Guest blog by Fruitcake @barjan
When there was no news from either the agents or the buyer and as we’d gone multi agency, I instructed them to remove the sold sign from their board. I advertised everywhere that I could and made regular visits to every agency that we had it advertised with.
We had a viewing and we tried not to get our hopes up, very difficult. Nothing came of it and nothing transpired from the “buyer” as they were waiting for her to pay off a £70 debt which would then probably allow her a mortgage I said that we’d pay the blooming £70 if that’s all it needed!
We had another viewing, a couple who said they liked and thought they would have it, but had a bungalow to see after ours, however they thought that they would prefer ours. As I was taking the dogs for a walk, dressed to kill in shorts, wellies, Mr. F’s jacket and a green hat, the couple pulled up with another car, I guessed it was their son, could they show him the house? They could but all had to wait while I walked the dogs, they then looked around and said the agent would be in touch – don’t get excited we told ourselves!
The next day I waited until midday and could wait no longer so rang the agent – the couple’s grandson had broken his wrist so they’d not had a chance to discuss it!! I had so wanted some news for Mr. F. on his return from work. We talked and talked all the evening trying to prepare ourselves for them not deciding on ours – Mr..F. took a sleeping tablet!
When I spoke to the agent the next day he’d had a message to ring the couple and said he would and get back to me, he didn’t and I guessed they’d chosen the bungalow and, of course, that was the agent’s priority then, not us. I rang him later and I was right on all counts! He knew that I was not best pleased about his lack of courtesy!
We had a job to keep our spirits up, I continued to badger the agents on a regular basis, after one visit to badger I returned home to receive a call from one arranging a viewing (I think they probably begged someone to come just to get me off of their backs!)
By the end of August we were no further forward, although there had been a couple of viewings from my own adverts one, who had rung about my ad in the local paper, came unannounced on “spec” to see if it was suitable for his uncle, I was in the bathroom half undressed at the time, so I had to make him wait outside while I hastily finished dressing, gathered up my dirty underwear, put the dogs outside and had a quick tidy up! He was another who said he would ring and let me know – he didn’t!
We continued to sleep badly, discuss, plan, buy 2nd hand bits of furniture and alternate between positive thinking and mild depression and I found it hard to suppress my own down feelings but tried hard to keep Mr. F’s spirits up. I did my weekly rounds of the agents, telling those that hadn’t sent viewers about those that had. I put up posters and postcards in as many shop windows and any other places I could think of to advertise the house and continued with my research for all things to do with a life in France. We booked another crossing for 29th September.
A viewing was arranged for the evening of Saturday14th September, I cleaned, straightened, tidied, baked a fresh baguette and put fresh coffee on just before they arrived. On Monday the agents rang to say that they had made an offer! BUT the house was for her as they were splitting up so they either had to sell their joint home (they had some interest in it)or he buy her out and she get a mortgage! I said we’d accept the offer but would stay on the market until something definite was sorted. We were up in the air again!
On Monday evening the agent rang to ask if Paula (she who had made an offer) could come the following morning to take some measurements – yes she could! I couldn’t sleep, took the dogs out at 6am. She came with a builder friend who confirmed that it was a good buy. We tried not to get excited but it was hard to keep a lid on it!
Having worked out all our finances for the following month I had to tell Mr. F. that we must really keep to a tight budget, even for food, he looked a bit crestfallen and I felt sorry as he must have thought he was working all hours and still we never had enough!
I informed the agent dealing with Paula of our forthcoming trip and asked if they had arranged a meeting with Paula and her husband, it was arranged for that evening, I said we would like to know before we left if the mortgage was forthcoming. The next day I rang to see how the meeting had gone – it hadn’t it was re-arranged for the following week!!
We carried on keeping everything up to date with the house. I approached the bank for a loan to help us through, it would come off of what little capital we would have from the sale but, as we hadn’t got a spare penny and needed to buy materials, it was a necessary evil!
