Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Not quite two years ago, I took a Friday off and came to the coast to surf. Anne Marie couldn't get free, so I went by myself, planning to stay at an acquaintance's, whose BF was going to Mimizan for the weekend.  Friday the surf was good, but over night the wind changed and the ocean adopted the look of a top loading washer and was hardly suitable for surfing.

Several kilometers from their house is a village that I've wanted to visit and did so on my drive back to Paris. The village has a small harbor and sits across the bay from a larger town. As I poked around the quiet streets I came across an old stone house on the quay for sale. From the street I looked it over, it appeared that the roof was new and given that the timbers were straight rather than sagging like the roofs of neighboring buildings, I wondered if it had been reframed. Retrieving a flashlight from Buster, I tried to see what the inside was like. It appeared to have been gutted, but it was difficult to see.

Returning to the camper, I found the listing and then called the agent, who seemed disgruntled that I interrupted his lunch. After some back and forth and his trying to get me to return later in the week, he agreed to meet me in an hour.  I found a nearby café and waited two hours for him. The time was well spent as the café's owner and patrons gave me the history of the building and how it ended up in its then current condition. A retired Brit couple had purchased the property with the intent to renovate it and make it a retirement home. In the process they had the building gutted and a new roof and framing built, but a combination of the recession and health issues forced them to abandon the project.

The realtor finally arrived and he seemed as intent on flirting as showing me the property, he did bring a powerful lamp so I could see as there was no electricity. After taking about 100 pictures and as much information about the building as he could provide me I started back to Paris, after telling him I'd let him know by Wednesday if I had any interest.

On the drive back I called an architect friend and asked him he could help me scope out what it would cost to renovate the structure, he agreed to help and I sent off the info and pictures when I got home. Over the next couple of days, I researched the sellers and found out that the property was the estate of the retired couple, both having passed in the intervening years. On Wednesday I called the agent and offered to buy the house for 2/3's the asking price. He groused and said that the offer was insulting and complained that how could the sellers be sure that I could qualify for a mortgage. When I told him the purchase would be cash, I got his attention.

The next day he called me with a counter, they would cut 5,000€ off the price. I promptly reduced my offer by the same figure and sent him back. When the sellers turned me down I told the agent to contact me if they changed their minds. A few months passed and I looked at some other property, but never got close. Except for an isolated house at the end of a road just off the beach. Anne Marie and Hannah on seeing the house were convinced that living there alone was a guarantee that I'd be raped and murdered. That gave me pause, neither being pleasant even for a submissive, and then that house sold.

One day the agent called to say that the sellers had reconsidered and would take my initial offer. I agreed subject to inspecting the property. The construction process was painful, but not unusually so according to friends. Friday night I slept here for the first time and when my feet touched down on the floor Saturday morning I could't believe that the place was finally mine. Juliette & Dad are coming for dinner Thursday and AM & Hannah for the weekend. Then it will be back to Paris for me and I don't see myself getting out here again till Christmas.



Anonymous jo said...

I am so happy for you! (not to mention slightly jealous since we just spent a few days at the beach and I dream of just what you have found).
I bet Wags has sniffed every inch of the place.

1:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Congratulations and best wishes for decades of pleasure from that property. Well done!

4:24 PM  
Blogger J said...

Well, you are always full of surprises aren't you. Putting down more roots ... very interesting. Congratulations, and enjoy every minute there.


5:37 PM  
Anonymous Robert Taylor said...

Aside from the fact that gravity is 10 times heavier when you get up, it is a wonderful feeling when you place your feet on the floor and know that it is YOURS!

6:35 PM  
Anonymous VJ said...

Good to hear Kim, sounds delightful from here! Cheers & Good Luck, 'VJ'

10:27 PM  

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