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5 Often Overlooked Moving Tips

Moving is often listed as one of life’s most stressful events, but there are a few things you can do to make the transition easier. While you probably know some of the basic tips such as having a garage sale before you move, labeling your boxes by room, and filing “change of address” forms with everyone, there are some less-common tips which can save you time, money, and moving-day headaches.

Here are 5 often overlooked moving tips to help make your move a smooth one:

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The Truth About Price Per Square Meter

Price per square meter is a concept in real estate, which is easy to understand, and just as easy to misuse.

The formula is pretty simple: To determine price per square meter, you take a price, such as sale price of a home, and divide it by the square metrage of the property.

Price per square meter is useful in looking at broad market comparisons, such as comparing one entire metro area to another, or looking at an area’s average change over time. It is not, however, terribly accurate in figuring out the value of your home. Why? Well, price per square meter fails to take into account the most important factors when pricing a home.

First and foremost, it makes assumptions about the home’s amenities. We all know the quality of materials used in home construction and the condition of the home’s appliances and other features can have a dramatic impact on the value of a home. A kitchen with Italian marble surfaces versus one with pressboard countertops will have completely different values. Price per square meter in a given neighborhood will blend these homes together and produce an average.

Second, price per square meter assumes locations are identical, but in almost any area there are up-and-coming spots as well as areas in decline. Price per square meter near an abandoned industrial zone will vary considerably from one near a lovely village with all commodities with a great walkability score.

Third, even the simple methodology of calculating price per square meter can be influenced by how the total number of square meters has been calculated. If one has a garage converted into a guest-house, and another home doesn’t, which square metrage is valid? And what about home or plot size? Sometimes above or below-grade plots can influence the price per square meter as well.

Price per square meter is more useful in commercial situations where there is tremendous uniformity in the design, construction, and location, but as a tool for assessing your home’s market value, it’s flat out dangerous.

Want a real estimation of your home’s value in its current condition and location? We’d be happy to help. Get in touch today, and we’ll show you what goes into determining the optimal price for your home:  TERRAFRANCE.COM – “call me back” – or call us on +33 (0)

My Thoughts: Minding Your Momentum in Life

“I would not waste my life in friction when it could be turned into momentum.”

– Frances Willard, (September 28, 1839 – February 17, 1898), American educator, temperance reformer, and women’s suffragist.
Hands forming an inclusive circle.

Life is not easy. Nor would we want it to be. Arguably, it is the salt of struggle that enables the sweetness of success. But there are times when we “over-salt” our lives with needless friction, making moments in life a lot harder than they need to be.

With this in mind, I thought I’d share three ways you can prevent a certain amount of self-sabotage in your life:



1. Dial back your catastrophic thinking. Do you have a tendency to absorb life’s little inconveniences and imagine them becoming enormous disasters? Is every cough potentially lung cancer? Every noise your car makes the sign of a major repair? Don’t amplify your anxiety by preparing for the apocalypse every single day. Take things as they come and respond within reason.

2. Spare yourself constant comparison. Ever felt good about your brand new Honda until you saw your neighbor driving the BMW M3? Keep your eye on your own happiness and you’ll find you have a lot more of it every day. Aim to beat your personal best and be satisfied with the progress.

3. Don’t imagine intent. Never assume ill will when something isn’t going as well as you expected it to go. An unreturned phone call doesn’t mean someone is ignoring you. If you’re offended by something, consider first that the offense may be unintentional. When you ascribe intention you make assumptions which can coil around bite you.

Look for these bad habits, grow your awareness of them, and by avoiding them over time you will find yourself sailing much more smoothly. Don’t forget the friction and you’ll make momentum instead.

In the meantime … find someone close who needs a hug and some attention and offer it lavishly.



Licensed estate agent/chartered court-translator

(and I love writing Haikus)

TERRA FRANCE International Estate Agents


Gijs Van Breugel


Offers: What to Do When Your Home Gets a Lowball Offer

Your agent is required to bring you any and all offers made on your home, so once and a while you’ll receive what’s known as a “lowball” offer. Lowball offers are buyer offers which far fall below your asking price.

Sometimes the offer’s so low that they only serve to make you angry.

Don’t get angry about these kind of offers! While selling your home is an emotional process, there are rational, effective strategies for dealing with the lowball offer. Sometimes the lowball offer can even turn into the right price if you handle negotiations the right way.

