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How did I get involved in French property? Very simply, we have a property that is on the market. French estate agents have a reputation shall we say, for not being awfully proactive. Our property made it to the windows of sever local agents, there were a few seemingly random viewings and that was it. Being a fairly hands on kind of a person it got me questioning what I could do to boost things along? 

I'm not an estate agent by training, I grew up with an architect for a Dad so I have a 'programmed' appreciation for buildings, homes, design. I decided that the thing I could do immediately was set up a Facebook group for people wishing to sell their homes privately in France. By cutting out the agents buyers can save themselves tens of thousands of Euros. Hence Sun Homes was born. I wasn't the first to have this idea, there are other groups but they tend to see properties posted and disappear down the feed with no extra promotion or discussion on the group.

We now have almost 800 members. I have created an interactive Google map to post each property, links to websites etc. We have active buyers on the group, last week we witnessed a viewing being arranged, not the first by any means. 

Last year I set up a Twitter account @HomesSun, this is now growing nicely and appearing in the Twitter lists of French Estate Agents… Next steps, setting up a website to allow easier searches for property and an expansion of my Social Media work into platforms such as Instagram and Pintrest..

Do come and join us!

Katherine Keleko Mar 23 '15 · Comments: 1 · Tags: #property #france #sunhomes

As of February 2015, RealtyTrac reported that 25 percent of all active foreclosures were zombie foreclosures. The Consumer Finance Protection Bureau (CFPB) is considering taking action because they see the rates of zombie foreclosures as a large enough issue that might hurt the market. Daren Blomquist, the vice president at RealtyTrac, said, “While the number of vacated zombie foreclosures is down from a year ago, they represent an increasing share of all foreclosures because they tend to be the problem cases still stuck in the pipeline.”


So, what is a zombie foreclosure? A foreclosure is categorized as “zombie” when a property is vacated by the homeowners prior to the bank repossessing it. This occurs when a bank begins a foreclosure but then abandons it and fails to alert the homeowners that they are still responsible for that property. Often times, the borrowers, or the owners, are under the impression that the property has been foreclosed because they receive a notice and they then move out but later come to find out the lender never followed through on their foreclosure. So,in theory, the borrower still owns the property. They may have moved to another house but they are unknowingly accruing interest, penalties, maybe even liens, on the property which can lead to large financial deficiencies building up without the owner being aware.


The CFPB has previously communicated ideas to help resolve the zombie foreclosure issue. According to Michelle Conlin’s article CFPB Targets "Zombie" Foreclosures After Reuters Report, some of the CFPB’s ideas include, “creating a national definition of ‘abandonment’, hastening the foreclosure process so vacant homes can more quickly be transferred to potential owners and non-profits, and creating a national registry of zombie properties.”


In the meantime, zombie foreclosures continue to be an issue and take over the market. Daren Blomquist of RealtyTrac admits, “The states where overall foreclosure activity has been increasing over the past year — counter to the national trend — tend to be states with a longer foreclosure process more susceptible to the zombie problem.”


The five states that reported the most zombie foreclosures, as of February 2015, were Florida, New Jersey, New York, Illinois, and California. At 35,903 zombie foreclosures, Florida had the highest number of any state and they accounted for 26 percent of all foreclosures in Florida. The state with the second highest amount of zombie foreclosures was New Jersey at 17,983 which was an 109 percent increase from a year ago. New York had 16,777 zombie foreclosures, representing 19 percent of all residential properties in foreclosure while Illinois had 9,358 and California had 7,370 zombie foreclosures.


If your property was foreclosed but you have any doubts about the process not being completed or you see a property that looks like its abandoned, it may be worth determining whether or not that property was actually foreclosed by the bank or still owned by the prior borrower. Examining the land records or running a title search on the property could inform you if a foreclosure was completed or not. If you have any questions regarding this subject you can reach us at our website at


Investing in foreclosure properties is a popular way for investors to leverage real estate assets for higher profit. There are two to three ways in which to buy foreclosure properties. The first way is to purchase it from a sheriff’s auction. This would be in a judicial state where the foreclosure is done through the court system. The second way is directly from a lender whose foreclosed and taken ownership of that property. The third way to purchase is from a lender’s representative. This would be in a non-judicial state where it goes through a trustee. These cases are usually done by law firms that auction off the properties.

