The ‘Buying a house’ category:

Our ‘new’ house project sort of begins. Just outside though

September 9th, 2013

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We’re buying another house.

Before you start complaining that setting up a property empire is hardly a simple, rural, frugal family existence, it’s a very cheap (and knackered) little house that’s next-door-but-one to us that’s not too tricky to do up and should be able to provide some sort of income. Right, that’s the explanations sorted.

Now, I’ve not mentioned this house before since it’s not technically ours yet and I thought there’s no real point. Our offer was accepted in February and, due to various strange bureaucratic ‘quirks’, it’s still not technically ours nearly 8 months later, but we’re assured that it’s almost there since all 27 owners (!) have signed and there’s just a few bits of paperwork to sort out. With the good weather nearly behind us we thought we should at least make a start on the garden before it got too wet, so we called in my brother (who, luckily for us, is a professional gardener).

He and I (although mainly he) spent 6 solid days getting rid of brambles, dead trees, fences, barbed wire, chest-height grass, an old barn, an old outhouse and an old wood store, and generally turning it from an overgrown jungle into something that has the makings of a really nice garden. The rest of this post doesn’t really require words, the pictures cover it. Suffice to say, brambles are fuckers.

Almost there

January 31st, 2011

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Ben is in France!  Today he visited the house to inspect everything and find out how the heating / septic tank / oil tank and all that stuff work.

Our currency exchange people have already transferred the money to the notaire, so tomorrow he just has to sign the final contract and the house will be ours!

It is pretty weird to be moving to a house that I have never seen and that Ben has only seen for 15 minutes, 7 months ago.  It seems that the inspection went well – everything works, the roof hasn’t blown away over the winter, and there is hot water and heating.  I can’t wait for next week when we can all explore properly and finally find out what we are letting ourselves in for!

12 days to go

January 21st, 2011

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The plan is as follows:

  • I fly over to sign on the 31st January.
  • I return on the 1st February.
  • We pack up the van with all the rest of our stuff (including the 3 dogs) and drive down to stay with my parents in Milton Keynes on 2nd February.
  • We get the Eurotunnel on the 3rd February and stay overnight somewhere near Paris.
  • We then drive the remaining few hours to our new house on the 4th February.

Sounds simple, eh. Please, please, please let it be simple!

Removals anxiety

January 19th, 2011

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The removals company we picked, Movecorp, came yesterday to take all of our stuff.

Their quote was very cheap. We thought it was because they collect everything in advance and take it over to France along with several other people’s stuff – inconvenient for us but it allows them to be efficient. We’ve now got the invoice and it turns out they’re not cheap at all! Promising it’ll be a certain price and then trebling it once they’ve got all of our stuff in their warehouse is not acceptable! We’re not letting it lie.

Anyway, after visiting our storage depot and collecting 3 containers’ worth of our stuff, they called round to pick up our everyday stuff from Corrie’s mum’s house – where we’ve been staying for the last 6 months – and then left us with the bare minimum. Which is fine: we’ve only got a little while left until we head off.

Hopefully we’ll be able to remind them of their original agreement and this aspect of the adventure can be happily put to one side.

It’s all go!

January 17th, 2011

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The SAFER stuff (where the French agricultural people decide if they’d like to buy the house and land) is done: they don’t want to buy it.

The signing date is arranged: 31st January.

The removals are booked: they’re coming tomorrow to pick up all our possessions and deliver them to us in France in  a few weeks.

So we’re nearly there! It’s very exciting, but rather stressful since everyone but me has been struck down with a horrible sickness bug. However, they’re on the mend, and in a few busy weeks we’ll be packing up the van to drive south, cross over/under the sea, drive even further south and a little bit west, to our new home. Can’t wait!

PS For any regular followers – or indeed new ones – things here will hopefully become a little more interesting when we actually start our adventure!

