jeudi 30 septembre 2010
V is for Vendu (Sold)
Ils ont decide de partir vers d’autres horizons — They have decided to pull up sticks
It’s easy to be seduced by what your money can buy here. But remember, if you hated gardening and DIY in the UK, you are unlikely to develop a passion for them here. Enough said.
We did a lot of viewing on the Internet before we started looking seriously, but even then on our first property-hunting trip we were disappointed. One house seemed ideal on paper, and it was a beautiful place in reality. However, it was also next to a firm that repaired lawnmowers and tractors. The daily noise would have been awful. Another lovely-looking place was fine until you got to the master bedroom where the ceiling was so low you literally had to crawl from the door to the bed.
And make sure you know what you are getting for your Euros. Some neighbours didn’t realize until the time came to sign on the dotted line that they were also going to be the proud owners of the field opposite. You can’t build on the field, you can’t really do anything with it — except mow it. (Of course, that is a good excuse to buy one of those sit-on mowers.)
As with house buying anywhere, it’s the little things that trip you up. When we looked at this house, the lounge was attractively furnished and had a couple of table lamps each side of the room. We didn’t think to check they were plugged in. When we moved in we discovered there wasn’t a single power point in the lounge — the TV was actually plugged into a point in the kitchen. However, there were approximately 10 sockets in the bedroom.
The previous occupants very helpfully prepared a box for us containing instructions for all the appliances — we particularly wanted them for the induction hob, which we hadn’t ever used before, and the cooker, which is beyond state-of-the-art. However, when they weren’t looking, their removal men packed the box and it went into storage for a couple of months. Once retrieved, they very kindly sent it to us and the contents have since proved invaluable. It was trial and error before that box arrived.
They also proudly told us that the chandelier in the lounge came from Selfridge’s. What they didn’t tell us was that you couldn’t buy the bulbs for it in France. At one stage we had to get a friend to send us some in a well-padded Jiffy bag. Our thanks go to the British and French postal systems for getting them to us intact.
When buying a property, on the day of completion, you visit the house before signing. This confirms that you are taking over the property in the condition you see it in on that day. Then you, the vendors and the estate agent all troop off to the notaire (lawyer) together to sign a rain forest of paper, and you get the keys.
Estate agents do a lot more for their money in France (and they get a lot more money for doing it). They accompany you on all viewings and sort out much of the admin for you, such as dealing with utility companies. But even with the help of our very efficient estate agent, it still took three months to get a phone and broadband.