I believe I never wrote about how we actually bought the house in France, which was actually a bit of a whirlwind affair. We had finally decided we were back to the plan of buying a house in france, but no longer a ruin we would slowly turn into the house of our dreams, instead we aimed for a house, ready now to spend the bulk of our time off in a relaxing environment that would feel like home and would have plenty of good food to get (European style & fresh produce).
So we debated about the exact area we where interested in and ……did nothing. Then a few weeks before Eelco managed to book us last minute a lovely looking Chalet near Mieussy (in our search area) and we still managed to get tickets for all 5 of us to Geneva. And then we did a lot of pre-work looking for houses…….well no actually…none at all. Which is why we wanted a holiday home in the first place. Work, life and the kids took over our time and we found none to sort our holiday. So not having much clue where we were heading and not even having a single viewing lined up or a single realtor contacted we arrived on Saturday afternoon in the gorgeous Chalet. Then we found out that all realtors where closed Sundays and Mondays. We only had 1 week!
By Tuesday morning in our best French we got on the phone. We managed to see 4 houses of which one made us think of Anton Pieck (Dutch, very frilly fairytale forrest designer of a Dutch theme park), one looked a if it had been lived out by drug dealers, one was a clearly one big photoshop montage thing as it looked 10% of the size and location we expected and a brand new place….which had no character but amazing views and would have no maintenance and at least looked do-able.
That afternoon we had coffee with a Dutch lady, the rental place owner had connected us. She sells property in the actual ski area, and was happy to talk us through how things worked in France and the area in terms of buying a house. Naive? Lucky? we felt all of that as of course we should have looked into all that beforehand. Super lady - lovely help - and clearly a connection between 3 expats (the rental place owner, the Dutch lady and us) of some kind, as is the norm then without really knowing each other, helping our, inviting people over etc. Great!
By Wednesday morning we saw 2 further places, of which one in a little valley close to Mieussy, in a group of Chalets built by LaCroix, sharing access roads, a tennis court etc etc. Very very dated, but in very very good condition and more our kind of mental model. Pfew! We also saw a similar but much smaller place making it clear what to aim for. So now what?
Then the guy showing us around got a call in between and told us he would go look at a place that afternoon, he thought it maybe would fit but knew nothing yet, some divorce case. He would call us if it fit the bill. The guy was young, single and without kids, but had been parapente instructor in Nepal and sort of 'got us'.
By 5pm we got a call. Our friend was at the divorcee's house, if we wanted we could come and have a look. The place was just down the road from where we stayed,….well actually we could see the roof from the rental Chalet we realized later. We showed up a a brand new looking Chalet, again built by LaCroix, in a community of 8 other Chalets and a Chalet style small apartment complex (3 stories, maybe 8-10 apartments). We could barely contain our enthusiasm. The place was perfect. Right size, right lay out, plain and simple but well finished interior, in great condition, super view and location, closed of garden, at the corner of the ski-bus stop etc etc. The house was not 'set up in show style' at all yet and still looked super.
After viewing the house the realtor told us it would maybe be a few days before he would know exact asking price etc. So we went back to the rental place and knew we had found it - but had to wait. The next morning in an attempt to be thorough we had booked an appointment for a place closer to the tourist areas. Nice Chalet but no views, too close to other houses and a 3rd floor with not even standing height.
Before we managed to even see the place we got a call - an asking price for the dream house had been established. And it was sensible and within reach! So after the viewing we got in the car and quickly called in our bid. We met Eelco's parents and the kids after that in Mieussy for Lunch, and before we made it through the main course we got a call back. With a tiny increase over our offer,…..the house was ours! Woohoo!
That Saturday at 5pm, we signed the deal. -:) The divorcees wanted to get on with their own separate lives and wanted out ASAP, so even us wanting to move into the place only 2 - 2.5 months later was very acceptable to them.
How do you mean you cannot go to France from India with 3 tiny kids for 1 week and just 'go buy a house'!