Saturday, 28 March 2015

Renovation Project - Diagnostiques required for selling a house in France

Renovation Project - Diagnostiques required for selling a house in France

Now we have accepted the offer it is full steam ahead, we have to have our diagnostiques completed.

In France the owners are responsible for completing the diagnostiques. There is a clear structure of what is required.

To go on to the market the DPE (analysis of energy performance and emissions - a legal requirement) is required. This report has a life of 10 years. We had already had this in place.

In addition to this a full set of diagnostiques are required, it is much better to have all of these in place right at the beginning, but as they all have different life spans it may be better to have them completed at the CDV (compromise de vente) stage (which is what we are doing).

The diagnostiques required are:
  • Lead paint
Information on exposure to lead in paintwork for any property built before 1949. This report is valid for 1 year if there are positive lead readings, but if no lead is found this report has no time limit.
  • Asbestos
this report is for properties built before July 1997, asbestos is still regularly used in France, which is not a problem generally, but the report will let you now the condition of the asbestos, with any recommendations (there is no obligation to remove these materials particularly if they are in good condition).
  • Electrical Installation
Again this report will let you know if the electrics conform to standards and point out any anomalies, this report is valid for 3 years
  • Gas installations
Luckily we do not require this as we do not have gas in the house, other than the gas hob and the gas bottle that feeds this is on a flexi hose and not fixed
  • Termites
This area of France does not have termites, but this report will also state the condition of the wood and let you know if there is damp/rot/woodworm. This report is only valid for 6 months
  • Natural and Industrial Risks – ERNT Etat Naturelle des Risques Naturelles et Technologiques
This report will let you know of any environmental risks such as flood etc and is valid for 6 months.

A report is also required for your fosse, but as we are on mains drains we do not have this problem to deal with.

The only problem with having the reports completed at this stage rather than at the beginning is that it can add a couple of weeks to the process, as you have to arrange for the visit and then wait for the reports.

This is the most nerve racking part of the process, what happens if there are problems?

John is completely confident that everything will pass, but I am on pins.

Wish us luck!

This post is for information and based on personal experience, please check with your notaire or estate agent for any possible changes in legislation

Saturday, 21 March 2015

Renovation project - We have sold!

Renovation project - We have sold!

Picture courtesy of
OMG, we have sold our house!!!!!!!!!!

5 weeks on the market and the 2nd viewer!!!!!!!

Who said that you cannot sell a house in France???????

The couple who came to view were so nice, we completed the viewing and they stayed for coffee and we got chatting (for a couple of hours) they love the house as much as we do, it fits all of their needs and is the correct price.

We accept the offer the following morning, now we just have to get the wheels in motion as they want to complete if possible before the beginning of April.

And just to make the day perfect our friends arrive, so we can celebrate with them, and celebrate we do (for a solid 48 hours, I feel so tired at the end of their visit).

It is now a very strange feeling there is so much to do for the sale, as in France the owners are responsible for getting all the diagnostiques completed (these are the equivalent of the survey in the UK).

This is a much more sensible way of doing things, the diagnostiques have to be completed by a registered company and then are available to all potential purchasers, rather than the purchaser having to have them completed on each house they are interested in.

Bloody hell we will be leaving our renovation project in possibly less than 2 months!!!!

We already have our next one lined up in the same village, but we are now seriously considering trying our luck in Spain, can we do it again in another new country? Do I really want to be learning another new language?

But the idea of getting to experience another culture is so exciting, and this time my only stipulation is I will not move into any other house with out an inside toilet, I have found my limitations!

Friday, 20 March 2015

Renovation Project - we haven't sold yet!

Renovation Project - we haven't sold yet!

Picture courtesy of
Well we have now been on the market for almost 4 weeks and we haven't sold, is it time to start panicking? Have we over priced the property?

Should we start to think about reducing the price?????

All of these questions go through your mind,

You have decided to sell,

So mentally you have already moved out,

Yes it has been amazing, the house is beautiful but I am ready for the next big adventure.

I have always been impatient and luckily I have John here to calm me. After all we have only been on the market for not quite 4 weeks, we have had one viewing, but they decided they wanted a detached property.

We have heard the horror stories of people having houses on the market for years, are we going to be one of those, will we still be sat here next year or the year after?

We have also had an enquiry from America, but he is unable to get here until May due to work commitments and flights and he has asked to be kept informed if any body shows any real interest, so that he can try to get earlier flights,

So really it couldn't be any more positive.

It is just so difficult when you are ready to move on.

But on a positive note we have friends coming to visit next week to celebrate one of those miles stone birthdays, we have had bookings with the B&B and we have just turned down 8 days of bookings (sods law the time we have friends to visit turns out to be one of the busiest periods!) but this is something you have to accept with a B&B.

We could let one room but to be honest we would much rather party with our friends, so we have to say that we are full.

We have another viewing booked for ext week as well so who knows we may be celebrating a lot more than getting old!

Wish us luck !!!!!!!

Sunday, 8 March 2015

Renovation project - We have our french number plates

Renovation project - We have our french number plates

This is one of those posts that I have been looking forward to, we finally have our car all fully registered with French number plates, it was such an exciting moment putting the plates on the car.

We are fully French!!!!!

We had got our CT (MOT) and with this we had to take the documents to the prefecture too register the car. We did take a friend with us to make sure that we did everything correctly.

We had been warned many times that the woman at the prefecture was not overly friendly to the Brits, so it was a little nerve wracking, but this could not have been further from the truth. Everybody in the office joined in with our registration, including all of the other customers.

