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Posts Tagged ‘moving home in France’

…a rather disappointing end at that but at least we can move on.

The House

Despite Mr Piglet’s best efforts on Friday and the agents assurances that the owner was open to an offer, poor Mr Piglet was unable to negotiate and the owner would not move from their asking price, not even by a Euro! Even the estate agent tried to reason with the owner but she would not budge and was adamant that we would be able to find the extra cash to purchase.

The fact that the house needed rewiring and a new heating system straightaway was of little concern to her or her son. The fact that the property market in their area is in a dire state with prices heading downwards was of little concern. The fact that she advertised 440 m2 of living space when in fact there were 350 m2 didn’t bother her either.

Mr Piglet pointed out that the urgent work needed to take place straightaway and he had to keep some money to do these as we are a new family moving into a house and that work had to be done straightaway.

Her son who was present and seemed to be leading the negotiations said that his mother would not move on price and would not entertain any offers. He was adamant that they would obtain the asking price either with us or someone else.

We thought the property had been on sale for 1 year but in fact it has been on the market for 2.5 years now and is probably not going to get sold any time soon.

Given the way French inheritance laws work, the son is obviously hoping that his mother will pop her clogs sometime soon and that he will become the owner of the house and won’t have to sell. He’s pretty well installed there, runs his business from there and is a bachelor so it would probably be a major pain in the rear end for him if he had to move, which to me explains why he is blocking his mother from accepting any offers. If only we’d known this before…

To top it all off poor Mr Piglet broke down on his way home and had to call the roadside assistance, a 1 hour journey back home took him in excess of 4 hours. Just what he needed to end a crappy day!

We may try and make one final offer in a few weeks time if we haven’t progressed on any other properties but if we have then we’ll just say good bye to this house. I never wrote about it here as I didn’t want to jinx myself with bad luck, but it was a lovely house with two separate gites, very oldy worldy style but snug at the same time.

So at the moment I’m still none the wiser as to where we’ll be living come February 15th. We picked up the search on Saturday so hopefully we’ll have some positive news soon.

Here are some photos of the house that didn’t work out:

Dining room

Kitchen

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I’m an impatient Piglet and am certainly not renowned for being able to wait for anything, so at the moment it is like I am living through hell as my patience is being pushed to its limits and there’s not much I can do about it.

I debated even writing about this on here as I am also a superstitious person and don’t want to tempt fate in anyway, I need all the luck I can get right now otherwise I won’t have anywhere to live.

Mr Piglet and I have to move out of the city pad on February 15th, after which we will be homeless. We don’t want to ask the buyers for an extension as every month we remain here costs an absolute fortune.

It’s not as if we haven’t found somewhere we would like to live, we have. It is perfect. It is a farmhouse between Lyon and Grenoble and comes complete with a separate 3 bedroom gite with kitchen and living room, which would be perfect for us when having family or friends to stay. The house is plenty big enough for us and offers extension possibilities as well and is full of charm.

We first visited the house about a month ago and ever since I have been dreaming about it. I can see the family living there and can imagine large family Christmases with our huge Christmas tree and a large dining table full of lots of yummy things to eat. It’s a real family house and what’s more it’s not isolated in anyway, the nearest town is just 5 minutes drive away and has all the commodities you can think of (or I can think of anyway).

We’ve even been very British about the whole thing and had a technical survey done on the property which the French do not have done very often. As we’re no experts in old buildings and the house is made of something called pize which looks rather like weetabix to me we wanted to be sure that we know what we’re getting ourselves into before proceeding any further.

This took time to organize and time to get the report back on and in the meantime we started making progress with our mortgage application as we wanted to know exactly how much we can borrow. The house is over our price range and our financial situation has changed over the past few years (not for the better I may add) so it’s all a bit hit and miss at the moment.

Hopefully we’ll hear back from the bank this week and then we’ll be able to make an offer. It’s taking every possible ounce of will power at the moment not to call them to chase everyday, it’s dreadful but we need to wait as knowing that our finance is in place will help tremendously when it comes to making an offer on the property.

At the moment I won’t post anymore but if you want to join me in crossing your fingers, toes and arms then that would be fabtastic!

