Setbacks and comebacks

March 2014

Have never had so many highs and lows in the space of one month! Buying a property is already proving to be more stressful than I thought.

So the good news is that we have found a partially-renovated property with land which we would love to buy. It is a bit more rural than anticipated (7km drive to the nearest town), but it has the potential to be an amazing home for us. We have been given first refusal and we have planned to visit it in May.

Now for the downer…
Having already been advised by a mortgage broker that we would be able to get a mortgage, last week we were knocked back by our own French bank when we mentioned the fact that we wished to buy in another region of France. The problem we are facing is that our full time jobs are here, in Chamonix, and the property we wish to buy is in Aveyron, a mere 6 and a half hours’ drive away. Without any savings, in order to be considered for a French mortgage, you both have to be on a yearly contract but the fact that we rent an apartment means that our potential buy can only be considered a second home, therefore financially-speaking, we do not meet the minimum income percentage to be able to cover both rental and mortgage payments each month.

But the simple fact of the matter is that we do not intend to stay in Chamonix once we have bought a property! Anybody can see it makes no sense to pay out twice. It’s like a vicious circle and for a couple of days or so I felt like the world was against us and we were destined to rent for the rest of our lives! Luckily for me, I have a strong man to pick me up when I’m down, and he quickly pointed out that nobody reaches their goals by giving up at the first hurdle. So, we can’t focus on the problems, only work at finding solutions, and we have decided to speak to other banks and try to find a way around it. I will have to remain level-headed and try not to get too emotionally-attached to the property in question.

If all this fails, we would have to change our approach entirely and do everything the other way round. We would have to pick the area and find full time jobs there first, and then find a suitable property. For us, this is obviously more complicated and time-consuming, because it might mean starting off on a short term contract and you can never be sure that we would both get a yearly contract after that, which would of course mean, no mortgage! Plus it is likely that our daughter would have to change schools more than once, if we have to start renting accommodation before eventually finding a property that suits us.

I guess the key is to pick an area that has plenty of jobs and where the property prices remain affordable, which brings our focus back to areas near the Pyrenees, and departments such as as Ariège, Gers and Landes.

We could really do with some time off to go and explore these areas of France that interest us, but luck is against us and we haven’t been given the same holiday weeks off work! There have been quite a few moments this month when I didn’t know whether to laugh, cry, scream or bang my head against a wall. My husband simply shrugs and tells me these challenges make us stronger people. I love that man…while I’m stressing about money, jobs and all the ‘what if’ scenarios I could possibly imagine, Pete is reading up about permaculture and watching Bill Mollison lectures, studying YouTube DIY videos as well as doing all the cooking and housework.

It only takes the news that yet another person has died on the mountain, or even hearing about the poor woman who was killed by a reversing lorry in our local supermarket carpark, to make you realise that life is too short to moan and worry about trivial things. And so that’s enough for today, I’m going to go and enjoy a coffee outside in the sun, and make the most of that beautiful view before the school bell rings, signalling the end of my ‘quiet time’ and the start of my ‘family time’.

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