Lots going on at work too so have been a bit distracted recently with one thing and another. Hopefully things will settle down a bit now and I'll be a bit more regular - so to speak! Still getting used to the dark evenings now the clocks have gone back - roll on Spring hey?
Autumn is a lovely time to visit Brittany, especially if there is an Indian summer. The roads are even quieter than usual and you can have the beaches all to yourself - what's not to love?
We decided to make an offer on the house with the lovely garden near Monts d’Arrée. This was the one that we had found through the notaire's office in Huelgoat.
We spent a long time putting together our offer, taking into consideration the fact that the electrics needed replacing, as did the kitchen and bathroom, some of the windows were damaged, the chimneys needed repointing and it was extremely likely that we would need to put in a new fosse septique which was not going to be cheap!
Based on our research and knowledge of the local market we felt it was a fair offer with a little room to manoeuvre, bearing in mind that the vendors were English and they never accept the first offer do they? It's just not cricket!
Again after more chasing we finally received a response to our second offer which befuddled us somewhat. They were not only refusing our offer, they were putting the price up by €10,000! Sacre bleu! We came to the conclusion that they didn't really want to sell, after all why had the previous sale failed? We gathered that there was another failed offer prior to that. So we decided to cut our losses and move on to the second property.
Again we put in a carefully considered offer with a bit of room for negotiation (another English vendor!). The estate agents fees, which are paid by the purchaser, were higher on this property than first one as the notaires tend to charge less the private estate agents. Also, we were buying the furnishings so we had to decide what we thought they were worth.
Our first offer was rejected (as expected) so we upped our offer saying it was final one. After the normal toing and froing the offer was accepted and the panic, I mean celebrations began.
The mortgage process in France differs to that of the UK. Many UK lenders operate on income multiples when assessing lending amounts. In France, lenders must consider affordability very carefully due to consumer law. It is left to each lender to determine what is and what is not "affordable". In general the principle applied in France is that total outgoings (debt ratio) are not allowed to exceed 33% of gross income.
In the end we opted for a mortgage with BNP Paribas who have a specialist International Buyers department. Our mortgage offer was in English so there were no mysterious paperwork for us to have to interpret. It was all very straightforward and we had our offer confirmed in a couple of days.
We also set up a bank account with AXA Banque which also has an English speaking department and we have been very pleased with the service so far.
The land needed to split by a surveyor or a 'Geomtre' as the vendor owned another property and other land on the plot. This would involve a new plan cadastral being drawn up to show the new boundaries. A plan cadastral is the French equivalent of the land registry in the UK. All departmental areas in France are divided up into numbered plots and when you buy a property in France its boundaries are identified by the place name and its individual cadastral number. The cadastre plans literally tell you what you are going to purchase, so it's very important to study them carefully before making an offer.
So the paperwork waiting game began as ever in the property buying process, wherever you are in the world!