As an investor it’s important to understand what your property rights position is relative to a foreclosure. At a foreclosure auction, that auction process may wipe out some encumbrances on the property, but it may not wipe out all of them. For example, tax liens or government liens typically survive most types of foreclosures, but a second mortgage line of credit or even a credit card judgment may not.

When bidding at foreclosure auctions, it’s a pretty common mistake for investors to bid on a second mortgage when, unknowingly, the first mortgage is still in place. Then, that first mortgage becomes the obligation of the investor. That’s why understanding which claims against a property exist at the time of the auction and which claims will be extinguished by that auction process is important. These are things you’ll want to look at in your own particular county and state because the law regarding them varies by location. There are usually statutes that describe which items will survive a foreclosure and which won’t.

The second option of buying a foreclosure is directly through the lender who has foreclosed and owns that property. The lender may have the property listed with a realtor, an REO department, or a short sale department. Whatever the case, dealing with a lender typically gives you a couple advantages. First of all, they may have done some rehab on the property. Secondly, you probably have some time to inspect the property, as is opposed to buying at auction where you typically can’t look inside. However, with those advantages comes a higher price point. Usually, because the property is more appealing, investors bid more for it. Also, if it’s a straight sale the lender will probably price it higher because they’ve incurred some expenses from those additional services.

The third option is buying a foreclosure through a non-judicial state where a trustee is holding the auction. Typically, in these cases, you may have some access to the property because it is a private sale. You also may have different payment terms, which is another very important aspect to look at. Sometimes a sheriff’s sale requires a cashier’s check in the full amount within 24 hours which means having the funds ready to go at a moment’s notice. Other times a 10 percent cashier’s check is required at the time of the sale and 30 days are allotted to pay the rest. Typically there are no contingencies on these purchases, meaning once someone has bid on the property, there is no way to get out of it. It doesn’t matter if there are liens on the property or it has extreme water damage inside. It is an as is sale.

Performing a good amount of due diligence and knowing the risks of buying a foreclosure property is key. It is an excellent way to purchase a property for 10, 15, or 20 percent less than the typical market value and save on closing costs. Instead of spending thousands of dollars on closing costs you may only want to spend a couple hundred on some due diligence, title research, or inspections and be ahead of the game versus somebody who is buying it retail through the MLS system.


By purchasing a Waterview Condo you have decided to live in one of the best small towns in Ontario. Centrally located between the Golden horseshoe and the Niagara region, with the new GO train terminus arriving in 2015, Grimsby is set to become the gateway town between the Niagara region and the Greater Toronto Area. Today Grimsby is still a quaint and charming sleepy little town with amazing vistas of Lake Ontario and access to the charming Bruce Trail.

Town Stats

The town of Grimsby has a census population as of 2011 of just over 25,000 people, and the land area just smaller than 70 km². This sleepy little hollow was originally settled over 200 years ago in 1790 by United Empire Loyalists led by Terry Green. The name Grimsby was used in the area starting in 1816. Today the town of Grimsby is the starting point of most Niagara region winery and distillery tours with a number of its own wineries and distilleries.

It was also recently announced that a GO Rail Station will be built in Grimsby by 2015 as a layover site for future expansion into the Niagara region for the local transportation giant. It is a major step in bringing GO rail service to the Niagara region and it all begins in Grimsby. It also allows residents of Grimsby a convenient choice for commuting to Toronto. Of course other commuting options include the QEW with three interchanges in the town.


The current mayor of the town of Grimsby is Bob Bentley, and the town is run on a traditional alderman and council ward system. There are four wards in the town of Grimsby, with alderman serving for four year terms. The Town’s website, linked above provides residents with a host of information on everything from community facilities, economic development to cultural institutions the town is in fine form.

Educational Options

For those moving into Grimsby there is number of educational options including eight elementary schools, two of which are Catholic and two secondary schools, one that is public and the other Catholic.Smith Public School is the closest elementary school to Waterview Condos.

Activities and Events

Living in the center of the universe practically lays all the activities of the Greater Toronto Area, the Golden Horseshoe and the Niagara Region all at your feet. Whether you want to go into the city for a game at the Air Canada Center, visit Niagara’s Fallsview Casino and Resort, spend a day shopping at Hamilton’s Lime Ridge Mall or simply hiking or biking the Bruce Trail, the newly planned Grimsby Lakefront Trail system or around Beamer Memorial Conservation area in Grimsby you will never want for an activity or event.

