Thursday 28 November 2013

A second home in France

We bought this house because it was within walking distance of the Village of Plouer (which we love) and
within walking distance of the harbour. We also bought it because it was beautiful, aged, quiet and tranquil, it had a reasonably sized garden, a courtyard, a barn, and nothing needed to be done to it.

We have met many English people who purchase second homes in France very cheaply because they are in need of restoration. Perhaps some may have thought that renovation would be equally inexpensive.  They then discover that the cost of renovation is pretty much the same as in the UK or elsewhere. You’ll pay the same for a bathroom sink both sides of the English Channel. No wonder French friends tell me that the English in France have a reputation for demanding the cheapest possible solutions regardless of safety, quality or aesthetics. Quite simply, having invested in a second home, there isn't much left in the pot for renovation. The other problem of course is that the low property prices encourage you to purchase more than you need and often more than you can cope with.

So, our house had to be good for a few years until I could devote time and energy to it. We chose well – as a second home it was like the Little House on the Prairie - dark oak floors, a log burning stove a small but modern kitchen, bedrooms and bathroom upstairs, a well-insulated attic above – and it came with all those French effects that everyone likes – huge fireplace, quaint old wooden staircase, beams, inward opening windows with shutters, beautiful granite walls - pleasantly furnished too – in a shabby chic kind of way.

Hardly a hitch – except when I fell through the floor – oh! and when we discovered that the newly installed septic tank had never been connected – and then there was a flood, and a dead owl in the chimney which didn't help matters. Not being able to connect appliances to water pipes without leaks appearing everywhere was a bit trying of course  and then there was the time that the wall fell down - but these were teething troubles mainly!

Let’s face it – you can’t realistically expect to purchase a stone house, several hundred years old, keep here locked up for the best part of each year and expect to find her exactly as you left her several months before. Oh no, things happen, even to quaint old properties that time forgot.

In truth, time doesn't forget – it just waits until you sign the papers – then it comes at you all at once.

If you're thinking of doing something similar here is a resource not to be without
Buying and Renovating a Property in France: 2nd edition (UK Readers)

Buying and Renovating a Property in France: A Comprehensive Overview for Those With Little or No Knowledge of Buying and Renovating in France (USA Readers)


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