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We are on a (com)promis

August 3, 2013

First job after accepting the offer was to inform all the agents that we are under offer and mark all the advertisements. Strangely enough, the local agent who has the sign outside, called to say she had another client who wanted to view the house. The thinking was that if our buyers drop out, we’ll have a back up. They came on Wednesday, apparently liked it but that was the total feedback.

Next up, we have to provide the buyers with a set of diagnostics on the house – they check for lead, asbestos, termites, electricity, gas, energy and drainage. Much of this was done when we bought the place and is still valid and we did the energy as you have to before any advertising. But they still needed gas, electricity and asbestos. The guy came on Friday with the report marked urgent – the date for signing the compromis is the 2nd August. Apparently the only things he found was the flexible gas pipe in the basement has a “change-by” date on it of 2009 and he noted the wall vents in the kitchen were blocked off. Both issues have existed since before we bought the place so I’m not worried about it. Similarly the grounding is not up to code but it is up to “norms” and he also commented that some of the electrical outlets were of the older, non-shuttered type. They are the two-pin sockets in the lounge that we haven’t changed – all the others in the house have been changed by me and are the modern three-pin protected type.

The weather has finally cooled off and although it hasn’t grown a lot, I need to mow the grass if for no better reason than cutting down the dandelions etc. I managed to get it done on Thursday afternoon now rain is forecast next week so it’ll all start growing again. The weekend was plagued with thunderstorms, rain and lightning so we decided to carry on with the organising and packing. I had advertised a few bits and pieces on the Internet and got virtually no responses. A real set of time-wasters in response to the ad for a car swap – it had occurred to me some Brits might be coming to France and wish to exchange their RHD car for a French LHD. I was specific in wanting a large estate car (or SUV) and got offered a 7-seater people carrier, a BMW 2-door and a Renault Clio! One guy did have an identical car to swap but he went quiet and indecisive, and then told me he had sold his car but could he buy mine for about ½ its value!

I had also advertised the Bar Billiard table and got a response with a low offer that we ultimately decided to accept. Shipping this thing to England would be expensive, they are not selling well at all and the buyer is only an hour away. However, he seemed to be incapable of reading past the first three words of any email – twice asked me for the address (provided in the initial response) and twice asked me for a telephone number (also provided initially). On the phone he said he had lost the directions – they are in the email with the address and phone number.

Anyway, prior to their arrival and by using a large box, some cushions and pillows we managed to support the table’s glass light fixture and remove it. Not helped by the electrician having left just two inches of wire in the ceiling so it was a bit of a struggle to disconnect it. We got that safely packed into it’s original box, then sorted the table out securing the internal mechanisms etc. and packing the balls, skittles and a small bag of US 25c pieces (I had it modified when I bought it).

My worst suspicions were well founded – he showed up with his two teenage sons aged about 13 and 15, no padding or packaging and it wouldn’t fit into the van despite my having provided the dimensions. Not only that he was a Brit driving a RHD transit on UK plates but sign written with the name, phone number and website of a French business. How they get away with this avoiding MoT & CT and probably not paying road tax in the UK is beyond me and all it does is create a bad impression of ex-pats. Anyway they manhandled it all down the path and into the van, we gave them some plastic sheeting and cardboard to pad it but it was a miracle it made it that far – the kids could barely lift it. They finally drove away with the back doors partly open during a rainstorm 😦  What really saddens me is that a perfect condition, antique table went to such terminally stupid people.

Onwards and upwards with the packing and organising – this is all in an effort to reduce the shipping costs, make sure we know where stuff really is and to enable us to make an accurate inventory estimate of sizes. We got the attic sorted on Tuesday now it’s all boxed, labelled and inventoried. Plenty more to do though!

Wednesday was my hospital appointment for the “echo-graphie”, and yet again the French health system impressed. Arrived for the appointment a little early and was seen within 3 minutes. The examination took about 10 minutes and the doctor didn’t find anything amiss – definitely not a hernia. He is recommending a colonoscopy which I will discuss with our doctor when he returns from his holidays next week.  Our gardener arrived as usual and spent the day in catching up with the weeding and pruning – the wet weather over the past few days has everything growing like weeds!

Thursday was mainly occupied with a flurry of exchange emails with the notaires office, clearing up various questions and ultimately producing a draft contract which had the signing date of 28th September, possibly earlier if we wanted it. We wanted it! After some quick research into ferry timetables etc we asked for the 24th September and that request was noted. We know the buyers are keen to move quickly as they a living in a tiny rented house a few miles away and all their furniture is in storage. This entire exchange was made remarkably simple by the notaires assistant who is perpetually kind and polite, very informative, sympathetic and speaks good English. She turned out to be very attractive too!

Friday afternoon finally arrived and we all met at the notaires office in Vannes. The notaire, as is normal in France, needed to give everybody a lecture on how serious a commitment buying a house is and how few “get-outs” there are after signing the contract. There followed further consultation as the buyers had given us an incorrect email address and had not seen any of the documents I sent them regarding the work that had been done over the past two years. This was resolved by them waiving their rights to drop out because of any adverse reports, also waiving their rights under the mortgage clause. They really only have the seven day cooling off period left to them. We also learned that there is no “droit de pre-emption” on our house so we are all now expecting to reach the final signing quickly. Not so fast says the notaire – he would be unhappy with the contract being limited to 28th September and suggested 10th October instead or earlier – he and his staff will do everything to meet an earlier date but they are in the hands of other authorities and being August everyone is on holiday. We all accepted this and the buyers agreed to chase their bank immediately for formal approval. We all signed the compromis, every single page (25), received photocopies each and set off for home.

The buyers are departing on a caravan tour of Brittany for 12 days (their seven days cooling off period is part of that) and they wanted to see the documents they had missed, so they came back to the house for some refreshment and I printed out the relevant stuff. They brought some wonderful examples of French patisserie and we spent a pleasant hour eating and discussing.

A long week but we have signed the compromis, and now we wait and plan.


David & June

2 Comments leave one →
  1. August 3, 2013 12:19

    Oh my goodness – it is really happening, you are moving. Best of luck in the next couple of months of packing and organizing your move. Which area have you decided upon? I am sure you will visit France once in a while or even go south for the winter. Cheers Jo

    • August 3, 2013 12:33

      Hi Jo,
      First move is to a friends in South Wales and then rent around there for a while. After that, who knows?

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