July 22, 2014

YET ANOTHER HOUSE

The secrecy aspect of house hunting in France is frustrating in the extreme and this house is a good example of why.

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From this angle it looks really quite appealing.  A modern, attractive bungalow, set in a nice plot of lawn with trees.

The picture in the agent’s website was something like this.

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At the bottom of the garden was about 50m of gorgeous river bank.  For a person who enjoys fishing like Nick it could have been a real joy to live there.  Except for one detail.

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You can get a hint of the detail from this picture.  The house was well below the road.

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But just imagine riding your Harley-Davidson down this driveway!  Getting down would have been a challenge – getting back up and out onto the road positively terrifying!

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This picture was not in the agent’s website!

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Imagine the difficulty in getting up and down these steps to the garden when we become less nimble on our pins.  At our age we do have to think of these things!

The house itself was empty and rather ordinary inside but that could have been fixed with a bit of imagination.  The problem was that it would take more than imagination to make the drive suitable for our needs.  The slope was so steep that it would take serious civil engineering work to somehow create a gentler slope by curving the driveway round to the side of the house.

We wasted ages pointlessly discussing how we might achieve this, knowing all the time that it was probably impossible and we would never attempt it.  It’s strange how, faced with something completely and hopelessly unsuitable, we would still try to see the best in a house and work out how we could make it work for us. 

In actual fact we had driven past this house a couple of times by ourselves purely by chance and, as it was one of the few that actually had an “à vendre” sign fixed to the gate, had already rejected it because of its position and the incredibly steep driveway.  If we had known it was this one before the agent took us there we wouldn’t have wasted his time, our time and dashed the hopes of the owner who had come some distance to meet us there and let us in, not to mention mowing the huge lawn for our benefit.

Still, we didn’t invent the system, we just have to work with it and we had more houses to view so on we went……….

14 comments:

  1. And then try the drive in ICY conditions....
    although, you could have invested in a snow machine and run a ski/tobbogan slope for Gaynor and t'OtherTim...
    walk up the steps and ski down....
    walk up the steps and ski down....
    walk up the steps and ski down....
    walk up the steps and ski down....
    apero[s] between each run...
    see who ends up in the river first!!

    No, this is a house for the young, very fit and 4x4 owner!!

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    1. Tim, I did wonder if there was any need for a dry ski slope in the Loire!

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    2. Wouldn't even want to attempt it with a 4x4 in icy conditions!

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    3. I like Tim's idea.How are you fixed for providing chocolat chaud or on a really bad day mulled wine?

      Enjoying this series on 'nearly' houses. It's interesting how people make their decisions.

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    4. Gaynor, no problem, both are entirely possible.......you're now making me wonder if we made the right decision about this house and its ready made ski slope!

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  2. I so remember our house-hunting and the disappointment and frustration at the difference between what you see in the pictures and what you get! As one friend of mine put it, "You wouldn't believe what the French call 'habitable'! Best wishes as you continue your search. I am sure the 'right' place is waiting for you!

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  3. House hunting is most certainly an interesting adventure, especially for those of us who are following your blog! ......and so on to the next house, and I am sure that the right house will tell you that it wants you to be its new owners. Our house in France did!

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  4. A great shame that a n attractive house and lovely garden is made impossible by such bad access. Onwards and upwards...

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  5. I see what you mean about that frustrating system. Some agents will waste one's time anyway, but being able to at least scout out some things in advance would sure reduce the numbers. What a shame.

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  6. The secrecy thing is a peculiar artefact of French culture. It is perfectly OK to openly discuss how much you sold a house for, how much you paid for your house, and to ask others these questions. However, if your house is for sale, that is a secret, a private affair that is none of your neighbours' business.

    The thing we found most frustrating was the difference between how French and Anglos think of house size. French houses are always bigger than described on the real estate notices, at least for Anglo mentalities.

    Anyway, you can't prevent the time wasting. Agents all over have very little idea of what it is their clients are really looking for, no matter what sort of a wishlist you give them.

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    1. Susan, I wholeheartedly agree with that last statement !!

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  7. Jean - Consider moving to Melbourne, Our house will be on the market next year. It has all you need - charm, large rooms, high ceilings, central heating and cooling, 3 car garage, perfect for the more mature couple being flat and no steep steps or driveways, lovely manageable garden with shady trees - hang on one moment, why are we selling. Our house sounds simply perfect.

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