With two Marina’s in Grimsby including Lakecourt Marina and the Fifty Point Yacht Club both within a short distance of your new Condo, your lake voyage adventures will be just around the corner.

With just a hint of what you can expect from living in the Grimsby area stay tuned for more in depth articles on living in this great town.


If you plan to be a resident of Grimsby in a new Waterview Condominium it is often best to know some background of the area. One of the most charming parts of Grimsby is the Grimsby Beach Park that was at one time a thriving summer resort, home to an amusement park and entertainment center. This developed from the Chautauqua movement. An international movement that started in the United States but quickly grew into a larger series of roving and permanent events to educate, provide culture, music, political expression and entertainment to rural populations. Grimsby Park was one such place where the first Canadian Chautauqua was held as early as the early 1880’s and ended officially in 1909 in Grimsby.

The Beginning

The first recorded Chautauqua was held in New York on the shores of Chautauqua Lake in 1874 by a Methodist minister, John Vincent. It started as a training camp for Sunday school teachers in a summer school format. The educational nature of the outdoor summer camp was copied and spread to many other ‘daughter’ Chautauquas and began in earnest to spread throughout the US and Canada. Within a decade, what was once just a simple training camp for Sunday school teachers blossomed into a movement across North America to provide culture, education and entertainment to the rural masses.

Before 1917 the main focus of the event was to provide a Lecture series to people in the vicinity of the event. These events often took many different forms, from a roaming tent Chautauqua to permanently constructed structures specifically for the event. As the events grew in notoriety and size, different aspects were added to the events. These included music entertainment, free religious expression and cultural plays. The movement was expected to provide a way for the rural populations to enjoy and participate in the society’s great accomplishments.

Grimsby Beach

The Grimsby Chautauqua had its earliest beginnings in the Methodist Church much like in the US. In 1875 a camp ground plan was outlined showing land that was purchased from John Bowslaugh of approximately 12.5 acres. In the public records held at the Grimsby Public Library, Grimsby Historical Society Archives and the Grimsby Public Library records show a lively event burgeoning in the area with a 16 page programme being developed for the 1885 Chautauqua.

The earliest records of this event is sparse, but it becomes clear that the popularity of the Grimsby Beach area blossoms into an area known for entertainment, culture and a great beach scene by the 1900s. A large pier was built into Lake Ontario to welcome large steamers from Toronto, and many more buildings were added to propel the area into a summer resort much more than the originally intended Chautauqua. In 1916 the park was sold to Canada Steamship Lines and continued to operate for a time, finally closing in 1949 for good.

This land is now part of the land being redeveloped as a mixed use area for all Grimsby residents including natural trails, new beaches and an overall reinvigoration of an area that has been used for recreation in the area for over 100 years.


Waterview Condominiums will be your new home. Why not take an active role in its future by being an active participant in its upkeep and prolonged maintenance by being active as a member of a Condo Association. Most condo complexes in Canada have boards that represent members of the community of owners and help keep the property looking amazing long after the builder is finished. These condominium associations can ensure a healthy and vibrant community and well-kept premises.

The Association

The condominium association is the group that governs the policies of the condominium project, allocate expenses for upkeep and maintenance and collect monthly, quarterly or annual fees. Every owner that purchases a condominium is automatically a member of the association. Before you even sign a purchase agreement the seller of the unit must describe what is considered the CC&Rs of the association. These are the covenants, conditions and restrictions of the property.

This often includes such staple rules and regulations such as garbage and recycling disposal, the policies regarding pets and even items that are or are not allowed on the owner’s balcony. The rules of these associations are governed by the Condominium Act, 1998. These associations are meant to protect the homeowners of the condominium as a whole against any one person or homeowner that would devalue the building by their actions. Some of the rules may enforce certain parking habits, issues considering visitors and loiterers or even using the condominium amenities.

It is these rules enforced by the Condo association that helps all residents enjoy their new home to their utmost enjoyment and keep the property in appropriate condition to warrant the condo and maintenance fees paid on a monthly basis.

Association Specifics

As a homeowner you have a right to membership, but also an ability to act on the Board of Directors as well. Most boards must have a President, Secretary and Treasurer just as in most corporations. Generally the builder holds the majority of the board positions until the units of the project have been sold.

