainsaws
a woodstove installment or fireplace to burn the wood (cost saving on heat)
order (stack your wood under a sheltered place otherwise it will rot soooo fast., piles with woodbranches for burning, natural habitat, chipping whatever you want to with the wastewood)

if you want you can also cut out the non native trees (personal preference)

thats really all you need (if you have money to spend; a bobcat is fantastic and you can rent attachments (woodchipper, woodmower, etc etc)

It is one of the thing i hate here is that I cannot work in the woods anymore....cause of apartment living
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Old 11.07.2011, 12:03
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Re: How much effort to manage rural property?

Managing woodland will vary significantly depending on the type of woodland and the long term plans for it.

For instance: it may be plantation forestry of softwood, mangaged coppice or ancient broad leaf woodland. Before making any decisions you need expert advice. Do any local planning restrictions affect your ideas?

This book may be of interest if you plan to manage it yourself http://shop.btcv.org.uk/shop/level2/59/stock/957
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Old 11.07.2011, 13:34
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Re: How much effort to manage rural property?

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Any rural property owners on here? I'd be grateful for your insights...

I'm looking at buying a property just over the border in France that comes with a pretty considerable piece of land. About 7'000 m2 are covered with open pasture, the remaining 10'000 m2 are forest.

I have a pretty good idea of the time / money / effort to maintain the pasture, but I've never owned woodland before. What's required to maintain a property of this size? An annual clear-out of anything that's fallen? Do I need anything more sophisticated than a chainsaw and a tractor to pull the trees out?
is the woodland a working woodland? i.e. you produce wood to sell? i looked into this just superficially a few years ago and there's quite a bit to do with woodland. not least of which is inspecting the trees for pests and treating them, where necessary or cutting them down as a precautionary measure to stop pests/infection from spreading. in the UK, woodland comes with certain tax benefits and there are obligations you need to meet to benefit from this.
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Old 11.07.2011, 13:36
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Re: How much effort to manage rural property?

i'd also caution against buying to let out property in france. all experiences i've heard about from friends are uniformly terrible, with local tenants quite happy to screw over foreign landlords.

for weekends only, i think it would be cheaper and more hassle free to rent.
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Old 11.07.2011, 13:46
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Re: How much effort to manage rural property?

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is the woodland a working woodland? i.e. you produce wood to sell? i looked into this just superficially a few years ago and there's quite a bit to do with woodland. not least of which is inspecting the trees for pests and treating them, where necessary or cutting them down as a precautionary measure to stop pests/infection from spreading. in the UK, woodland comes with certain tax benefits and there are obligations you need to meet to benefit from this.
At one hectare (2.5 acres) even if it is part of a larger commercial plantation it is not going to earn you much. If it made any profit it would be a bonus.

Here is a UK guide on owning small woods. The general info will be relevant but the regulations may well be different. http://www.smallwoods.org.uk/
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Old 11.07.2011, 13:58
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Re: How much effort to manage rural property?

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At one hectare (2.5 acres) even if it is part of a larger commercial plantation it is not going to earn you much. If it made any profit it would be a bonus.

Here is a UK guide on owning small woods. The general info will be relevant but the regulations may well be different. http://www.smallwoods.org.uk/
good spot. i somehow translated 10000 sqm into 10 acres in my head.
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