Budgets and reports and a big leap of faith

We signed the deal and pushed the button leaving us 10 days of final reflection.

It turned out late in the events, that the septic tanks had quite a few remarks in a report we hadn’t seen. There were no further investigations, which left us with no idea about the costs of getting them up to standards. Septic tanks are an often discussed issue when doing real estate deals down here – of course because of their important function, but also because the laws has been changed recently, so when selling a house the new owners are obliged to bring the septic tanks up to higher norms than before and it can be a costly affair. Which is why we have had to pull the break and take it slowly and be sure of what we’re getting ourselves into. We had signed the papers but when the severance of the issue occurred to us, and we were told that it is normally the seller taking care of this, we had to draw a line and were ready to leave the deal if a compromise couldn’t be found. It demanded a tough conversation with the seller’s real estate agent in a voice I have never used in Denmark. I suppose it’s good to get familiar with the French temper.

All this has been very tiresome and made our moods and energy swing from top to bottom the past two weeks. Both hoping for the deal to go through but at the same time being ready to leave the deal, if we can’t find a suitable compromise in terms of economy and responsibility. Now it seems to be landed very well. The seller has ordered a report that says what has to be done and the price of it. We hope to have it Monday or Tuesday and will then be able to take a final decision and go on as planned if it’s not too costly, find a compromise between seller and buyer or our last resort, turn down the deal because it’s too expensive. Which is really not what we want to do, but we also have to be sensible about our budget and the time it will take to build up a clientele big enough to fill the place.

These days we have been warned severely about how difficult it is to make a business around here. The high season is of course good but sometimes short, so the big challenge will be to attract customers in the remaining 6-7 months. Our wise neighbor/landlord who’s had a restaurant in Seillans for 25 years says that it will take at least two and probably three years to build a reputation and clientele. Therefore we need to budget with quite a buffer for our living costs and of course unforeseen expenses, so that we are able to survive if there are not enough customers the first years. We keep going back to our budgets to check if it will stick and we still don’t have specific offers to count in. We were advised to see an accountant and let him go through the numbers. So we went to see our neighbors skilled accountant the other day. He was very positive about our plans and the placement of the house. He started showing us his favorite places around Provence and Avignon and how good it looked on Trip advisor and talked about how important good photos are. Not really his metier I was thinking, but I love the enthusiasm.

After pushing the button today, we’re entering the cooling off period, which means that both buyer and seller has signed the deal, but the buyer now has 10 days to withdraw from the deal without any explanations, whereas the seller has no possibility of regret and is obliged to sell (pew!).

We look forward to a full clarification Monday the 19th of November.

See you on the other side.

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