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© Laura Jeffreys

10% discount for knowitall.ch readers on upcoming integration workshop

It is five years since Aislinn Delmotte launched her new business, Settling Here, to help new arrivals settle into the Pays de Gex region and surrounding areas of France.

Since that time, frontaliers have been hit hard financially with changes in health care (elimination of private insurance in France) as well as Geneva taxes for working spouses. Many redundancies in the private sector have also resulted in expats moving back to their home countries or elsewhere for work. Despite this, the area still attracts new arrivals  and there is a constant flux of international families moving in and out of the area.

We spoke to Aislinn to find out what impact this has all had on her business and see how she has adapted her services to meet the changing needs of the expat community.

Aislinn told us, "Finding a house in Geneva and dealing with regies can be very tricky, especially for new recruits, and those with a smaller relocation budget. On the French side, there is still a limited number of relocation agencies on the ground with a real understanding of setting up home in the Pays de Gex. Finding the right place to set up home is key to a successful relocation. Many people arriving in the area have to choose between establishing themselves on the Swiss or French side. Having someone to guide you through that decision process even pre-arrival is very important. To enable me to provide the best possible advice, I have now extended my services into the Geneva and Terre-Sainte regions too! Located in the canton of Vaud, between Nyon and Versoix, Terre Sainte is very popular with expats because of its proximity to international schools."

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Looking for a new home in Geneva, Vaud or neighboring France has never been easier than on the newly revamped housing section of the Expatica website!

Their Find a House channel has recently been updated to include a wealth of new features for expats looking to buy or rent a property in this region.

For both Switzerland and France it is possible to access a number of guides relating to buying or renting a property, plus advice on where to live in each of the countries.

For example, in the Buying section of the Swiss portal, there is a guide on Swiss mortgages, as well as tips and mistakes to avoid when buying a house abroad.  In the Renting section there are articles offering useful information about frontaliers, and others that provide advice on what needs to done before you move out of a rented apartment.  For those unsure about where to live, there is a great article, contributed by Know-it-passport, which details all the best places to live in Geneva, Vaud and neighboring France!

For those who know exactly where they want to set up home, there is an extensive Search facility on the website, which enables users to browse according to the type of property they wish to buy or rent, or according to region.

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© Jeff Danziger. Global Geneva Magazine: Off the Wall: Donald Trump’s Global Reset

Since the publication of its 76-page pilot issue last December, 2016, the new Global Geneva Magazine has now come out with its April-May, 2017, print and e-edition.

The editorially-independent English-language publication, which comes out six times a year and focuses on quality reporting with insight on ‘international Geneva’ themes, also provides regular articles online. While the majority of its content draws on its world-wide network of over 2,000 journalists, photographers, cartoonists, film-makers, producers and specialists, Global Geneva also serves as an ‘oped’ platform for members of the Global Geneva Support Community to contribute articles that are non-promotional and meet the magazine’s editorial standards.

“The purpose of Global Geneva is to offer critical reporting with good writing that is compelling and not politically correct,” maintains Swiss-American editor, Edward Girardet. “Our aim is to provoke open debate of key issues in the public interest, such as the potential impact of Trump’s policies on international Geneva and the world or the manner with which France is allowing uncontrolled property developers to destroy local cultural heritage and dictate urban division in the Lake Geneva region. These are issues that concern us all, but which need better and more consistent reporting. We’re trying to support a return to quality journalism.”

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If you are looking to buy a property in the French Alps, or indeed you have a property to sell, it can be quite a daunting process if your French is not great, or you don’t know the region well.

If you only speak English, it is tempting to use one of the UK-based firms to manage the process for you, but if they don’t have local people “on the ground”, then you are potentially missing out on a wealth of information, which can make or break a deal, and result in you buying a far from perfect mountain getaway.

Likewise, if you insist on using a local French-speaking agency to search for your ideal property, you risk overlooking the small details – either the agents don’t understand what you are searching for, or you totally misunderstand the small print on the contract!

Clearly the ideal solution is to deal with a company that has agents who live in the region and understand the market like a local, but who appreciate some of the finer points that matter to international buyers, and can take you through the entire process of buying a property from initial search through to signing of contracts – in your own language!

One company, which has been doing this for nearly 20 years, but which has only recently been brought to our attention, is Alpine Property.  A web-based, French-registered estate agency, Alpine Property currently has 17 bilingual agents, who live and work in the Haute Savoie region of France.

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If you’re considering embarking on a home or garden renovation project this year, then you should take a look at what the Swiss-registered English-speaking building company, PURE BUILD, can offer you.

Working since 2006 and rebranded as 'PURE BUILD' in 2012, Greg Brown will manage the entire project for you, from initial concept and sourcing architects, through to interior design and/or planting trees.

The branding PURE BUILD reflects the aim to be as sustainable and environmentally conscious as possible, using sustainable materials, responsible waste management and efficient transport and work ethics.

PURE BUILD specializes in two main fields: Home Renovations including carpentry, masonry and decoration; and Garden Landscaping, which includes terraces, earth works, masonry, carpentry and plant science.