Jean and Nick have spent years touring and exploring France and have found a little cottage they want to buy in Le Grand-Pressigny, in the Loire region.
In a two-week holiday during August 2007, they have found the house, agreed the price, signed the CDV(Compromis de Vente) and now come home to England to wait for things to happen.
And wait.......And wait.
After the scramble to get us roped in and the paperwork done before we left France on 28th August, everything then became very quiet. When we had been home for about a week, our copy of the CDV duly arrived, we signed it and returned it to the agents. The devis for the repairs to the roof came in at a sensible price and the funds were arranged very quickly so our two possible conditions for not buying the house evaporated. We were committed. Now that we were committed we wanted to have it as soon as possible.
Emails were sent regularly to Antony the Agent and to the Notaire (French solicitor) we had appointed. He was Antony's suggestion, with an office just down the road from the Immobilier in Descartes. Our view was that we had no idea who to appoint so we may as well go with his suggestion as that might well speed things up.
We soon learned that nothing speeds things up. They go at the pace they go at.
As the weeks went by we attempted to get some idea of the written contract from the Notaire. Nothing arrived. Nick was beginning to worry that we had no idea what we were actually buying and could arrive in France to find the whole thing some sort of scam. There had been people pressing us to hire the services of experts to arrange and interpret the contract for us, at huge expense. This seemed so costly that we decided to risk doing it by ourselves and in the end it was so straightforward we had no need to worry at all.
A date was agreed for us to attend the Notaire's office and sign the contract, effectively then becoming the owners of the house. Friday, 9th November 2007 at 3.00 pm. We had already opened a French bank account so we could transfer funds to cover the purchase price. Unbelievably, two days before we set off for France, a copy of the contract arrived by email. It looked fine, so far as we could tell. Barrie had also emailed us to say he had seen some activity at the house suggesting that the vendor was taking away some of her stuff. He had not seen any large vans, just a car.
We arranged a rendezvous with Antony at the house at 2.00 pm so that we could have a last look at the place before we signed on the dotted line. We were both incredibly nervous and excited as we arrived at Caen on the overnight ferry. It was almost exactly twelve weeks since we first stepped inside the house. We made good time so we stopped in Loches for lunch before going the last few miles to Le Grand-Pressigny. We were early and paced about outside the house in lovely sunshine, waiting for Antony to arrive with the key. The neighbour was not around and the whole village seemed deserted. There was just us and the grossly overgrown hydrangeas at the front of the house.
One of the things we desperately wanted to see was whether or not the vendor had left it full of furniture and lots of other stuff. Antony had assured us she would leave it all as she didn't need or want any of it. We sincerely hoped she wouldn't. Once we owned the house we would rather spend our time buying and arranging the things we wanted oursleves than trying to dispose of tons of huge old French furniture and "brocante". He had not been to the house for several weeks so had no idea himself what we would find when we opened that front door.
As we waited nervously in the sunshine, half of me was saying to myself "This is no big deal. People do this all the time." The other half of me was saying "This is a pivotal moment in my life. This is a really big deal."
The waiting was becoming unbearable.