Sunday, 20 December 2015

Renovation project - House viewing in France

Renovation project - House viewing in France
Picture courtesy of
We have 4 properties to view, one only came on the market last week so we will be one of the first to view it.

The properties are quite different and we both have our favourite, mine is actually across the road from our old house and Johns is the house that has just come on the market.

We go to view my favourite first and I don't think I have ever been so disappointed, it is tiny and not in good condition (which would not be a problem) but the problem is that there is no garden at all.
It is advertised with some outside area and there is a door from the cellar to outside, we say that we would not be interested at all in a house with no garden and the notaire explains that we may be able to have a little bit of the space and one of the out buildings that are attached, but the owner wants to keep the rest as he uses them!

Number 1 is a total no go!

We go too view one further down the road very close to the little house we are using, this one is great with a large garden, it was emptied whilst we were still living here, the owner had died and the family came and fumigated it, this house has lots of potential and is quite large, but the garden is very long and narrow, there are also 2 very yappy dogs that live next door (we remember them well) John rules this out quite quickly.

Number 2 is a no go!

The next property neither of us were very keen on, it was advertised as having 3 rooms, and no garden, it was not what we wanted at all, but we still go to view as property descriptions can be misleading, it also has a terrace off the main bedroom so some outside space.
We are so shocked when we get there, the house at the front is very pretty (or will be if we get to work on it) there is a drive way with a gravel patio area, but the big surprise is the extra house in the back garden, we go in and there are 2 rooms downstairs and 2 bedrooms upstairs, there is a larger rear hallway with separate toilet and bathroom and then a door way into a smaller house that will be easy to separate, this also has a terrace off the upstairs room.

The only downside is that there is a large garage that belongs to the owner (their house backs on to the property and there is a door leading in to the garage, so it is not very private) we speak to the notaire and the owner who is present and ask if there is any chance of selling the garage as well, there is, this makes this property a definite maybe as then we will have a garden area and 2 terraces.

We say that the property is much bigger than the description led us to believe and the notaire explains that a lot of local people do not want big houses, so will describe them as being smaller to get people to view them. We struggle to get our heads around this information, it just goes against everything you would expected.

Number 3 is a definite maybe
we view the final house and from the outside it does not look that special, when we go inside I fall in love with it, this is definitely my favourite.

The house is enormous inside, it has a very strange layout, as in there is a shower room and toilet downstairs, not unusual you may think, until I tell you that is has been installed in front of the main front door!

There are 2 rooms on each floor with a bathroom on 2 floors, the attic is 2 large rooms which could easily be a master bedroom with the other room as a master bathroom.

On the ground floor here are also another 2 rooms at the rear,, the garden area is very small but once cleared could be big enough, it also leads directly on to the forest.

The big problem is that it is riddled with woodworm and all the wood (floors. Beams etc.) will need replacing.

We also chat with the neighbours who tell us there is a problem with the chimney that leaks in to their property, we look at this and then see that it needs work,, but John would not be able to access it as there are electric cables running past it to the main pylon, we would have to get somebody in with specialist equipment

Number 4 is definitely a maybe

So now we have 2 properties to choose from, one will be reasonably quick and easy the other will be far more time consuming and costly.

We decide to sleep on it.

Tips for buying a property in Brittany

  • Be open minded about what you view. Often property descriptions are not the same as what you find when you view!
  • If you have spoken to your agent/notaire and they know what you are looking for. They maybe able to recommend other properties that you have not seen on line.
  • Do not let your heart rule your head. If you find the perfect property, but it is in the wrong area or does not have your other requirements, walk away.
  • The perfect house is out there.


  1. Wishing you a very merry Christmas and happy house hunting!

  2. Thanks Maggie, hope you had a wonderful Christmas and New Year