One of the most important aspects of the association, besides rules and regulations concerning property use by homeowners is the maintenance of the property. Most associations use third party vendor property management firms to take care of the day-to-day care operations of the building. This includes snow removal, landscape upkeep and even small repair operations around the building. This is what keeps your investment safe from a property falling into disrepair as in a single family dwelling.

These associations also generally have emergency reserves to deal with unexpected situations that arise such as water pipe breaks, natural disasters or even liability lawsuits. In every way the association is a means to protect your investment for the long term ensuring a healthy, happy and joyful experience in your new home.

If you have purchased a Waterview Condominium, one of the best ways to understand the management of the structure and ensure its vitality is to become an active member of this association.


Choosing a place to live near the Greater Toronto Area can be a challenge. Most people want a condo within commuting distance to Toronto and be on a major travel network yet rarely also consider the weather of the area they are considering. If you choose the northwest and southwest regions like Peterborough west to Barrie and south to Guelph as many do, you will not enjoy the more temperate offerings of the Niagara Peninsula. Waterview Condominiums in Grimsby offers just as much reason as these other locations and more.

Location, Location, Location

Of course the old saying about location is extremely important when buying a home, yet it can be just as important for condo living depending on your needs, wants and desires. Living in the GTA, condo buyers always have must-haves. Usually it includes being on a major mass transit line or direct access to one of the major highway networks such as the 401, 403, QEW, DVP or the 407. As you get further from the core of the big city these locations usually get harder to find a condo that has the quality you want, the amenities you need and a perfect location that includes both mass transit and highway options.

Waterview is located in one of the best spots in the entire 905 belt, especially considering the soon to arrive GO Train station planned. Waterview is unique in the fact that it is located just off the QEW, has a lakefront view of Lake Ontario and will be within a 5 minute drive from the new proposed GO train station in Grimsby. Where else can you be on a train line into Toronto, access to a major highway for the commute and still get quality country living in a charming small town with Lake front views?

The Icing on the Cake

Although not many consider the weather patterns of the area during condo selection, it could truly add significant benefits for buyers. Unlike other areas around the GTA, Grimsby and the Niagara Peninsula benefit from more moderate temperatures and precipitation because of the moderating effects of both Lake Ontario and Lake Erie. This moderating effect on the area’s temperature range is one reason why the area is the largest fruit growing and vine growing region in Canada.

As a result of this moderating effect, winters in this area can be significantly milder than in other areas around Toronto. Compared to the lake effect snow areas just east of Lake Huron and the colder regions northwest and northeast of Toronto, the Niagara Peninsula offers an enviable weather location. With temperatures only dipping below 0°C during the last half of December, January and Februrary the shortened winter months can be appreciated in comparison to the harsher winters further north and west.

The summer months also offer a more moderate temperature range than in other locales, providing for maximum average temperatures that are lower than 30°C during the hottest summer months of July and August. This area in the fall with the amount of tree coverage and natural beauty can be one of the most beautiful vistas in Ontario.

So consider purchasing your new Waterview Condo, not because of its ease in getting into Toronto, but for its amazingly moderate temperatures year round.

France I think, is in my blood. The first time I came here I was eleven. My Parents packed up our slightly rusty Renault 14 and drove to Dover. As we stood on the deck of the ferry I took in the white cliffs disappearing but was more interested in the sight of the 'continent' appearing, what would it be like, this great mythical, mysterious place?

We pottered through France, all the way down to the Aude, a department in the Languedoc Roussillon. Two weeks in a gite and another week pottering back. We drove the country roads, the back roads, not bombing up the Autoroutes. Dad was an architect so particularly interested in the Bastide towns of SW France. As it turns out, by chance, my daughters now go to school in one of those tiny villages we drove through back on that trip.

How did we end up here? We are 40 something's, two 8 year olds and a small menagerie of animals. We made the break from the UK in 2011 after owning a small town house in the Limousin for a number of years. I had been seriously ill the previous year, one of those life threatening illnesses that makes you think about what you REALLY want. So, we decided we would be brave, or foolhardy and move to our holiday home so we did. We arrived in July 2011 and have been here ever since. My husband has not yet been able to make the move full time but is spending more time here now, we aim to get him here full time as soon as we can.


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