So we’re still here, in the same house, the one with the estate agent’s sign outside, announcing to the whole world that we are “SOLD”.
It’s ten weeks since we accepted the offer on the house. There are boxes of our belongings all over the house, some labelled “FR” and some “UK”. We can’t be absolutely sure that we’ve got it right, that we won’t end up with some things in the wrong country, but we’re almost past caring. We just want to get it over with.
Our buyers lured us into a false sense of security by saying it could all be done in 6-8 weeks as they had their buyer all lined up, a cash buyer with no house to sell.
Three weeks later they “changed buyers” according to the agent, accepting a higher offer for their house and ending up with a chain of four below them. That means we are now in a chain of five and all the ducks have to be lined up in a row before anything can happen.
Still, as far as we know, it’s now all going to plan, if rather slowly. Our original calculations predicted that we might be moving at Easter but instead we were able to go to France for nearly two whole weeks, which was a really nice surprise.
The boulangerie had a giant chocolate chicken that they were raffling off at 2€ a ticket. We lashed out on a couple of tickets but didn’t win. There were lots of other delicious Easter goodies on offer too.
In Loches there was a country and western festival, combined rather strangely with an exhibition of house refurbishing companies. We know that the French love country music and cowboy culture but it was very odd to be looking at displays of new log burners, windows and kitchen units in a marquee with line dancing and lasso demonstrations going on outside !!
The exhibition was very useful and we noted a few contacts for when we finally find a larger house in France that we like. House hunting is however on the back burner for the time being.
We just wait and wait. The removal company is booked – or at least alerted to the fact that we want them to move us. As soon as we exchange contracts they will fetch the boxes and furniture labelled FR and put them all into store. A few days later they will fetch the rest of our stuff and move it to our new house here. Apparently it’s perfectly normal for them to only get a few days’ notice that it’s time to move.
Having bought one house already in France, we now realise how daft the UK system is. A price is agreed but nothing is signed until the last minute, after both sides have spent a lot of money on solicitors and search and survey fees. If either side then changes their mind, there is no obligation to honour the agreement as nothing has been signed and no deposit paid. There is no penalty for backing out of the deal other than the loss of the solicitor’s fees.
In France the offer is legal and binding once the CDV is signed. Both parties are committed except for agreed conditions. Which is much better than worrying about whether or not the buyer has seen another house they like better and are about to withdraw their offer after nearly three months!
We probably won’t go back to France until the UK move is completed and the “FR” stuff is safely stored – we just don’t know when that will be. It’s the first time in all the seven years that we’ve owned the house in Le Grand-Pressigny that we haven’t had our next visit already planned.