May 12, 2014

STILL WAITING

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.

Easter

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.

 Easter2 

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.

Easter3

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.

Easter5

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 !!

  Easter6 Easter7 

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.

24 comments:

  1. Pauline and moi have everything crossed for you...
    which is actually making driving and walking rather difficult!!
    Bonny Chancer!!

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  2. Oh, dear! What a horrid situation. I do hope you can get this settled, soon.

    The tough question: will you plant your garden in the UK or France? Or none at all?

    Blessings and Bear hugs!

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    1. Bear, there will be a garden in both places and we aim to make them low maintenance.
      However, by an amazing stroke of luck, we have chosen to move to a house in the UK where the next door neighbour seems to have a gardening business! We will probably be having a word with him!
      Of course, our little garden in Le Grand-Pressigny is already looked after by Alex and Nicole when we"re not there.

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  3. Here's hoping things fall into place soon. Waiting is no fun!

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  4. Sounds like a very trying situation with your house. Keep the faith!
    (By the way, I'll bet you dollars to donuts that there is no country-western bar in the entire U.S. named "Rugby Saloon".)

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  5. Hello Jean:

    We can so well imagine your frustration to find yourselves now in a 'chain' when, at the outset, you believed that you had cash purchasers for your house in the UK. It is so difficult to understand why conveyancing has not been simplified, or offers made more binding, over time. Here property purchases are completed within 24 hours as far as all the legal work is concerned and then are totally binding.

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    1. Jane and Lance, I agree, it's hardly believable that the system hasn't become more straightforward when it causes so much grief to people buying and selling houses. Apparently gazumping is happening again in the south of England.
      Your system sounds so much better.

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  6. Hi Jean,
    I can think of a few platitudes...but actually you don't want to read them!

    You just need a lot of luck, patience and honesty at all stages of the sale/purchases. A a glass of Touraine sparkles (for medicinal purposes), and a following wind might help!!

    Bonne chance...

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    1. Gaynor, the "medicine" is a great help!
      We tried to estimate how much we needed to bring back from France to see us through but we now think it wasn't enough!

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  7. Sue and I just hope that you are in France when we come to stay. We've missed meeting now on two occasions so this time hopefully we will be lucky. Best of luck with it all.

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    1. Leon, it's highly likely that we will be I think.
      If the sale falls through and we're still stuck in this house in the UK we will be ready for a good holiday by then.
      If we've moved successfully and settled in we'll be in France house hunting for the next step in our adventure!

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    2. Wishing you well and lotsa luck.

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  8. I so sympathize with you! How absolutely infuriating the UK system is! I hope the delay means that because you had the delay the perfect French property, that might not have been available earlier, will be waiting for you!

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  9. Not that I think this information will be at all helpful to you in your awful limbo, but you might find it a little distracting:

    In the US (home of bars not named Rugby Saloon), contracts to buy/sell real estate are legally binding on both sides, but often contain heavily negotiated contingencies, such as buyer selling current house or buyer getting a mortgage to buy your house. There's also a closing (must complete by) date, and a drop-dead date (if not closed by X, the deal is off and seller gets to keep buyer's deposit). Sometimes there's also a $ penalty if seller refuses to close. There are variations from state to state, for example seller's offer will be verbally accepted and then seller will receive a contract plus a check for deposit from buyer ASAP and seller has a set number of days to respond and the negotiation of exact terms and fine points kicks off - but that's the basic framework.

    Obviously this is still not a perfect system but it does give both sides some certainty.

    I have dreamed of having a house in France since forever, and the story of your adventures has been a delight and an inspiration. Fingers crossed!

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    1. Fred, your system also sounds better than the one we have here, fewer chances for the process to break down.

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  10. Sounds like it would be good if you found a different buyer. I assume your agent is still looking for one, no? I feel for you, and wish you all the good luck in the world.

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    1. Ken, the sold sign goes up as soon as an offer is accepted so the house is officially "off the market".
      The agent will not look for another buyer unless this one withdraws their offer, or has to pull out of the purchase for some reason. With another three houses in the chain below us there are another three possibilities for it all to go wrong.

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    2. Very crazy and very frustrating. Unless there is some "earnest money" up front and at risk, how can you say a property is sold? Sounds like you need a revolution over there.

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  11. Grrr! Your frustration leaps off the screen. The English system is so long-winded and can be so expensive if things go pear-shaped. Scotland and France have a much better way of doing it.

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  12. This is all very exciting. Too bad about the major headaches. To help with that, I would have just asked if they had another one of those chocolate roosters and would have paid the entire raffle "take" for it.

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  13. We know the feeling well. Our moving date in the UK kept shifting further away due to the 1st person in the chain being changed. It is very unsettling. Hope it all happens very soon and you can plan your lives once more Bonne chance Diane

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    1. Diane, I remember well your long struggle to get your house sold.
      We have been very lucky so far, and that in itself makes me nervous.

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  14. Life is never dull for you, is it? :-)
    I enjoyed getting caught up and reading all your adventures.

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  15. This so brings back memories of when we were selling our house in the UK, but at least we were moving all of our possessions out here and did not have the stress of splitting everything in between two houses. Hope all goes smoothly for you. Vx

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