During the last month I have experienced what it means to have your patience tested. I am the kind of person that likes to get on with things. In generally it goes like this – I make a decision and I want to act on it straight away. Consequently I find it hard when I have to wait; actually I hate it when I have to wait!
I am also someone who dislikes it when I get to hear the well known phrase: ‘leave a message and we will ring you back’. As a matter of fact I never act on that invitation. I prefer to ring again and see if I can get hold of the person I want to speak to. I kind of think this is a result of no-one ever ringing back. To my opinion it’s nothing more than an empty promise.
Buying a house in France is very much about waiting that extra bit longer. We made an offer on a house in Limoux, Aude in the second week of July. If this was in Australia we would have exchanged in the second week of August or in other words 30 days later.
Thirty days is the normal time it takes from the day you have your offer agreed to the day you exchange contracts unless you negotiate a longer settlement. When the second week of August arrived we still did not know whether we actually had a deal or not. Fortunately in the last week we seem to have got some progress.
Contracts, deposits and exchange rates
First of all the ‘Compromis de Vente’ has finally been signed by both parties. This means that the seller is locked in. We still have 7 days ‘cooling off’ period. We are now waiting to receive this contract.
We also had to pay a deposit. Another interesting process as we have to pay a deposit in Euros while our money is in Australian dollars.
Our experience is that it is definitely worthwhile to compare bank exchange rates with other companies such as foreign exchange brokers who deal with large scale money exchanges. Our bank would only charge thirty dollars for the actual exchange but you get the exchange rate they offer on the day.
After a bit of research we found a broker that could change Aussie dollars in Euros for a much better rate. In fact it made a difference of A$400 on our deposit. Imagine the difference on the whole amount – I probably could furnish the whole house from the difference.
Exchanging money requires a bit of creativity as it is hard to open up a bank account in France if you are not a resident. You can open an account as a non-resident but then it is hard to change that later to a resident account. Our Australian bank offers a foreign exchange account where you can dump money whenever you want. However you get the exchange rate they offer.
We also found out that not many people in the bank actually know much about these accounts. I got the feeling we caused a bit of stress amongst certain staff members. If we want to use foreign exchange brokers to change an amount it is hard to decide where to leave the money until the contracts exchange. Stupid little facts that you don’t really think about when buying a property abroad.
Autumn in Limoux
As we apparently have a deal now I have booked a flight to France. A bit later than expected and it seems I am going to experience autumn weather in Limoux. Some people recommended me to return in the winter to find out what it is like.
Well I am more or less going to do that and I will move into a house without heating. It shouldn’t be a big deal as many houses in Brisbane and Sydney do not have heaters. We are used to rugging up, wear all our winter cloths in the house and off course wear Ugg boots.
And the latter will definitely come with me…..
I can’t wait!