Buying a house in France cheaply (2/2)

Picking up where I left off earlier this week – we were about to sign the compromis

After re-viewing the house we took a little walk around the village to the local boulangerie (we have to be sure the essentials are there after all!) and to one of the two bars in the village (C’est occupé, non?!) for a coffee. Now when I say bar – it’s not a bar such as you might find in the UK. It’s a tabac. Which is basically a corner shop/newsagent with seating and alcohol. Sounds like a winner to me too.


After our fantastic and incredibly cheap coffees, we headed down to the local lake. Its about 3-4 minutes drive from the house max, and maybe 15-20 minutes walk (I have short legs, honest). It was deserted. So tranquil, so litter free, just gorgeous. Here are a few pictures:




On from there, we drove on to Saint Léonard de Noblat for a walk around, nosing in the windows of the medieval-looking village and the closed shops that we were presented with as we had arrived in the middle of the French lunch-time. It was bitterly cold so we were more enthused than we might otherwise have been to head over to the notaire’s office.

A great thing about Haute Vienne that we have noticed so far, is that parking is plentiful and free. Even a small village usually has a large free car-park, I suppose recognising that la voiture is probably the most common means of visitors coming to the village, and so they are catered for. And we are grateful.

Meeting the notaire we switch back into French, and here I had a rude reminder that my French – while perfectly adequate for ordering in a restaurant, or resolving a question with a shopkeeper – is still woefully behind. The speed at which the notaire spoke made me glad of our lovely translator. It wasn’t so much that I didn’t understand what was said, I could pick out words, phrases and housebuying terms which I have now become familiar with, but that I was anxious that I would miss something. Signing the Compromis-de-Vente is in the

favour of the purchaser. Once signed it binds the vendor into the sale meaning that they cannot find another purchaser – however I as the buyer have 10 days within which to change my mind. I can cancel within this period and not have to complete the sale. That in itself is a comfort. Because while our new (old) French house is not expensive by British standards, it is still a considerable amount of money and we have decided to spend a little more so as to have a house which we hope will have fewer issues than some of those that we visited.

After environ 30 different sets of initials on each side of the contract papers, as well as signatures and writing out of statements (in English, mercifully) we were complete, and we bid the notaire goodbye with the promise of sending 80€ via our new French bank account to take care of the processing. It was all over within an hour and fairly painlessly, we are due to return in a few months – all being well – to sign the acte de vente, however, we anticipate (big fingers crossed here) being in the country by then and so booking in a firm date for that was not necessary.

The rest of the weekend was spent mooching around the local shops, finding a reasonably local bio-shop for our plant-based foods and catching a flight back to the UK. We are now sat in England waiting for our chain to reach the stage where they can exchange so that we can get on with the tasks of giving notice to jobs and booking channel crossings. I am crossing everything that this happens very soon… and you can keep up-to-date with all the latest happenings over on my Instagram account.

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