  1. Remain calm. Your urge may be to tell the buyer to go #*&@! themselves, but there’s nothing to be gained in making enemies.
  1. Understand that sometimes buyers aren’t familiar with true market value. They may be from somewhere where homes are much less expensive, or they could be first-time buyers who have been counseled by friends and family to begin with lowball offers.
  1. Have your agent communicate that while you’re happy to work with them as buyers, you’ll need an offer which is somewhat more competitive and at a level you could consider seriously.
  1. Consider countering for a small amount off your asking price to signal your willingness to negotiate, but reiterate that you will need to hear something more in line with market value to continue negotiations.
  1. Alternately, if you really are in a hurry to sell, counter with your rock-bottom offer. This number may not be close to their lowball, but it could be substantially less than your listing price. This may make the lowball buyer suddenly reconsider their position, tempted by the opportunity to purchase the property at what they consider to be a “substantial discount.”
  1. Ask the buyer to justify their price. If they truly believe their offer is genuine and fair, they should be able to point to reasons why your listing price is inflated. Make them show their homework. If they haven’t done it, you’ll know soon enough.
  1. Don’t fall for the “but we can’t afford more” pity play. Sympathize with their financial situation, but in no way let it sway you from the true value of your home.

Of course sometimes a stream of lowball offers can indicate that the home is priced too high. Occasionally agents will “buy the listing” by assuring sellers they can get the higher price, only to take a lower offer much later down the line. It’s not a sound strategy. If you’re looking for the honest market value of your home, get in touch with us today: info@terrafrance.com or +33 (0) 

More info on Our website terrafrance.com


My Thoughts: The Foundation of All Things

My Thoughts: The Foundation of All Things

“We must be willing to let go of the life we have planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us.”

– E.M. Forster, (January 1, 1879 – June 7, 1970), English novelist, short story writer, essayist

Flower growing in the desert


Each January I try to think of a topic which sets the tone for the year. I always want to fix on a value or mindset which may act as a touchstone for all the readers of Tuesday Tactics as they travel through their daily challenges. In the past I’ve talked about setting goals, building habits, gratitude, and staying motivated.

This year I’ve seen people close to me suffer some truly unexpected blows. Cards dealt which make life’s hand seem unplayable. Dear friends and friends-of-friends have watched their entire lives wrested from their grasp, upsetting their dreams and reshaping reality in unexpected and unfair ways.

There is a profound sense of helplessness which can overwhelm us when we see those who are dear to us suffer. We rush forward to do what we can, but there are limits. Some things are beyond our control, and it can be hard to make sense of our position in this new, unsettling universe.

I know I am not alone in this. Undoubtedly you have experienced this for yourself, or you have heard stories and thanked your stars you had been spared a similar situation. You may have spent a few sleepless nights wondering if it will be your turn next. We may do our best to mitigate risk, but there is no exoneration from adversity in this life. It will come, and we will face it.

I will say this about the terrible hardships I have witnessed: Within these awful situations, I have watched those affected respond with tremendous resiliency. While I am in awe of their resilience, the American Psychological Association reminds me “Research has shown that resilience is ordinary, not extraordinary. People commonly demonstrate resilience.” Is it easy? No. Additionally (from the APA): “Being resilient does not mean that a person doesn’t experience difficulty or distress. Emotional pain and sadness are common in people who have suffered major adversity or trauma in their lives. In fact, the road to resilience is likely to involve considerable emotional distress.”

What this means is that we all have the capacity for resilience. As long as we live, we can continue, and we can find a way to “have the life that is waiting for us” (as E.M. Forster says). For 2016, I would like you to keep the concept of resilience in mind. You can learn more about the Road to Resilience here.

Cherish your loved ones. Value every healthy moment in your life. Provide your support for those suffering and help them to recover in any way you can. My best to each and every one of you. We are all in this together.

Take care of yourself & of each other ..


Gijs Van Breugel



Chartered Court Translator


Alan Rickman, 1946-2016

Alan Rickman, 1946–2016

Die Hard and Galaxy Quest are my favorite Alan Rickman movies, and Snape in Harry Potter is iconic, but my favorite of his performances (if it isn’t Hans Gruber) is his perfect turn as Colonel Brandon in Sense and Sensibility. Which, like Die Hard, is nearly a perfect movie. Gruber in Die Hard is the career-defining, do-everything change-everything part. But Colonel Brandon is the revelation. It’s a performance that seems much closer to who Alan Rickman really was.

He’d played this perfect villain in Die Hard, then followed it with truly deranged parodies in Quigley, Down Under and Robin Hood. (Yes, he’d done Truly, Madly, Deeply, but I didn’t see that until later, and you probably didn’t either.) We thought we knew who Alan Rickman was.

Read on here : Alan Rickman


HAPPY NEW YEAR! Making a New You in the New Year!


New rituals for you in the new year.


Terra France houses

Terra France houses

The new year is here for you, and with it come the billions of small promises we all make to spark some change in our lives. For some it will be a brand new creative endeavor For others it will be the abandonment of bad habit. Almost invariably, resolutions center on the formation or destruction of a habit. Habits are like compound interest. If you understand how to harness their power, the returns in the long run are enormous. But how do we support the willpower it requires to start and sustain a new habit?

An often overlooked tool in our quest for habit formation is the simple ritual. A ritual is a series of actions or behaviors followed without deviation. Though rituals are most often associated with religious ceremonies or family traditions, there’s increasing scientific evidence to suggest that rituals appear to benefit even people who claim not to believe that rituals work. Rituals have also been shown to alleviate grief after loss and help enhance confidence before sporting events.

