Sunday mornings have now changed a bit in our house – whereas before we would get up early and somehow be dressed, breakfasted and have walked the dogs by about 8.30 – we now have a different pastime…. Coffee, computer & as many immobilier sites we can find, looking through the houses that are available in our price range and making a list of them in a little book (bought from a shop in L’Isle Sur La Sorgue, when I was last there!).
I’m sure many would question why on earth we would be doing this now, when in reality we can’t realistically start looking until i retire next year, but it’s a fascinating way to spend an hour, whilst the rest of the house comes to life – albeit we have to ignore the longing looks from the dogs who can’t understand their delayed walk.
We don’t have a huge budget, in fact when looking at the Luberon it is rather small and at first we worried that we would be scraping the bottom of the barrel, but actually we already have quite a list of possible homes. We have tried to introduce some logic to the process and although we love the village houses with small gardens we have to think about whether we will actually be able to deal with lots of stairs as we get older. So for probably the first time in our lives we have looked at properties with our head rather than our heart, which has been a bit of a change for us to say the least.
We are lucky in that we know where we want to be in France and have a very fixed area to look at. As such we have not been restricted to the big France-wide, glossy property sites (useful if you aren’t sure where to look), but have been able to just head to the local Immobilier sites in the area, happily all now on line, although some are rather characterful and a bit of a challenge to get into (many with English translations if needed)
So far we have trawled agencies in L’Isle sur La Sorgue, Apt, Cavaillon, St Didier, Mazan and Pernes Les Fontaines and have pulled together an eclectic mix of houses from modern 2 bed villas to run-down properties ‘a restaurer’ or others ‘a rafraichir’ , of course it is always the latter that appeal, despite the problems that would come with doing a property up in France. We will continue to watch the houses over the next 12 months and see what sells, how long it takes and what, if anything is still on the market when we start looking, but at least during that time we will start to get to know the local property market.
We have already seen that house selling in France seems to be a long-term process in with prices starting high & reducing slowly over a period of time until they reach a price that someone is willing to pay, so there is a chance that some of the ones we are looking at will still be there albeit slightly cheaper next year when we leap into action.
The other thing we have been thinking about is whether we would be able to rent out our house here and possibly in France when we are not using them and to look at what we would need to do and what the pitfalls may be. We are lucky in that we live in a lovely village set on the edge of Dartmoor which has so much to offer, so holiday-letting our home is something that we could throw into the mix. So something else for us to do our homework on over the next 12 months.
Luckily we like looking forward and the planning is becoming a bit of a hobby. In the meantime we will just have to keep our feet on the ground and just look forward to getting down to the area as often as possible (2 trips already planned). 5 weeks today I shall be arriving for our next visit and it can’t come soon enough, already lots planned for the time we are there, including lots of this!!