Would you buy a house to renovate in France if you lived in Australia? If you’re Peter and Helen you’d not only buy it, you’d buy it without seeing it. It’s not as foolhardy as it sounds, in fact it isn’t foolhardy at all. They already owned a house in Montlaur so they knew the village. They had seen the outside of the house and liked it. They’ve been renovating houses in Australia for years.
Peter’s going to join me on the blog – as soon as we work out the
technical issues – and he’ll have lots of details about the process of
renovating a house in the Aude. First, the story in a nutshell.
In February Peter and Helen bought a village house in Montlaur, in the Corbieres, with the intention of fixing it up and using it as a vacation home. In our walks around the village we had all admired a small house across the ‘river’ from the church.
"Dream house" is for sale
In March I got a call from a woman asking me if I was interested in listing the house. It belonged to her sister who was in a nursing home. I added the house to the AFP website and thought that it was a shame that Peter and Helen had already bought. A while later the phone rang. "What’s my house doing for sale on your site?" Of course it was Peter. After many photos, floorplans, and negotiations, they bought the house.
They’d already done their homework
They knew the area, they knew the village. They knew that a village house is a village house. They knew my definition of ‘needs some updating’.
What they bought
This is the original listing information from AFP:
Yes, it’s habitable. Not very up to date but everything works. A bargain. The 3 bedroom house with two courts and an 80m2 stone stable on three levels still to convert.
This is a sweet stone built house. It’s about 90m2 habitable, hard to calculate actually because part of the house is in the middle floor of the stable. There’s a bridge-like passage on the first floor between the two buildings.
The lot is 185 m2 and – because the ‘river’ used to be a street – is sort of landlocked. You get to it from a small passage. It’s charming – and quirky. And has a lot of potential.
On the main floor there’s a kitchen with a traditional fireplace and a sejour that is being used as a bedroom, and a bathroom.
The first floor has three bedrooms and the passage to the stable – one of the bedrooms is actually on the first floor of the stable.
It’s a very difficult house to describe, you really have to see it. Soon. I can’t imagine that it will be on the market long at this price.
It’s a good solid house but will need some updating.