Rituals can serve as an excellent “boot up” routine for a new habit. As most gym rats will tell you, the hardest part of most people’s workout is putting on their shoes. But the act of putting on the gym clothes, preparing your sports drink, and printing out your lifting routine can become a powerful ritual which gets you in the mindset for your workout and puts you on automatic pilot.

Some rituals don’t have to be directly related to a habit we want to build or break. For instance, you might decide to start each day by sitting down at the kitchen table and drinking a large glass of ice cold water. The act of drinking the water might simply be a moment to reflect on and remind yourself of your commitments, “filling you up” with willpower. What rituals do you have in your life? Where are there opportunities to create new rituals?

Here’s hoping your rituals serve you well in the new year!

What is your new ritual? Leave one word in the comments below..



See you next year in 2016 …

My Thoughts: See You Next Year in 2016

“One resolution I have made, and try always to keep, is this: To rise above the little things.”

– John Burroughs, (April 3, 1837 – March 29, 1921), American naturalist and nature essayist

2015 turning to 2016


Someone always says it, and it might as well be us. “See you next year.”

This is my last blogpost of 2015, and when we rejoin you next week, you’ll be a solid four days into the new year.

Is a year long enough to take stock of your life? It’s true that a lot can change in a year, but you’re more likely to see the great movements across decades. Depending where you are on the journey, you might be able to take stock of your 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s, or even more. Individual years you may not be able to characterize so well, but what about when they’re grouped in packs of ten? How’s the story of your life going? Where would you like it to go over the course of the next ten?

Juggling the day-to-day with the death-bed view isn’t easy, but if you can manage to keep the macro in mind while you’re dealing with the micro, you might find yourself more at ease with your failures and less obsessed with your successes. You don’t have to be in such a rush. You can get a more accurate reading of what will leave you with pride versus regret. You may find yourself better equipped to sail the right direction rather than the wrong, and collect more personal milestones along the way.

We hope you do your best in 2016 and that you’re rewarded for your efforts. Don’t get too hung up on the start and end dates, though. Keep your grand continuum in mind as you go.

As we say in France : Bon Réveillon, meaning “Happy waking up the new year” – actually quite accurate, don’t you think ?



Gijs (in front of the Palais de Justice in Rouen where I often work as a translator).


Value-wishing this holiday season



… though what should we truly value?

As we enjoy the holiday season, I wanted to take a moment to reflect on the season when family and friends gather, and the big picture in terms of how we’re all expected to get along on this increasingly crowded planet of ours.

The holidays often put people around the table who may not normally see one another throughout the year. Far flung relatives, cousins, in-laws, and other guests-of-guests may come from all walks of life. Their political, religious, and social viewpoints may differ widely from our own. Yet when we see them during the holidays, we do our best to tolerate differences. Ideally, we look for ways to connect rather than provoke arguments.

Tolerance is not always the easiest value to embrace. Now, especially, we can find ourselves thrust into polemic arguments driven by political and media forces which command enormous attention and influence. Social media and a profound lack of face-to-face interaction makes it easier to distance ourselves from our mutual, essential humanity if we let it. It is easy to be intolerant. Easy to erect high walls. Easier than ever to segment and align ourselves with only those who agree with our values and sense of our role the world.

I would gently urge everyone to see the holidays as more than a time to buy gifts, give thanks for our blessings, and eat sweet treats. Let us remember to practice tolerance, acceptance, and recognize the importance of diversity in this world.

With hope and gratitude – Well-wishing this holiday season…

Is the Euro catching up with the Pound ?

Is the Euro catching up with the Pound , or are we in for a strong Pound altogether ?

UK Autumn Statement Summary

Yesterday, during his Autumn Statement, George Osbourne announced that growth forecasts would be revised up to 2.3% for 2015 and 2.4% for 2016. While it is certain that the Bank of England would’ve known of these forecasts before the Chancellor announced them, the news would have been welcome news to Governor Mark Carney and company.

It was expected that the rest of Osbourne’s Autumn Statement was going to have a limited impact on sterling, however, due to its surprise upbeat discourse we saw GBP/EUR trade between 1.4123 and 1.4278 (IB).

There is no data from the UK today and with the US Thanksgiving public holiday starting today we instead look to tomorrow and the second estimate of quarterly GDP for market-moving data, although the UK is very good at estimating its preliminary figures, so revisions are not likely.


Impact on a French property purchase

When buying in France, payment is sent to a Notary in Euros. As a currency exchange specialist, FC Exchange can achieve you an extra 3% to 4% on the exchange rate compared to using a bank. This additional saving can come to several thousand Euros and goes a long way to paying for property renovations, Notary fees and other expenses. FC Exchange also offer a variety of contract types to help ensure you’re protecting yourself from any adverse market movements. One of our most popular contract types for property buyers in France is the Forward Contract, as explained below.

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