We’ve now stopped ranting about what happened last week with the French house purchase and dusted ourselves down a bit. We’re still very disappointed with what the Agents described as process that was far from ‘correcte’ on the part of the vendor, but as we see it we are left with 3 options, stay bitter & angry, just leave our dream behind or look forward…………. and as so many people have said often these things happen for a reason and it probably means that we’ll find something better as a result!
So after a glass or two of wine on Friday night – we woke on Saturday and got back to the process of house-hunting again. There is always something good about trawling Estate Agency sites to look at the good, the bad and more often than not, the ugly houses that fall within our price-range and it was interesting to see how many were still available that we had first looked at last summer. We are developing what feels like, an encyclopaedic knowledge of the Agencies across the area and search not only the big sites such as www.lesclesdumidi.co.uk and http://www.green-acres.com but also French sites such as www.paruvendu.fr & www.leboncoin.fr as well as individual Agency sites. After a few hours we had a quite a lengthy list of houses that interested us and so we started to whittle them down to those that could potentially be the house we have always wanted in the Vaucluse.
This time we have really thought about what we want (not that we didn’t last time), but actually the whole process has left us re-thinking exactly what it is we are looking for and exactly where we want to be. This time we have changed the parameters a little and really focused on the Vaucluse. We know that in the terms of the Vaucluse that we have in a very meagre budget (compared to buying elsewhere, where in some places we would probably be able to afford a small chateau!!) Our boys love the Vaucluse and have said they would be happy either to share a room or to sleep on a sofa-bed or in a cellar if necessary (somehow appealing to teenage boys!!). This means that we have been able to look at 2 bedroom properties, rather than the 3 we felt we needed last time we looked.
We have also decided that we do need some outside space as part of having a house in the area is having the ability to spend most of your time outside – in fact it always feels that in the summer the outside space is the main living area. So however much we love the ‘maisons de village’ we have had discount any without any space outside, even though they always have lots of character within. That said equally we don’t really aspire to having a property with a huge garden either as we don’t want to feel that we have to do hours of gardening every time we visit just to keep on top of the weeds etc.
Despite all this, or perhaps because of all this we found that by Sunday we had a list of about 15 properties and decided to book (yet another) house-viewing trip for next week.
Of course I am always happy have any excuse to head South for a few days and this time have managed to book a small town-house in the centre of L’Isle Sur La Sorgue for our stay. I am looking forward to viewing the properties, but also looking forward to staying on the main square in the town, next to my favourite shop Fauque Beyret and a few steps from the wonderful Café De France – every cloud has a silver lining!!
The Estate Agents have been really helpful when I have called and have quickly sent details of properties that they consider would fall within our budget (even though on the face of it some are priced way beyond) and so far booking appointments to view has been very smooth, with them even organising builders to visit with us when needed (some houses have very little in the way of a roof!!). As a result I have got quite a packed few days doing the first viewings across the area before I’m joined by my hubby & youngest to do any second viewings during half-term.
From experience & despite our best efforts with Google Earth we have always found that sometimes houses are easily dismissed at first sight due to their location (quarry at the end of the garden) or condition (veranda falling off the front of the house or subsidence), so I will be able to sort the wheat from the chaff and video the most likely candidates, sharing them with my family during the evenings (via WhatsApp) so we can talk about each one in detail (via Skype) & make some decisions on whether to visit it again – I can’t even start to think how we could have even considered doing this before the internet!!
So by Monday morning everything was booked- flights, accommodation & car hire had been paid for– we had even booked TGV tickets from Lyon to Avignon for my hubby & son to save me driving to pick them up from the airport (ensuring I have some time to fit in a quick visit to Apt market before I collect them). Then the phone rung and it was the Agents from Uzes calling to say that the vendor had now decided to accept our original offer on the house at Saint Quentin – I’m not sure why he changed his mind & was now willing to accept 10,000 euros less than the other offer he had on the table, but we were assured that was the case. I’m certain the expectation was that we would thank them profusely and just start the process again, but to be honest we have lost all trust in the vendor and the process and the shine has gone from the house – we have also spent a considerable amount of money planning another house-hunting trip and in our minds moved on – so after some deliberation said our offer was no longer in place.
Hopefully we haven’t cut off our nose to spite our face, but it just didn’t feel right at all after what happened at the end of last week & the upset it caused. So onwards and upwards – this time next week I’ll be at the end of my second day of house viewings & looking forward to waking on the Thursday morning to seeing the lovely L’Isle Sur La Sorgue market in the street below my window. So we’re keeping our fingers crossed that everything has happened for a reason and we finally find our little place in Provence for good this time!
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