The Final Acte

We went home last Thursday for a long weekend, it was great to be back. As we drove from the airport I took in the roads lined with plane trees, the stunning red fields of poppies and the fabulous vines growing vigourously in anticipation of another years vintages.

I smiled as we pulled into our village, a gentle familiar feeling of contentedness sweeping over me. We drove past our ‘house to be’ and into the village to our current family home. It looked sleepy, but I was pleased to see my gorgeous Jasmine looking splendid in full flower (in fact a number of people commented on how lovely our house was looking although a good friend also said it was triste without us).

We had a busy first day as we were up early to go to the Notaires office to sign the Acte de Vente. On arrival, we exchanged smiles & handshakes with the proprieteres and entered the office together. We were greeted by the notaire (now the daughter of our previous Notaire which somehow makes the office less formal as she’s very friendly).

As everyone chatted, Madame la Notaire calmly advised me our whole deposit hadn’t been received (news to me!) I checked on her internet & it appeared the amounts were too big for internet transfers so they’d been cancelled. Pas de Probleme said Madame, we’ll do a procuration so you can sign today & when the funds are through we can do it on your behalf. I called the bank & they told me to fax through authorisation for a one off transfer which they did later that day (cost for this was 3.60euro so why did I bother with the internet transfers many days in a row to try to move my deposit below the internet threshold?!).

Madame la Notaire read through the Acte as if we were signing immediately, a couple of things I noticed which I thought were of interest…she had to declare that we were in an earthquake zone 2 (new legislation since May 1st 2011 due to events in Japan). Apparently there is an unactive volcano in Agde & so we need to be aware it is there…

Our house has lead, asbestos & very irregular wiring…no surprise there as it’s completely run down. Oh and there are termites in the garden but these have yellow collars so they won’t come in the house without an invite apparently. Good to know.

Funnily, they didn’t mention the rats (assume these are also sharing the house given the hundreds of anti-rat sachets in each room). Not a problem though as I don’t think anything will be living there once we’ve ripped out the insides & poured new concrete floors in.

Final point on the Acte, we have 2 servitudes, one which gives access to a neighbour to a plot of land next to our garden (we’ve seen this as it’s already fenced off separately) and we benefit from a servitude as there is a private road which allows us vehicle access to our garden (v. important as we want to put a garage in the back). Ideally I’d like to buy Madame la Voisine’s garden as it would make ours bigger and we could get rid of the servitude. We’ve approached her & made an offer, we now have to wait to see if she is interested or not.

We went to the house with the vendors (they assumed the sale would go ahead and gave us the keys anyway), as we all left we were accosted by a neighbour (house opposite & few doors down) who was basically hassling me for the old wood burner in our garage. My hubby was not impressed and said a big ‘Non’. We hadn’t even been able to look at it ourselves & he was after it. Presumably its an antique and worth something. If I ever find my camera again (another story) I’ll put photos on here.

We treked around the back to peer in the garden (which resembled a jungle and was completely overgrown). We met another neighbour who stuck her head out of her window to say hello (that was one of the points noire of the purchase - a neighbour has a view on the garden - not a big deal with some clever planting we can create private places). Then when we returned to the front of the house to lock up our direct neighbour (we only have 1) came out to introduce himself, he’s quite old & from Corsica apparently (a friend told me he’s known as Monsieur le Corse because of this). He advised us that the house needed lots of work (1euro for every euro spent purchasing it - not a bad rule of thumb) and that we should sort out the garden as youths might set fire to it in summer. Oh and can he paint the iron railing between our house & his? He wanted to paint it 6 years ago but the old Madame that owned the house wanted brown paint whereas he wanted white. Pas de probleme I said thinking it won’t be there for long (it’s our wall).

So a mixed bunch really, but it just shows how nosy life in the village can be, within an hour of us opening the door, 3 neighbours appeared!

We enjoyed lunch at our local cafe where our eldest daughter gave the owner (her best friend) a big kiss to his delight, had lunch in our local restaurant (our friends are the owners & it’s fantastic) and caught up with all the village gossip from our many friends in the village who all seemed really pleased to see us. I’m not sure our cat felt quite the same way but he did greet us & tolerated a few over zealous cuddles from the 2 year old.

It was great to go home, it reminded us that home really is where the heart is.

What a lovely story Suzanne. Good luck in your new home.