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Our new-look user-friendly website helps clients find their ideal holiday home even more easily

Who’s this cheeky chappy?— SFHV introduces another new service.


See P2

BlueThinking Skies




ell, I’ve got loads to share with you this month. Lots of new ideas and services that we’re rolling out. Firstly, though, a gentle reminder to ensure your property is completely ready for the beginning of the season.

And lastly, we’re introducing a completely new service, TravelBuddy. This will be a paying service clients can sign up to when they book with SFHV. Basically, it’s an offer of assistance should they find themselves in any sort of trouble, be it property, medical, legal etc. We think this could really help our clients; see page 2 for further information.

Meanwhile, take a peek at our new-look website We’ve made it even more user-friendly by organising all our Juliana Forte and the SFHV Team properties into seven ‘Collections’, including ‘Romantic Getaways’, ‘Hot Villas, Cool Pools’, etc. We’ve also improved the Finally, on a very sad note, I wanted to inform search criteria so clients can now you of the sad passing of Kaye Edwards, a search by Availability, and also what valuable and now sadly missed member of our the property ‘Must Have’ and what it team. Some of you may have needs to be ‘Close To’. We believe this had contact with her, particuwill take a lot of the slog out of selecting the ideal larly over registering new holiday home and will encourage easier bookings. properties. Kaye had not enjoyed the best of health for We’ve also introduced a new contact number, many years but her death was 01252 856464. This is a UK-based telephone still a shock to us all. She was a number but will contact directly with our offices lovely lady and our thoughts here in France. This, we hope, will also encourage are with Andrew, her husband, people to contact us. and daughter Sally.


What’s in your pocket this month? February 18th, 2013: £1 = 1.15€ / 1€ = 86p

Since our last Eurowatch (Blue Skies Thinking, December 2012), the Pound has fairly plummeted against the Euro from 1.25 to 1.15. Where will it go from here? Watch this space…..


- A new service for all our clients

TravelBuddy will be on offer to everyone who books with us. For a small sum (yet to be finalised, but probably no more than £100 for a fortnight’s holiday) we will be on hand to offer good, practical advice if there’s a problem. This could encompass anything from arranging a doctor’s appointment to demystifying the paperwork after a minor traffic offence.


or example, a family arrives at your property late in the evening on the 14th of July and the key you carefully stored in the keysafe breaks off in the lock. No, don’t laugh, this is an actual scenario we had to deal with and the repercussions could have been catastrophic for the family involved! The owner was in the UK, the property manager was too much the worse for wear after celebrating the fete to be of much help. In desperation, the family called SFHV who promptly donned their pants over their tights in a nearby telephone box and rushed to the rescue.


ell, from now on, we are planning to formalise these services and introduce a small, additional charge as an insurance against the unpredictable. The clients should always take out proper holiday insurance, of course, but TravelBuddy will give additional peace of mind, particularly « No, don’t laugh, this is an when it actual scenario we had to comes to dealing with deal with and it could have issues in the been a catastrophe for the French lanfamily involved! « guage.


his month we’re highlighting a lovely villa in Valras owned by Val Brown and her partner, Nick Murrall. The Villa Valras (http:// is a 2-bedroom house on a small development that the couple bought off-plan in 2004. They had previously visited the Languedoc, fallen in love with the area and decided that they wanted to spend more time here. They stayed in an old conversion which convinced them that they really wanted something modern, insulated and warm in the winter! They chose Valras because of its beach, the multitude of activities available and particularly the fact that it is a real town with people living in it year-round. The house has a terrace at the front which overlooks the shared pool, and a small back garden with room for a dining table and a BBQ. All the other houses in this Résidence except one are owned by French people and these are mainly retired owner/occupiers. The fact that it is well heated means that the house can be let throughout the winter but Val reckons on an average 17 weeks’ rental in the mid and high-seasons. This is more than enough to cover running costs which are comparatively high as they need to pay their share of the pool. Val says they have always been lucky with the clients who have stayed in their villa but she nevertheless furnished it with ‘semi-bombproof’ furniture, just in case. Val and Nick allow for average wear-and -tear in their budget and always provide English appliances as they seem to last longer than French ones. Val enjoys the ‘business side’ of the villa and regularly compares her prices with what is being offered elsewhere. The challenge, she says, is to know which weeks will sell easily and to tread a fine line between realising maximum profit and pricing yourself out of the market.

‘It’s very important to have a good, reliable agent like SFHV’, says Val. `We used to have a French agent based here in Valras but frankly, the language and the cultural Movie Mania For those of you who don’t differences made things quite difficult. We did a Googlealready know, MonCiné - the cinema based search in 2006 and came up with Juliana Forte and SFHV in the Polygone at Béziers - regularly shows and haven’t looked back since. This is a British company major new films in Version Originale, which that understands my expectations; they ensure the security deposit gets paid means almost always in English. Or in ‘American’, if you prefer. Films shown over up front and that clients adhere to Brithe last year have included ‘The King’s tish terms and condiSpeech’, ‘The Iron Lady’, ‘Skyfall’ and currently, ‘Lincoln’. This is not the only cinema tions. Juliana and to show VO films, but we mention it because you can get to Jake’ (who looks see latest releases simultaneously with anything you’d get in after SFHV’s manathe UK and in a ‘proper’ cinema – which includes overpriced ged properties) `are great. I’m really popcorn, inadequate toilets but big, comfy seats. These showings have proved very popular with ex-Pats and French happy with the service’. people wishing to air their English.

Newsletter february 2013 final  
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