July 2010 Buying a house in Moissac France

Finding a house was our aim this month.

We spent a month of serious house hunting, 9am to 6pm each day, coming back to the boat for lunch, we have looked at many properties over the years. We had a good idea of what we wanted, a holiday home perhaps a base for winter months or for family holiday's during the summer.

Our map

20 km around the town of Moissac, certain villages with some rural spots were chosen. We wanted a 3 bed house with a small garden, south facing, near to water. Two years ago we had drawn up a list of 20 things (i.e. water, stone, airports, garden) we wanted in or around our property. I found this wish list a month after we completed on the house, the list took me totally by surprise, our new house had 18 items from our wish list.

We visited the Mairie (town hall), in our chosen villages, to enquire what was for sale ( cheaper properties as no agents fees are added to the property sale price). This was a very good idea to explore the area, we were given lots of information on the village and surrounding area, address's of houses or land for sale.

We signed up with lots of estate agents, giving our name and telephone number. Also we visited many Notaires (solicitors) offices, again this also involves no estate agent fees. Notaire's office's often have photograph board of properties for sale.

When buying in england you drive around your chosen area looking for a properties for sale, most have a for sale board. Properties in France do not always have a for sale board outside the house, even if with an agent (as in our case, no idea the property was for sale).



Last month John's brother Kevin died of throat cancer aged 57 his loss was felt so deeply, our daughter Louise took the telephone call the morning we were leaving Canada, it was a very sad day folled by saying good bye to Louise and Allan, as we left them to start their married life in Canada.

John's mum was being treated for bowl cancer at the time also, she had been diagnosed at the same time as Kevin, sadly Kevin died just six weeks later. A very scary time for all his family. We some weeks in England with our family, before returning to France. On our return, we moved our boat to a quiet port in Malause, were we could take time to heal and digest all that has happened over the last few months.

"You are never ready for what you want to do, you just do it that makes you ready" a saying we often say to ourselves.

The Best Estate agent we have come across

One of the most helpful of agents was Saint-Pierre in Moissac, near to the Abbey, we viewed our house on a Tuesday made an offer that day, our 1st offer was rejected, we then made another offer, which was also rejected, our final offer was accepted two days later.

The house had already been sold, but thankfully for us fell through, the couple were not able to raise the money for the renovation work. We were lucky that all the necessary inspections and paper work had been carried out, which included the gas, electric, termite report.

The day our offer was accepted we were given all the reports on the house, this made for a very speedy sale indeed. We asked for the roof and the wood work to be inspected on our behalf, which Matie arranged all with in two days, we met the specialists, good news, so we proceeded with the sale. We signed with the Notaire for our house four days later.

We have bought a house, in need of renovation - near the port in Moissac.

Matie who spoke perfect English came with us on both our signing days. (nothing happened in August due to French holidays). Maite helped us with getting electric, gas, water, switched on, also she made an appointment and came with me when insuring the house, also we visited the planning department, as we wanted planning for extra window and drive at back of the house. Matie has passion in her business and sorts things out straight away.

Friends join us for a very happy day - we had signed for our house - 7 days to change our minds.

Howell, John, Maria Nick, Helen, Tina, John, Mick, Michele and Philip

Brother Philip and wife Michele flew into Carcassonne for a weeks holiday with us, they took the train to Moissac the day we signed for our house, greeting us as we arrived back from the Notaries' (Solicitor) office. We enjoyed a beer in the bar with them. Maria and Howell's invited us and friends for a Champagne celebration then Maria, Howell, Tina, John, Nick, Mick, Helen, Philip and Michele all joined John and I to eat out at the crepe, we all enjoyed celebrating our good news. We all met up at our house following day for the viewing.

Our Kitchen

We spent every minute we could at the house, measuring, planning and designing we were allowed to keep the keys as long as we did no work till the final day it will be ours (Sept). We are so very excited, also we feel nervous and full of anticipation.

We almost missed this house on the market, as it is only two bed roomed, we asked to see 3 bed house, this house has the potential to turn it in to a three, but it was not shown to us, also a little over our budget. I thank Maria as she was with me at time and said, what about this house, which had come back on the market, it's only 2 bed agent said, never mind we will view this house since it backed onto the canal.

Attic which we will turn into a bedroom bathroom and huge front door with it's pink hall walls.

We have searched many years for a house and the minute we walked in the door we both said "this is the house for us". It is true you make up your mind within the first five minutes. We would not wait to start work on this little gem of a house. We went off cruising having found our house, cruised the Garonne and river Baise then a cruise on the Med waiting for signing day. we needed time to plan and; rest before starting work.

The final signing for our house, Iain and Kaz had bubbles ready for us back in the port.

We were lucky to have lots of bottles of wine and champaign sent or brought to the house by friends, to toast health and happiness Hic Hic.

Tina was a great help to us, bring all her gardening tools, all too soon we had the garden cleared and low and behold we could see the back of our house, what a celebration dinner we had that day on Moet. We shared many a magic moment, in our house, especially the garden, we had lots of lovely lunches sat outside, it was such a very pleasant experience, working very hard indeed. We are so lucky to have friends share in the work and our table with us. We so look forward to this our new adventure.

Work commences on the house

John digs for gold in the celler, hopefully turn this room into utility/boiler room. You could not see the house for the over grown garden, but we soon shifted all the rubble and we worked hard making a start in the loft also.

Happy Hard working days to come. We both thank you so much for all your help.