Madness or a new adventure - jumping straight in to a property purchase!

(Brian Wheeler) #1

So back in mid September my partner David and I were sat around a pool in mainland Greece on holiday and were discussing life ambitions and it turned out that we both had a long held ambition to live in a foreign country and run a small holding. We are already very keen gardeners and allotmenters, so it was the natural next step for us. I’d always wanted to live in France but David had always had Spain in mind. But once I showed him what we could get in France for our money he was hooked. Well things moved on quickly from there, just two weekends after our discussion an an email popped in one Sunday afternoon with an amazing little 270 year old stone farmhouse with 4 barns, the original stone village bread oven, a natural spring and our own well, 1.34 hectares of pasture and a small orchard. All for €15,000 euro’s it’s in a small hamlet 8km from Ernée, Mayenne. So the following weekend we were in France viewing it and put in an accepted offer there and then. Turns out over 50 other people had asked to view it in that week and two made cash offers over the phone. But our agent honoured we were the first in the queue and had first refusal which was amazing. So my question is are we absolutely mad to of just jumped straight in on the first property we saw. Even though it is exactly what we had in our heads as our ideal property or are we just following many other mad brits acting on a hunch. The fact so many people also wanted it gives us comfort it’s a desirable financial bet. So what to people think totally mad? Or joyously bonkers?


(stella wood) #2

Hi Brian and welcome to the forum… :relaxed::relaxed::relaxed:

Sounds to me … that you have a wonderful challenge on your hands… which you are both keen to face. :relaxed::relaxed:

That is so important… sometimes one of the partnership is only really going-along with the other… and not fully committed… which can lead to real personal problems in the future.

15000 euro means you (hopefully) have plenty of spare cash to do whatever needs doing… but, take your time spending… money can simply disappear when enthusiasm gets going. :hushed::grin:

Get the “promise to buy/sell” signed asap… if not already done…but make sure you do understand all the bits and bobs about the property… it might be on the planned path of an autoroute… :hushed::hushed: OK exaggeration… but, you never know. If you have plans to build… make sure that you will be allowed to do so… etc etc . (you get my drift …)

Oh… you will have such fun… I am smiling as I tap away… so much to do, so little time… (the days are just not long enough it seems to me… )

Congratulations… and let us know how things go…


(David Martin) #3

I bought the only house I viewed in 1995. I now live there full time and have never regretted the decision.


(Brian Wheeler) #4

Hi Stella and thanks for you reply, we are well prepared and not rushing in we have a 4 year plan in place to make the permanent move. We signed the paperwork that day and it came off the market there and then. We have an English Agent, Jane Thom, at Agence Thom in Mayenne which has made the process so much easier and we have already submitted CU to the Marie. We are traveling out later this week to do the legal with The notaire (also English speaking) so we will fully understand what’s what. That said we don’t plan to be the brits that move abroadand expect only English to be spoken. So have both been doing an hours french language course every day since the viewing and intend to do so for the next four years to help us fully immerse when we get there. Under no illusions as to the renovation costs as we are buying a house with a failing roof a long drop in the garden for a loo and not much else but the setting is perfect and the building main structure and timbers solid and ripe for renovation. So a healthy budget of around £100,000 in 4 years or so plus further large lump sums at subsequent points means we should be financially secure over time as pension pots and future house inheritances become avaible from the UK. So I think we have realistic expectations.


(Teresa Shipley) #5

I agree with Stella. If you’re both equally committed then you will have a much better chance of success.
Good luck.


(stella wood) #6

Excellent… sounds like you have ticked all the boxes…

Enthusiasm and a smattering of French… and you are off to a running start… :grin::grin::grin:

this link… will test your French… and keep you up to date with events etc…


(Ann Coe) #7

Congratulations to you both.
Make sure that you understand all the legal implications of buying as a couple. Plenty of threads on SF to give advice on this.
Sometimes ‘jumping straight in’ works well, it did for me !
Enjoy life and live your dreams :slight_smile:

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(Nellie Moss ) #8

Ours is a holiday home , but my relatives bought the only one they saw ,they then asked me did I want to join with them I said yes without actually seeing it but no money changed hands until I had stayed for a couple of weeks

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(Meghann Robbe) #9

Sounds Like an exciting adventure to me! I hope u post photos during the process!


(Brian Wheeler) #10

Certainly plan to


(Mat Davies) #11

Isn’t Spain cheaper?

Just be very careful about renovation costs which are at least double those in UK.

Septic Tanks are always a favorite topic of discussion - and like electrics expensive.

… but if you have the money behind you and are willing to work hard - you do get the sense of being fully alive as it is a great adventure.

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(Meghann Robbe) #12

I cant wait to see!!!


(Brian Wheeler) #13

image image image image image image image image image image image image image image image image image image image image image image image image image image image image image image


(Brian Wheeler) #14

Here’s what we are buying


(stella wood) #15

I can understand your excitement… :relaxed::relaxed::relaxed:

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(Mat Davies) #16

Are you intending doing the work yourself leaving £100k for materials?

I seem to remember we were advised £1000/m2 of renovation.


(Teresa Shipley) #17

Well at least there is a toilet😂
Its beautiful and it will be a lot of work but you have to take a step to start a walk as they say.
You’ll learn so much along the way.
My husband and I decided we were too old to do lots of renovation, upgrading our fosse is an adventure for us.
You’ll have to post pics as you go.

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(Brian Wheeler) #18

Hi Mat, we will be doing a lot of the work ourselves overtime. I am a qualified landscape gardener with many woodwork and building skills. Including roofing pointing,plumbing etc. I’m a realist and know my limits also. The £100k is the initial budget to do the main house. The barn we will convert in time once additional funds come from the sale of a future house inheritance. We are realistic as to the amount of work and costs we are not looking to go high end, we want to keep its character and keep it rural and simple. But appreciate people’s comments and advice.


(Jane Williamson) #19

What an adventure.
I used to do my french learning after breakfast.
I used the Hugo books and cd’s which are from Dorling Kindersley.
I don’t know where you intend to start, but I suppose you know that you are supposed to put in a new fosse septique before you start work.
You sound very lucky to have found such a helpful and trustworthy agent.
I am sure she will be a huge help to you.
Congratulations on your new life in France.


(stella wood) #20

@Brian_Wheeler … I love the loo…

Jane is right about the importance of sanitation… however, I suspect that you might be able to delay the Fosse etc… until the major building works (involving heavy machinery/delivery vehicles etc)… have been done… to avoid damage to newly laid pipes, septic tank etc etc.

It will all depend on what you plan to do/build/put where… over the next few years…:thinking:

As always, most important to discuss things at the Mairie and get specific permissions for each Project…before commencing … ( the Mairie will keep you on the straight and narrow and also help you liaise with le SPANC-Service Public Assainissement Non Collectif) .