18 May 2016
18 sunny periods
How are things with Mr Wearing? I hear you ask. Well, after only just a very long time, we are signing the reservation contract on Friday. Providing he can get his power of attorney over to me on time. And pay the deposit. Yet more things for my ever healthy and ever growing list.
And the scary chateau? The buyer is over again next Thursday and, despite my having prodded the french resident brother many, many times we do not have the diagnostic reports and consequently the notary hasn't drawn up the reservation contract. This is top on my list. He will appreciate my tenacity, if nothing else.
I have been very busy bringing on new property - largely stimulated by the promise of lots of euros in a company sales incentive. A couple of weeks ago, a lady rang me up. A friend of a friend had recommended me. It is a good thing I was sitting down when I heard the name of the friend because it was a former seller with whom I had endured a tortured ten month sale at the end of which, and in front of the notary, he had refused to pay more than fifty percent of the agency fees. I have mentally stuck him full of pins over the intervening two years. The lady said I must come and sell her house so I went to see it.
The gardens were stupendous, with rhododendrons and arum lilies and palms and tree ferns and huge fish ponds, a lake and wonderful arboretum. The passion of the lady's husband, now shuffled off this mortal coil. Inside the house was rather horrific. Brown wood absolutely everywhere. The three gites, let out for an average of 350 - 450 a week, were not somewhere I would even overnight. The bathroom suite was avocado. The wallpaper was tartan or Tarzan. Some of the ceilings were drooping, showing the laths underneath. We sat on the terrace under the bignone (see pic) and she showed me photos of the garden in all months of the year. Eight foot high daturas. Azaleas. Bamboo. This was one of the rare properties where I have thought - yes, we would have bought this....
So, when an English couple rang and said they were looking for somewhere for themselves and their four children and the mother in law, I sent them the pictures and the lady rang me up. I raved about the gardens and how they could walk to the river, and the lake, and the peace and quiet and no car noise or dog noise or break ins (they live in Essex) and we booked an appointment. 'I am 40 something' said the lady 'and I haven't lived'. I thought of the owner of the house, 40 years and had never travelled other than vicariously through her visitors. One trip to Italy on her honeymoon and decided she didn't like abroad. Would her house resonate with the English lady?
I spent the morning with a lady who showed me her house, told me about many things completely unrelated to her house, made me coffee, let me measure up and take photos, before telling me that she was suing the former owner for having not declared that the electric was dodgy, the heating didn't work, there were termites in the house etc. I had been getting my sales contract form out of its case. I put it back in. Either she sells the house or she sues the former owner. You cant do both. Suing the former owner can take up to three years and even if she wins, there is no guarantee that the former seller, who is in his 70's, would pay her a penny. She said she would have to think about it and would ring her advocate. I said, in my experience, the only thing advocates were interested in were their fees. Left, feeling hacked off.
Back home and had lunch and siesta and then it was time to run out to meet the English couple. They were a very long time. The man had never driven in France before. The lady had never been on a plane (or a boat). She was white and shaking and had cried all of the way over. They had a quick drag on their roll up cigs and then we went to the house. I decided to start off with the gardens and grounds. No point in horrifying them too early with the inside. They were enchanted. We then went in the first gite 'oh my God' exclaimed the lady 'it's a dive!!'. I am not sure what the man thought because OH whipped him around the outside to show him that the roof was new and in good condition.
Went to look for a bar and everything was shut so took them back to the motorway and they left to go to their hotel about an hour away. Had beer and pizza in the garden and listened to the birds singing in their roosting places and the moon shone three quarters in the blue and paling skies.
Will the lady have the guts to go for France? Is her OH up for the renovation? Will the fact that the price is 100k lower than anything else they are looking at have major impact on their deliberations? The moon had no answers so we went in and left the evening fold gently over our house.