05 December 2011

Maison à vendre

It looks like one of the houses in our hamlet will soon be going on the market. It's the first one on the right when you come up the hill through the woods. Like ours, the house has a name. Ours is Les Bouleaux, and the one that will soon be put up for sale is called Bella Vista. One other house in the hamlet has a name; the other six are anonymous.

Bella Vista was evidently built by a couple who moved here from Corsica several decades ago. The house must be about between 40 and 50 years old, like ours. It's been a rental property for at least the last ten years, and the most recent tenants were a group of young people who worked part-time or temporarily at the Beauval zoo just south of Saint-Aignan.

« Bella Vista », a little house near Saint-Aignan-sur-Cher

I know the house will soon be on the market because I've talked to the owner a few times over the past 10 days. He's been at the house cleaning up the yard and working inside as well. The first time or two I saw him he said bonjour to me a Callie, but that was all. After a little while, he asked me what breed of dog Callie was and the conversation started from there.

When you come up this road from down in the river valley...

We had seen the tenants moving out in November. I think they'd been there for a year — or was it two? They kept chickens in a pen in the back yard, and one day the chickens were gone. We had gotten used to hearing them squawking and crowing. Then we saw people packing up cars with boxes and bags. One day, Walt said he saw a guy putting cats in cages in the back of a station wagon, getting ready to drive away.

...the first house you see is Bella Vista. There's room in the
front yard for a nice vegetable garden.

When I talked to the owner last week, I asked him if he had new tenants getting ready to move in. No, he said, adding that he is tired of being a landlord. He said he's 77 years old now. He bought the house about ten years ago. It was occupied by an older couple at the time. They stayed on as tenants until both of them died, in their nineties, a few years ago. We didn't know them because they seldom came out of the house, though we would see them out taking a walk on the road once or twice a year.

The front view of what is called un pavillon sur sous-sol
in French— a bungalow with a basement

The group of young tenants made a lot of noise. Bella Vista is three houses down from us, and we got used to hearing loud music and even fireworks on some warm summer nights. Parties would go on until three or four in the morning. It didn't bother us much, but the disturbance did bother the people who live next door to Bella Vista. They're a retired couple in their 60s or early 70s who live when the weather's nice but return to the Paris area for the winter.

The back yard ends in a point.

According to the owner, the group of young tenants didn't do anything to improve the place, and they didn't take care of the yard the way he thought they should have. He didn't say whether or not they paid their rent, but he told me that they didn't pay the water bill. The water company is requiring the landlord to pay it, and the arrears amount to 420 euros. We ourselves pay about 600 euros annually for water and sewerage services.

At the back there's a big patio with a roll-out awning.

"Young people can be very wasteful," the man said. "They used a lot of water. They didn't take care of the house or yard. I can't face renting it out again, so I'm selling it." The house is small, and it sits on an odd-shaped triangular lot that must be about a quarter of an acre. There are neighbors on one side, pretty close, but the other side is all woods and vineyard.

This morning's sunrise at La Renaudière

This wouldn't be a dream house for many people, but it might make a good retirement place or résidence secondaire. I've never seen the interior, but you can be sure that it will need some "freshening up" or even significant renovation. We have sewer mains, town water, broadband Internet access, and garbage pickup in the hamlet. I see a satellite dish on the chimney of the house.

I'll be curious to see what the asking price is. It might be a bargain.


  1. We would also be curious to see what asking price may be.

  2. That's a much better house description than most French immobiliers achieve. I think you deserve a percentage!

  3. It will certainly be interesting to see what the asking price is. A house like that appeals to us - it would make a good retirement home with less maintenance than an ancient property. But we're not ready to think seriously about that yet.

  4. Ken, I predict the new owner will be one of your blog friends. Martine...Judy...chm...who will it be? Don't tell me you're not tempted. It's a nice location and you'd have great neighbors.

  5. It looks like a good prospect: if I were minded to live outside a city.

  6. Your writeup makes that house sound so tempting!

  7. Carolyn, Tempting yes! ... but unfortunately too early. We finally have a government and the first thing it has done is to increase retirement age ... :( Martine

  8. Can't you guys buy it and use it as a guest house or a rental?
    I love the fact that it has a neighbor only on one side.
    It sounds tempting!(depending on the price of course).

  9. Cute house, pointy yard and all.

    Do you know how much the owner was getting in rent?

  10. Before the young people moved in, I think you wrote about this house a year ago. I'd be interested in knowing the price.
    As Ian says, if you find the buyer, the seller owes you at least a nice bottle of something.

  11. Ellen, this isn't the same house I wrote about last year. That one is being renovated by the owners, who are the son and daughter-in-law of the woman who died a year or more ago. This is a different, less "traditional" house.

  12. I am with IanJ. Having talked to a half dozen realtors so far, not one was as descriptive as you.

  13. Looks like a very interesting prospect. Like everyone else, I'm anxious to hear the price.

  14. What the heck! I'm curious to know the asking price, too :) Not at allllllll because I might buy it, but because I'm une petite curieuse :))

  15. A cute little cottage.

    We had a pie shaped lot once, also a ¼ acre. Couldn't do much at the point so it was pretty much overgrown with brambles.

    I love the concept of naming a house. We are required to have house numbers for emergency purposes, but I think having a name in addition would add to a home's personality.

    My wife and I live in two separate houses on a 10 acre property that we call Stocking Creek Farm. Not very imaginitive but it is the name of the creek that borders us to the south.

    I will be more creative about house naming at my next place.

  16. I'll see what I can find out about the asking price. By the way, there are hundreds, even thousands, of houses for sale in the Loire Valley on any given day. When we bought our house in 2003, the real estate agent who helped us had 400 properties listed just with his company.

    Houses here used to be named because they didn't have numbers. Now they have numbers, but the old names remain. I wonder if there would be some administrative paperwork to do if we wanted to change the name on our house.

    And no, I don't know how much the rent was.

  17. Isn't it funny how things you wouldn't even notice when you're twenty or so, are major bothers once you reach sixty+?

  18. Did you ever find out how much the owner was asking for the property?


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