The judge, he says ‘oui’

December 17th, 2010

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So we’ve been trying to buy this house since July and it turned out that actually, due to a cock up somewhere along the line when sorting out the assets after the husband died, it wasn’t available to sell because one of the sons co-owned it but didn’t know so hadn’t legally consented to selling. And that son’s under some sort of care order so a judge has to make all his decisions. And that judge is French so we had to wait 2 months for him to sign on the son’s behalf.

But he has signed and the house purchase is underway again. The current estimate is now late January.

Fingers crossed!

Update: it’s going to be a while yet

November 21st, 2010

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It’s not going well this ‘buying a house in France’ business.

Our offer on the house was accepted early July. We’ve still not completed and our estate agent’s latest guess is that it will probably be late January. That’s nearly 7 months to buy a house!

So we’re just hanging around, waiting. Maybe soon we’ll be able to start our adventure and start blogging about it. Hopefully.

Setback #1: we’re not moving in 4 weeks

October 6th, 2010

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We were gearing up to sign the contract at the end of October and move over to France at the beginning of November.

It’s not happening like that any more.

Our estate agent got in touch this morning to let us know that there’s a problem and it could be another 3 months! The owner, an elderly lady, needs the permission of her sons in order to sell one of the parcels of land – no-one realised until now. The trouble is, one of her sons is under care so he can’t make any legal decisions, a judge has to do it on his behalf.

This will take time.

So all our plans – removals booked, 2nd car sold, finishing work, storage, pet passports – are scrapped and we’re awaiting a new timescale.

It’s not a good day.

How to buy a house in France… or how we’re doing it

September 28th, 2010

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We’re buying a house in France. How have we done it? Well, it’s a long story, and it’s not over yet, but here’s how it happened….

After coming to the conclusion that I’d quite like to not spend all day sitting in an office and in fact we’d quite like to spend our time together and grow stuff (vegetables, children), make stuff (treehouse, jam), do stuff (learning, camping) we decided we’d give the Guardian-reading cliché of a simpler, slower life a go.

We had a quick look around the internet and discovered that France could offer the basis for this sort of lifestyle, and with our modest budget, we’d probably be OK for a year or so – hopefully long enough to figure stuff out.

We bookmarked Green Acres and JB French Houses and soon found a place that seemed suitable in Limousin. We emailed to arrange a viewing and I flew over to Limoges in France to have a look.

That first trip in January 2009 was a bit of a failure: going all that way to see one property was naive. The second trip in June 2009 was better but I crammed in too many property viewings and it was a little hectic.

However, I did see a little house with a big barn and 1 1/2 acres that I really liked. So we all went back to see it and once we got back home to England put in an offer. The offer was accepted early July 2009 and the (slow) process of buying a house in France began.

Unfortunately the sale fell through because after three months one of the four owners decided she would actually like to keep it. Grrr! Baby number two was on his way by then so it was probably too late to start the whole process again, but I had one more trip over to France to look at a load of properties, all of which were unsuitable. Gutted, we put the whole thing to one side and focussed on our everyday life and the new baby, and even started looking for houses in England and Wales, although with a little less enthusiasm.

Baby number two (Milo) arrived, safe and sound and lovely in January 2010 and our thoughts turned to our France adventure once again. Using the same websites as before we put together a new list of properties, this time in Brittany. I flew over in February 2010, viewed 7 properties and had a good look round the area and decided it wasn’t for us. So back to the internet, and another new list of properties was compiled; in June 2010 I went back to Limoges to view loads more. This time I saw two suitable places! Given my experience on previous trips this was a rare success. We put in an offer on my favourite and on 11th July 2010 it was accepted.

As you can see from the date of this post that was a while ago, and it’s still not finished… but we’re getting there. This is how it’s gone so far…

  • We put in an offer and it was accepted 11th July.
  • The compromis (initial agreement between seller and buyer) was drawn up and arrived by registered delivery 16th August (3 weeks late due to some misplaced deeds :-/)
  • The signed compromis was returned, signed by the seller, our 7-day cooling off period passed, then the file was given to the notaire (solicitor) 15th September.

Hopefully we should get the keys 31st October. I’ll let you know.