Now that we have the property and a mortgage as well as service and maintenance bills to pay, we have to make regular currency transfers to our French bank account. You can use a “spot contract” for when you need to make transfer in the immediate future (usually this would be when you have to pay the deposit on your property). If you have currency requirements in the future you can do a “forward contract” where you nominate the amount that you wish to purchase within a given period at an agreed fixed rate. You pay a deposit for this and it is very useful if you want to take advantage of good rates such as we are experiencing at the moment. This is the option we are currently using, we save up our money and do a transfer every few months as the larger the amount you transfer the better the rate. There are other options such as an “order to call” or an “order to buy” where you designate a rate that you wish to buy at. All the dealers that I have dealt with explain this quite clearly on their websites. You need to be aware that you are entering into a verbal contract when you place an order over the phone. We tend to use Smart Currency Exchange as they have always come up with the best rate when we’ve need to purchase euros, though I do ring around to make sure that we are getting the best deal!
As we drove up to the cottage, we were confronted by the sight of an elderly red-faced neighbour propped in his front door intently watching the goings on in the hamlet. Of course our arrival was of great interest (the hamlet was down a dead-end road so I guess there wasn’t much non-local passing traffic, other than the occasional lost tourist…yes, that has been us a number of times – damn SatNavs!). He came over to check us out, I mean to greet us. We, of course, were ill prepared for this and had to try to communicate in our best French (which is not very good, though we are working on it!) that we were just coming to take a look at the cottage which we were thinking of buying. The florid-faced neighbour then proceeded to take us around the garden and outside of the cottage, not that we understood much of what he said, his yappy little dog accompanying us. We soon made our excuses and left contemplating how intimate life might be with our new potential neighbour.
The next day we rolled up at the appointed time and the local caretaker showed us around. We had noticed that there was only enough parking for one car at the front of the property and whilst there was plenty of room at the back for more parking there was not enough room between the cottage and the neighbour’s house to access the rear garden. Also, it turned out that the neighbour could only access his garden by using the one that belonged to the cottage – he had a right of access (we subsequently added this to our list of questions to be asked when looking for properties to view…it’s surprising how many properties in France are affected by this and the last thing you want is a farmer driving through your property at unsociable times…). Apparently it was easy to get caught up with the neighbour who liked a drink or two (we had already worked this out from the colour of his nose and the size of his beer/pastis belly). Much as we wish to integrate into the local community we also wanted to have some privacy and this didn’t seem possible with this property, as charming as it was. So another cross on the list! Oh well, there was always the cottage in the grounds of the 16th century Logis – would that be “the one”?