A Huge New Decision!
This year we made the huge decision to move to a smaller home with a smaller garden and close to a town. We are getting older and we thought that we wouldn’t leave it ‘til our arthritis (especially Terry’s) got the better of us - and it was having a good enough try already.
We bought our house in 2003 - one with the potential to expand so we could accommodate our large family on their visits without being crowded and I loved gardening - we’d had such a small garden in the UK and had longed for some space.
We renovated our house making it into a lovely home and discovered and developed the garden underneath the original weeds, brambles and nettles and we have loved living here in rural Creuse. We have made some lovely friends, French and English and our neighbours (all French) are all kind and good to us. Our house and our garden is my sanctuary, but this year we realised that the time had come to be realistic and follow the next adventure of our life.
We studied the map of France, looking at towns that weren’t too far south to be much more expensive and lively enough to be interesting. We looked westward too as we have friends in the west of France. We discussed various options but just couldn’t make up our minds and there didn‘t really seem to be much of a rush as Terry’s sister’s house at Bénévent L’Abbaye had taken almost two years to sell so we assumed that we had a pretty longish time ahead of us to seriously think through where we fancied moving to next.
So, near the end of March we put the house on the market and expected to sit back for a year or so and wait. We had put it with an agent in Guéret and also on three websites, sort of half creating our own site within the confines of the site patterns.
What a surprise! Within two weeks of it going on-line we had our first viewers and in all we had a total of 16 arranged viewings and many more that had just sent enquiries with all sorts of questions via the websites but didn’t follow up after we’d responded. Our second viewers made us an offer but with it having been on the market for such a short time and as we were in reality not desperate at all to sell, we turned that down.
What a variety of viewers we had! We had purposely described the house and land as clearly as possible, stating room sizes and answering many other questions, but people still came wanting to use the house for various unsuitable uses. One couple didn’t want to look inside the house - they’d seen it on the ‘net and liked what they’d seen so all they wanted now was to see if the garden would be suitable for about 15 llamas! Our garden is lovely, arranged in several different sections making it interesting, calming and pretty and the idea of all those llamas - well, we were flabbergasted.
Another couple brought their son with them, a lad of about ten and what a child he turned out to be! He carried a big stick in the house with him and proceeded to side-swipe the furniture whilst looking at me out of the corner of his eye. Then he started opening cupboards and drawers saying “What’s in here?” I waited for his mother to control his bad manners but as she didn’t I tweaked him by his collar as he opened more doors and told him it was my house and not to be nosy. Next stage was in the garden. The flowers, shrubs and trees all got swiped and I was very careful to keep our dog out of his range. I couldn’t wait for them to leave.
Some couples came saying they wanted to make it into a B&B but not do evening meals so was there a restaurant within walking distance? This was another fact that I had made clear - the closest village which has just one bar/crêpery is three kilometres away down a very steep, hilly walk into the river valley then of course, then same steep walk back uphill in pitch black as we are deep in the country and there is just one light in the hamlet. The closest reasonably sized town is 6 kilometres away - nothing could really be called within easy walking distance, especially if it should rain or if someone is not good at walking.
Some people were looking for just a holiday home (mainly Dutch and Belgians) and were very pleasant and very complimentary and they all said that they loved it but that the garden was too big bearing in mind that they wouldn’t be here for most of the year - and so it went on. We knew that exactly the right people who would love it as we did would eventually turn up. We just needed to wait. We were in no rush and I actually felt rather sad at the thought of leaving our home. It just didn’t seem real.
Virtually three months to the day that the house had first gone on the market those right people turned up! They came for their arranged viewing on the Saturday morning. Rang us next day to ask if they could come and have another visit and when they did, they said they loved the house so much that they wanted to buy it - and that was that. Such a relief to find a lovely couple who will appreciate our home as we have done. They cancelled all other viewings that they’d arranged to look at other houses and after a week or so (once the deposit had been paid to the Notaire) we cancelled a further two viewers who had arranged to come a little later on and things have continued to progress from there.
At first it seemed that we had lots of time to sort everything out as the completion date was set for roughly three months after the first trip to the Notaire - but how that time flies by in reality!
Our next task was to decide where we wanted to move to and to start looking at houses!