We will be travelling on the Brittany Ferries ship the Bretagne from Portsmouth to St Malo. We have some lovely friends coming to stay with us and we are looking forward to sharing our knowledge of the area as well as the occasional bottle of wine with them.
It looks like the weather is going to be great as we seem to be experiencing an Indian Summer at the moment. It will be a great chance to catch up with some of the friends that we have made in Brittany. Our house and cat sitters will be arriving soon and then it will be time to set off to the ferry port for a very civilised overnight trip. Watch out for posts on the new places we discover over the next week and a bit.
Having sat up long into the night over a bottle of red (or two!) discussing the properties we had already seen, we decided to view the property with the worrisome beams again. The next morning we headed into Huelgoat to see the immobiliere, stopping to look at the properties displayed in the window of the local notaire.
As I’ve mentioned before, notaires also act as as estate agents and their fees are normally less than a private estate agent. A familiar looking property caught my eye, it was one that I had seen and liked on the notaire’s website previously but it had been marked as sold prior to our trip. Apparently it was back on the market – ooh la la!
We managed to make the receptionist understand that we wanted to view the property and she arranged for one of the estate agents to come and speak with us. Happily, his English was much better than our French. We did persist in trying to use to French where possible, though I'm not sure that this was entirely helpful. There are a lot of British ex-pats around Huelgoat so I guess that the locals are used to dealing with 'Les Anglais'.
It turned out that the property had indeed been under offer back in October so he had a lot of information to hand. This included the plethora of diagnostic technique survey reports that are required as part of a house sale in France. There are a number of obligatory surveys which the seller of a property has to have carried out. These are not the same as a structural building survey that are normally a requirement of mortgage lenders in the UK. You can find out more about property surveys on the Notaires de France Property Surveys website. The some of the required surveys are:
·Energy performance - Diagnostic de performance énergétique
·Natural and technological risks - Etat des risques naturels et technologiques
·Asbestos - Dossier Amiante
·Paint containing lead - Constat des risques d'exposition au plomb
·Gas – Diagnostic Gaz
·Electricity – Diagnostic Electricité
·Energy Efficiency - Diagnostic Performance Energétique (DPE)
·Termites/fungal &Insect (larvae) related damage - Diagnostic Termites/Etat Parasitaire
·Waste Water Drainage - Assainissement Non Collectif – for properties not on mains drainage
These surveys are collectively referred to as the Dossier de Diagnostic Technique (DDT).
It was situated on a gentle slope overlooking a wooded valley. It appeared a solid stone building with lots of character. The lounge had a huge open granite fireplace and there was a separate large dining room and three large bedrooms. The kitchen and bathroom were small and dated. The bathroom in particular was unappealing, being a brown 70's job with one of the silly little sit up and beg baths that the French seem to love.
The garden was a joy, made up of nooks and crannies, with a little hedged maze, two orchards, a beautiful stone well, plenty of outbuildings and a ruined cottage that had been turned into a delightful sitting area including little pond with a fountain. There was also a large stone barn attached to the property that potentially could be turned into a gite if we decided to go down that route.
Also, there was no access to the roof space so we couldn't check not the state of the roof beams. Still I have to admit that I loved it and Andy seemed to be taken by it too!
With the short winter day drawing in we headed back into the Huelgoat and arranged a seconding viewing the property with the two gites. This was in fact which was the whole reason we had gone into Huelgoat that morning in the first place, though we had nearly forgotten that in our excitement about the house that we had just seen!
Another wine imbued evening followed with much discussion and analysis of the pros and cons of the the latest property. By bedtime we knew that we would be going back for second visit!