So the decision had been made. After 7 years we had decided that we could not carry on in the same way both financially and emotionally. So the “a vendre” sign was up.
Of course, as was our luck at the time, when did this happen? Yes right at the heart of the global economic collapse. So did it affect us, you bet it did. The Chateau was valued at 100k Euros below what we bought it for 7 years ago. And even at that price we were advised to drop it a further 100k Euros to get interest in it. We could not afford to do that as it would not even clear the outstanding mortgage owed on it. So we put it on at a price we could just about manage to walk away from it and clear any existing debts for it.
Even at this price we had very few viewings, and no serious offers, the main issues being with the size of it, from a management view, or the history of flooding it has… Of course the annoying part of that is the fact that the flooding risk had now been resolved, but we still had to declare the past problems.
To add to our woes, Jane had decided to return to the UK to be closer to her Grandchildren, which left David on his own to see the seasons through. We will admit we had serious concerns that David would not be able to cope with this on his own, but he reassured us he would have help at hand and would not let us down. He is still good to his word to this very day. We cannot thank him enough.
So it was that we were in a strange position of having to push the rentals while secretly wishing it would sell quickly. Believing that as we were selling it as an on-going business, then any rental agreements would be honoured by the new owners. We were not in a position to stop trading while it sold.
2 years on and with the Euro-zone crisis having deepened, the global recovery having stalled, and the dreaded ‘double dip recession’ biting hard, it was time to yet again look at our options. It was clear that the only way we were likely to sell was to drop the price to un-manageable levels. And then see if we could cover the shortfall by re-mortgaging our UK home. This in reality was not an option, with the UK now in deep recession again and no lending being given out. So we had to come up with another Plan B.
After going out in June 2012 to open up for the forthcoming season, and finding so much work that had to be done, we decided it was time to work out a plan to move. Again we were looking for new managers to see us through 2012. We were not sure David would be able to see the season through due to several health issues, although he did assure us again that he would not let us down. While searching for a back up plan for management possibilities, we were introduced to a couple that ‘had a plan’.
We have always thought that things would be so much easier if we lived on site permanently. Getting ready for the season could be done over several months, not squeezed into 5 days. A broken tile in the roof could be fixed there and then, not left for several months to do untold damage inside, any problems would be sorted before they escalated into major tasks. We could improve the quality of what we offer, as we would be there to ensure it is cared for properly. And all those big jobs we really want to do but cannot do in the 5 days we generally get there at the book-ends of each season, could be done over the winter months.
What has always stopped us was the frightening aspect of losing all our known income. Becoming totally reliant on rental income to pay the bills and to keep us alive. In the current climate is not a given that the clients will continue to come. So we needed something tangible to give us a potentially different revenue stream. What are we good at? Running holiday homes, we have been doing it for 7 years now…. So when the chance pops up to do this stuff for other owners, do we take it. ?
We have a ‘cunning plan’, will it all fall into place? Well this is still unanswered.
What we can say is that we have done the U-turn. We have taken Le Chateau off the market. We have put our UK home up for sale, and we are in the process of preparing for the big move.
As far as this Blog is concerned we are now in real-time. We are still waiting for an offer on the UK home, have had some of viewings, but due to market conditions have had top drop the price, but the maths do still add up to make this all possible, albeit a bit too close to the line for our liking…
We are de-cluttering, and have just re-launched the house sale with a new agent. So fingers crossed everyone we will have some good news to publish very soon.
We are off to Le chateau next week to close it down for the season, and hopefully have a few days relaxing. I think we have earned it. Hopefully it will be the last ‘visit’ over there. Our next trip will be for good.. Dog and All.
We can then look forward to our trips to the UK.. And more importantly look forward to welcoming all our wonderful guests in person.
Please comment on our Blog if you like it.
We intend to keep this going in a more Chronological fashion so we can keep in touch and report on our progress.
Our very best wishes.
Janine and Tony xxx
and Junior…woof woof