RESTORING a French house has its challenges but what obstacles do you face when considering a new build property?
Former police officer Colin Hewitt, and his wife Sue, are finding out as their new home slowly takes shape on a plot of land just outside Cahors.
“I had been reading French property magazines for years and doing plenty of research into moving to France,” explained Colin.
“And I saw an advert for a company that put you in touch with people selling land and so I approached them and they took us around different plots.
“We chose the plot and you buy it yourself off the owner with the advice of a notaire, whilst the company checked over planning permissions and the like.”
Colin used the services of a French-trained notaire in the UK to look over the papers who said everything was fine.
They had already sold their property in Worthing, southern England, and were staying in Colin’s brother’s house in Spain.
“We sold our UK house to make sure we had the money behind us to pay for the fees and land and then release the cash in stages for the house build,” Colin said.
“But we now have a lot of our belongings in storage as we knew we would have to rent a place in France whilst the house was being built.
“And fortunately when we opened our bank account in Cahors the manger said he knew of a house that was available and he’s been very supportive ever since.”
Colin has the plans for his new three-bedroom house with terrace that looks out across a valley to the town of Cahors beyond.
But what has been a bit of a surprise to Colin and Sue is the speed, or lack of it, for the construction of the house.
“Whereas in Britain you see houses going up in a matter of months, I think we might be waiting for a year or so,” smiled Colin.
“But it will be exactly what we want as you are involved in choosing the different elements, for example, the house has a small tower and that has been changed slightly.
“Originally the house was designed with four bedrooms and a bathroom, we’ve now got three bedrooms, two bathrooms and a chimney, and it wasn’t a problem to do this.”
But Colin sees the advantage of the long, drawn out building process as he agreed a price last year and when the work is completed its value is sure to have risen.
And he also believes that it will be easier to sell to the French if the couple decide to move on.
“The area we have chosen is close to the town if required yet across from us is a chateau and all around us vineyards, we liked it straight away,” said Colin.
“And we are looking forward to exploring the area and the summer is sure to bring a whole new dimension to the place.”