I received a call from another agent, a housing association had put in an offer of £36000 – “Not possible as we have accepted £37000” was the reply. He came back to me, they would pay £37000 but needed to calculate floor area to see if sufficient. I rang the other agent to see what the position was with Paula before the association got back to me. They hadn’t been able to speak to her as she had a funeral to attend but she rang me – they were waiting for a cash buyer to agree a price for their bungalow – I agreed to stall the association for a day!
Two days went by with no news from either agent so, again, I rang them – nothing from the association, Paula still waiting for buyers but will keep the appointment for the meeting. I spoke to her husband and we promised to keep each other informed, me of the association, he of their buyers.
I coated the inside of cupboards with emulsion. Mr F. working his socks off.
Friday 27th September the agent came to measure floor space again for the association, would we ring from France next week for news!
Saturday 28th was loading day. The agent for Paula rang sounding fed up, Paula very blasé and trying to squeeze another £1000 out of their buyers!!! We left Paula a message on her answering machine to say we would be ringing the agent from France on Tuesday!
Sunday 29th September up at 3.15am and away by 3.45am – gale force winds but not a bad crossing.
We made good time, but all was not well on arrival, there was a bar wired across the door, we discovered why, someone had broken in and stolen some of our beloved terracotta floor tiles! Only about 40 and nothing else touched but it was, none the more for that, upsetting. Louis came down and explained that it was he who had barred the door, bless him, it had only happened on Friday, he had informed the gendarmes and we must go to the gendarmerie the next day. Marcel also came down to talk about it and was really upset for us bless his heart. In my upset state I said that I didn’t care who we sold to as long as we got there.
I calmed down afterwards, we got things into perspective, it was after all only a few floor tiles, they were gone, no more to be done, we could find more perhaps, so we had a nice dinner and settled down for a lovely evening, our resolve to move as soon as possible ever stronger!
The next day was spent unloading the van, storing things in the hayloft in case of another break in, off to the gendarmerie, very nice gendarme, he gave us the paperwork for the insurance company, which we took to them, explaining that it was for info only, we wouldn’t be claiming. The gendarme said he would call the next day. Marcel came down, the story was recounted again!
Tuesday 1st October we sorted out our room with the green slimy walls to make it more comfortable, put into place the old kitchen units we’d acquired to make a temporary kitchen, Mr. F. put down some bits of wood to fill the gaps where the tiles were missing and we cut up some old bits of carpet to make it more cosy, we were pleased with the results and thought it looked quite nice. The gendarme and his colleague came, inspected and said they would keep an eye out whenever they go by (not very often I suspect! But it was nice of them to say)
Marcel & Alice came down with a bag of peaches and I took a photo of them with Mr. F., they were bemused and thrilled at one and the same time!
Wood was untangled and cut and pruning done.
On Wednesday the 2nd we went into the village to the phone box (no mobiles in those days!) to ring the agents, as arranged – no news from either agent, Paula still not made the sale, Association still not made a decision! I said I would ring again Friday
Thursday more sorting of everything, digging and forming a garden for the fruit trees (with the aid of a pick axe at times!)
Friday 4th we were woken at 5am by the mouse that has decided to share our room, the green slimy walls not in any way a turn off to him!
Back to the phone box rang the agent for the Association – “Yes they want it” “It’s sold then?” I asked “Yes” she said. Rang the agent for Paula “Good news they have two offers on their property and one of those has sold!” I told them of our anxiety to move even more quickly now and said that whoever could complete first could have it! I promised to speak to them Monday.
Saturday 5th After another disturbed night with our little mouse a decision was made, tiny as he was he would have to go! We shopped for materials, planted plants, put up a fence. Mr. F. worked on ideas for securing the property. Gave Louis his bottle of whisky for his 70th birthday the next day, in case we didn’t see him – he was quite touched – we finally ate at 9pm. The mouse ran round the traps and sat in the hearth having a wash at our feet! He was rather sweet!
Sunday 6th Up at 7am, everything packed, the cottage as “mickey proofed” as we could and Mr. F. burglar proofed the door with a pretty intricate contraption of wire and bars! We had a good journey back and on arrival found a letter from the surveyors of the housing association wanting an appointment ……………………………………………more to follow!