23 July 2014


Either side of lunch on our big house-hunting day, we looked at two completely different houses.  They were like chalk and cheese.

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This one was in the middle of a pretty hamlet.  We had driven through this hamlet many, many times over the years and had often admired its neat and tidy houses, and thought it might be nice to live there.

There are hamlets and hamlets.  This one is a fairly busy, bustling one, there always being people pottering about when ever we have driven through.  It has a lively and thriving feel to it.

Others are much less appealing, with too many deserted or derelict buildings, abandoned cars, loose barking dogs and a general down at heel appearance.  Some are really just farms with a few cottages tacked on so you spend your life surrounded by cows and tractors.  Others still are totally deserted, full of empty houses that are used just as holiday homes, or not at all.  I find those the scariest.

 house hunting8a

This house was a lovely barn conversion with a very pretty, well stocked garden.  We rejected it because the house and garden were only slightly bigger than we already have now.  It would make someone else a lovely home or a great holiday home.


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We went for lunch and afterwards we looked at this house.  A partly renovated house in the style we like, again with some river bank at the bottom of the garden.

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It had a good sized barn and garage, something we were looking for.

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Unfortunately it also had this structure in the garden.  A cobbled together hangar which really needed knocking down.  A lot of it was already falling down.

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It had a long concrete terrace which was crumbling away and the wooden barrier was broken and needed replacing.

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The kitchen wasn’t too thrilling, although it was recently installed. 

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There were interesting relics in the garden.  From our previous experience it was likely that anything really interesting would probably not still be there when we got the keys.

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The plumbing needed attention.

 house hunting9j

The lighting and electrics needed sorting out a bit.

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It had a truly horrid swimming pool.

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It needed redecorating throughout, and that would be after we had unblocked the blocked up windows, replaced all the other rotting window frames, demolished most of the internal plasterboard walls to reduce the number of depressingly small bedrooms by half, put in a proper kitchen and bathroom and rebuilt the terrace.

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Then there was the small matter of this end of the house which was an empty, disused apartment belonging to the mother-in-law who was refusing to sell it even though she was in a care home and was unlikely to ever need it again.  We were not even given the chance to look inside it. 

And the house was in the wrong kind of hamlet.  There were derelict houses nearby and the neighbour had two barking dogs patrolling their fence.  There were two glass recycling bins across the road – the house itself backed directly onto this road and the sound of glass bottles smashing into the bins can destroy any peace and quiet, especially late at night.

We were there for more than an hour, trying not to look too dismayed and disinterested for the benefit of the owners, who had travelled some distance to meet us there and had gone to enormous trouble to mow the lawn for us.  The house was way too big for us and that there was too much work required to make it nice and comfortable.

Two more rejections to add to our list, one fairly immaculate and one fairly grotty, three more houses to go before the end of the day.


  1. You're closing in on the right one!

    1. Carolyn, you may be right, but it definitely wasn't this one!

  2. At least you are clarifying in your own minds what you don't want.

    Your house is out there...somewhere! Happy hunting.

  3. Your house is out there.... you will find it :-) Probably at the point when you least expect to.

  4. The right one will appear, it sometimes takes time ! Bon Courage, Diane

  5. Seems that you're finding delightful places, but they all have something wrong with them. But keep going; there's got to be a place for you out there somewhere.

    Blessings and Bear hugs!

    1. Bear, the first was delightful, but too small.
      The second was dreadful and too big!

  6. Although I'm enjoying your journey, I'm feeling depressed for you.

    1. Leon, the process of house hunting in France certainly has its ups and downs!

  7. I think that what you are doing and the way that you are making assessments is FANTASTIC... I like the way that you describe each house and amazed that you have acquired internal photos...Take your time in looking. In many ways I think finding a house in France is more difficult than in UK? I also think you are looking beyond what you see and considering from many angles. Absolutely correct and how lucky you both are to have support from each other. You are also looking to the future and not being led down the garden path. When the coup de coeur hits you both, then you will know, but do not rush. It is a process and cannot, should not, be rushed!.... Why, when you are having such fun!

  8. You write so well that I can hear those dogs barking they patrol their fence. Do they bark in French though?

    1. Phil, they bark in the universal language of dogs that says "clear off or I'll come and bite you".
      It also says a lot about the owners I think.

  9. Jean, I feel kind of like I'm barging in, commenting on your blog, since I only "know" you from Ken and Walt's blogs, but I always enjoy following your escapades, and am enjoying your posts about house hunting :) It's always difficult when you don't absolutely have to find something within a tight timeframe, isn't it? It's hard to want to compromise. I don't know what we would have done if we hadn't had complete access to all listings via the Internet (here in the U.S., that's what we get!). I can't imagine how long our 5-year search would have taken if we had had to rely on an agent only. But, as everyone says, you'll find your house eventually. It's hard for it to ever be one that is move-in ready, since tastes vary... and getting to re-do a kitchen and a bath could be fun, eh? And you'll love what you end up with :) Good luck, and thanks for sharing your adventure :)

    1. Judy, you're very welcome here!
      The internet listings here are very vague. They will list the number of rooms, amount of garden, energy rating and so on, but the location given and any pictures of the outside are done in such a way as to make sure you have absolutely no idea where it is!
      For example, in the listing and paper leaflet for the house we have now there was no picture of the front of the house at all, because it would have been immediately identifiable if there had been. The main picture was of the back door !!

  10. I find it strange that the owners of these houses are frequently lurking around as you tour their properties. Do you ever see the lock box system being used, so that the agent has access without the owners being present?

    1. Dean, it depends if the agent holds a set of keys, simple as that, which is usually the case if the house has been empty for a long time.
      If the house is being lived in, the owners will welcome the potential buyers and then stand aside while the agent does the talking - although not always!