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SOLD!! The city pad is sold!! We finally accepted an offer that put an end to negotiations on Monday morning and can confirm that come January, if all goes smoothly, the Piglet family will be homeless unless we find something quick!

As is always the way, as soon as we had agreed a price (less than the asking price but nonetheless a price we are happy with) we got a call from another interested person, an international footballer! Tempted by the money but morally aware that the property was already sold, we politely, but regretfully sent his agent packing. I don’t think they’re used to being told that sold means sold and not if they pay more then they can buy it! Anyway, at least we know we made the right decision on a moral basis even if it was a hard one to make financially.

In anticipation of the sale, Mr Piglet and I started house hunting on Saturday. We had spent some time looking on the internet but had not started really looking as I am very superstitious and didn’t want to jinx selling the property. I could not imagine the heartache if I’d found the perfect property only to not be able to buy it because we hadn’t sold.

Rather rapidly we chose two properties that looked great on paper and seemed to answer everything on our wish list:

– spacious, ideally 200m2
– outbuildings
– rural but not isolated
– character building if possible (shouldn’t be hard in France)
– ADSL required!
– Not on a busy road
– No structural renovation required in the main property

Easy right?

Arriving in the village I desperately needed the loo (being pregnant meant that Husband did not moan for once!) so we stopped in the village bar for a coffee. Entering the small room, I was overwhelmed by the stench of cigarettes and alcohol – it’s been a while now since smoking was banned in bars and restaurants but that law has obviously not reached parts of rural France as yet.

I glanced around, taking in my surroundings and saw a woman about my age showing off her new purchases to some other women in the bar. Thrilled at the thought of sharing a shopping addiction with other villagers I looked on. Now, I’m no fashionista, but the excited exclamations and squeals of joy she was receiving lead me to believe that she had acquired a pair of Louboutins or similar coveted footwear, and incited me to take a closer peek into the box she was holding. What a shock! The contents were silver, sparkly trainers! Not quite what I was expecting!

It was daft of me to expect someone to have these in rural France!

As I continued to scan the bar area, my eyes were drawn to a caricature of a man, the type of person I’d always expected to see in France when I was about 10 but who, rather disappointedly in reality doesn’t exist. You know, the man with the beret hat, the mariner t-shirt, closely cut hair and brightly coloured belt? Well, I had to do a double take, as this guy at the bar was exactly that, the typical French guy that I believed didn’t exist. All that was missing was a baguette and some onions. He was drinking Pastis (at 1130 am) and was discussing hunting so maybe the lack of baguette and onions can be forgiven as he’d obviously not caught anything so wouldn’t be making lunch. Afterall, that would explain why he was in a bar drowning his sorrows in Pastis!

My stereotypical image of a Frenchman

Feeling rather out of sorts in the bar, Mr Piglet and I left rapidly after downing our coffee, bemused by the characters we had encountered. Was village living really going to be the right thing for us? Then again, I’m sure if we went into any bar in Lyon at 1130 in the morning we’d meet some strange souls so we decided to discount this experience as being unrelated to country living.

As for the properties we visited, all I can say was the trip was a waste of time and nothing was suitable.

The first property was being advertised as habitable and requiring comfort refreshing (ie. Decoration) yet, walking around I was scared stiff that the ceilings were going to cave in, that I would be electrocuted or the floor would give way.

The second property was being advertised as being 200 m2 and as having outbuildings, but reality again turned out to be different. Entering the front door, I was immediately confronted with a close up view of the back door. Now, I’m a bit short sighted and things normally look quite far away, but the back door was only 5 metres away from me! The kitchen was a non-existent black hole and the bedrooms could only be called single box rooms at best. Not quite what I was expecting! At best, we estimated the house measured no more than 140 m2. As for the numerous outbuildings advertised, there was one, measuring 20 metres squared on the ground, so maximum extension potential of 40 m2!

Our quest for space may seem excessive but when both spouses work from home, an office in the spare bedroom is not really practical, so we need space to work, to live and to welcome house guests especially now that we have a mini us on it’s way!

All in all, a disappointing first outing. Our next visits are being planned with military precision and hopefully, just hopefully, we will stumble upon the perfect property very soon otherwise we really will be homeless!

ps. I did take some pictures but they’re stuck on my camera for the time being and don’t want to come off!

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