We handed over all of the relevant documents and had to say what colour the car was, this is simple, it is a champagne coloured Volvo, one of the easiest words in French you, would think, but no, that is not an option!

There are only so many colours available, ad champagne is not one of them!

We are given the list of colours to choose from and some of the French words for colours were unknown to us, and the English versions were unknown to the prefecture ad the other French customers, so we all join in and come up with all sorts of descriptions from French through Franglais and ending up with English!

Eventually we all agree on beige!

I can't believe we have a beige car, it doesn't sound anywhere near as nice as champagne, but hey it gets us where we need to be!

We hand over the cheque and are told the new registration number will be with us in the next 2 weeks.

Once we receive our Carte Gris (new registration documents) we take it to an auto shop and collect our new number plates, John fits them and the car is French, it really is exciting (or maybe I'm just a little bit sad?)

But now we know we can drive without other road users assuming we are tourists and won't know how to drive, it does actually make a difference with French drivers, we now will have it the other way around when we go back to visit the UK, it will be interesting to see if UK drivers treat us differently!

Saturday, 7 March 2015

Renovation project - Hitch hiking in France

Renovation project - Hitch hiking in France

Picture courtesy of
We are having a night out this weekend, we are going to visit friends over near Roscoff, I am so looking forward to this, we don’t go out very often, even though friends that visit us do not believe us when we say that.

The weather is not looking good, but hey, we will be inside eating good food, drinking nice wine and having fantastic conversation with lovely people.

As we are driving, we go over the moors, this always looks so amazing in the sun but with the bad weather it looks very misty and quite bleak.

As we are driving we see a couple of young men, hitch hiking, we feel so sorry for them that we stop to pick them up, we have no idea where we are going as the sat nav has taken us a different way, they are looking to go to either of 2 destinations, so I explain where we are heading to, but can't actually remember the name of the town, it is just in our favourites on the sat nav.

They get in and speak no English other than thank you and I tell them to just say stop when they want to get out.

We sit talking and I laugh saying that if my daughter knew we were picking up hitch hikers in the middle of the moors she would freak out.

I then wonder who is more worried about this lift, the 2 young guys that have been picked by 2 foreign strangers on the moors or us for picking up 2 strangers!!

Though I think the worry is still the English way of see everything as a threat rather than the Breton way of some body needs a lift and you have a car!

In the UK we would not dream of picking up hitch hikers (well OK I have done a couple of times) because we seem to see the bad in everything or think that everybody is a mad axe murderer. But in

France we have given lifts to so many people, we were talking to 2 others we picked up a while back and they explained that because they live in a rural area they hitch hike into town every time they go.

The most memorable hitch-hikers we picked up were a couple of years ago, they were on some university competition and had to hitch between different areas in a set amount of time, they were losing so we asked if they wanted to visit St Tropez for a couple of hours as that was where we were heading, they had a ball and then we dropped them at their destination, it is so easy to do something nice for people.
hitch hiking in St Tropez

It is still strange to think that hitch hiking is so popular in this area, and still seems to be relatively safe (though do not quote me on that!!!) I remember hitch hiking myself many years ago across

France and it always brings back happy memories. Though if our daughters or granddaughters ever consider doing it, I will kill them!

It really is one of those conundrums, if you see the best in everything life will be a lot nicer but then if you do not look for the danger how safe will you be? (so far we have survived)

We drop them off in Sizun and the weather seems to improve, we arrive safe and sound at our friends and have a fantastic evening.

Wednesday, 4 March 2015

Renovation project - How do you advertise rooms when you're selling a B&B?

Renovation project - How do you advertise rooms when you're selling a B&B?

We have been back from Christmas for a while now and have been surprised at how many enquiries we have had for the B&B, we had not planned on re opening until Easter, but it does seem silly to be turning away business.

We decide to reopen on the 1st Feb and we soon have bookings coming in, we never in a million years expected the B&B to be so busy, our biggest problem now is how far in advance do we advertise?

Properties in france can be on the market for a long time, we think we have priced it to sell, but it's been a few days and we haven’t had any one walk through the door waving their Euros at us (not that I'm impatient at all)

So we decide to advertise 2 months at a time, because even if we do get a sale it's unlikely to go through in less than 2 months, plus if somebody wants to buy it as a going concern we don’t want it to look like there are no customers.

Life seems to be full of dilemmas at the moment and every new move just opens up further dilemmas. This is probably one of the biggest problems when selling a B&B, how do you advertise?

Do we go back on all the big sites or do we just stick with our own website?

It is also time to decide whether we want to go onto the local tourist board, last year we were getting almost daily phone calls from them, even when we said we were full.

The last thing I want is for somebody to buy the property as a family home and get people calling in or ringing for a room!

I decide to re advertise on the big booking sites, as it is easy to advertise for only a set amount of time, the problem with having limited availability is that you are not as high up the rankings as you should be, we are number one on Booking dot com, but with limited availability we are not on the top slot, but we decide this is a small cost

I also reopen the website so that we can have direct bookings, after all these are the ones with no commission and are much more personal.

I decide not to bother with the local tourist board, and if we haven't sold by Summer then we can pay too be included then.

It does not take long before we receive our first bookings and hey ho, life is on the move again, our break is well and truly over! well until the middle of Feb, when we have friends over to visit, afterall it's not going to be that busy during the cold winter months is it????

We also have a surprise with the snow, it is very rare that we get snow or frost here, but when we do, it is so beautiful, it is almost a shame it only lasts for a couple of days