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Posts Tagged ‘buying a French house’

For a whole week the estate agent decided to do nothing with our low ball offer as he felt it would anger the owners. We found this out on Monday when he finally decided to respond to our emails and telephone message and update us on where we stood. Needless to say, we were not happy.

Our offer was an initial offer as is often practiced in the world of property, a starting point for negotiations. The agent seemed to have difficulty grasping this as well as our reasoning behind the offer, which is worrying to say the least. We decided that it would be safer if we could negotiate without having to rely on him in the middle.

This is yet another example of how estate agents can be totally unprofessional in France. I know they have a bad reputation generally which is a shame as there are great agents out there who do a fantastic job, but this agent is yet another example of how poor they can be. When I think that he will pocket anywhere between 7 000 Euros and 18 000 Euros approximately in commission drives me wild. Sometimes it’s best not to think about these things.

Having suggested that he arrange an appointment for us to meet the owner, it took four days (yes, four whole working days) for the appointment to be arranged and confirmed with all parties. The appointment is today and Mr Piglet will be setting off on his own with strict instructions to make sure he gets that house! I daren’t attend as I don’t trust myself to manage my emotions, so trying to keep a poker face during negotiations just wouldn’t be possible!

Hopefully we’ll have some news by the end of the day… fingers crossed.

Whilst all this waiting has been going on, Mr Piglet and I have been keeping a close eye on the property market in our desired search areas in case we miss out on this house and so that we have a plan B. As of today we still don’t have a back up plan and will be homeless on February 15th but we’ve certainly viewed some more interesting properties:

The goats shed:

This was one of those properties were the estate agent annoys the hell out of you to go and visit, for once they remember your number and call you every other day asking when you’d like to view. Eventually, with nothing moving on our favourite property, we gave in and agreed to visit. Oh boy, was I angry when I go there.

We met the agent in the nearby town, it was a snowy day and thankfully we had snow tyres on the car. One of my criteria was to be close to local amenities (no more than a 5 minutes drive) so as we started to take windy, one track lanes up a steep hill, I realized that the location was going to be an issue. Of course, this was one of the things we had checked with the agent prior and he had reassured us that it was just a five minutes drive… 20 minutes of winding roads later we arrived… we were at the end of the road, we couldn’t go any further and we were surrounded by piles and piles of snow. We couldn’t even drive up the drive to the property so we just left the car on the road outside (it was so remote there was no traffic as there was no where to go!) and walked.

When we finally made the trek up the icy hill we were met with a fantastic, panoramic view of the mountains and the valley and a rather large goats shed.

This should be proof that you should never visit a property with no outside photos… I was so enraged that I didn’t even think to get my camera out for your benefit, but believe me when I say goat shed, it looked something like this:

Of course, it had been converted inside, but the first thing the agent said to us was that the asbestos roof wasn’t dangerous… WHAT? What planet is he on? Okay, so it may not be dangerous if you don’t come into contact with the dust particles, but does he have any idea how much it costs to remove and dispose of asbestos and then how much to re-roof? Fancy even beginning to imagine that this is the type of work a pregnant women would even consider undertaking!

A quick dash around the property confirmed my thoughts and I didn’t even bother going into most of the rooms. It was supposed to have been refurbished in a loft style (I am quite partial to industrial conversions as I currently live in a paper factory) but this was a joke. The floors were uneven, the studwork was not done correctly and the ceilings were just plasterboards nailed to bits of wood. The bathroom smelt of excrements and rot and the stairs were not safe – Mr Piglet didn’t even want me to go up them!

We made a sharp exit after about 10 minutes, our quickest visit yet, and started back down the hill onto our next visit:

The Ravinghouse:

Nestled between two hills we arrived at a rather bourgeois house, that was slightly out of budget but we had been told the owners were willing to accept an offer. The house was set in split level grounds and had a large double garage, 6 bedrooms and plenty of living space. However, it just wasn’t getting us excited and it was all rather “boring” compared to other stuff we had seen and of course the house we want to buy.

I’d pretty much written the house off and my thoughts were wandering to the journey home and turning on the heated car seats to ease my back pain (I am currently suffering from a bad back due to being pregnant, hence I’m not spending much time on the computer these days).

The estate agent led us down some stairs where we discovered an indoor pool area and gym space. I had not read the details so hadn’t been expecting this at all! It was Mr Piglet’s surprise for me as I’d said I wanted an indoor pool one day (I love swimming but cannot stand public pools and an outside pool, even if heated, just won’t cut it). It was a lovely pool but I still couldn’t see myself living in the house, it just didn’t have that wow factor.

Whilst Mr Piglet and the agent carried on looking around, I had noticed some doors, rather like stable doors on what looked like a building under the terrace. I then discovered a red door on the side of the wall and pushed it open to see where it led. Mr Piglet and the agent followed me as the agent had not been to the house in a long time and was not aware of any more rooms.

We entered what only can be described as a pub bar/nightclub complete with pole dancing pool, raised dance area and dance floor with chairs on the outside! We were all absolutely gobsmacked, this was completely not expected and the agent wasn’t even aware of it!

I was laughing so hard, I couldn’t resist taking some photos of this unexpected surprise:

A pub at home!


complete with pole dancing...


...and dance floor


not to mention the indoor pool!

We wrapped up the visit pretty quickly after that as I felt as if the bar/club area was used for some not so normal activities and was completely put off by the whole thing. How weird it was to have such an outfit as part of your house!

When we returned to the car I noticed the village name signpost was just outside the house – RAVIGNHOUSE! Okay, so the G and the N are the wrong way around but if you look at it quickly you read RAVING HOUSE – for me that just about said it all!

Turns out the village has an appropriate name...

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