As we are whiling away our hours in the Berkshires, the wheels of justice are still grinding in France as our house gets closer to becoming our home.
|I love our turny staircase|
The closing is August 5th. We won't be there. Instead, the notaire will sign for us. We got lucky (or skillfully informed) with our notaire who speaks excellent English and laid out all the paperwork the first day we signed the papers, projecting them up onto the wall. He explained to the French sellers that since we were the ones buying the house, we needed to understand our commitment, so he spent a lot of time speaking in English.
Our only job is to send the rest of the money.
That sounds so simple, but it can be tricky.
Our real estate agent told us we could send the money from our American account. Perfect. We don't have a fee if we send from our bank. We do have a fee if we transfer money to or from our French account.
So, as the time drew near this week, I started the process. First, I would add the notaire as a "recipient."
My first challenge was the security at the bank. They wanted to send me a text as a security measure. I definitely understand the need for security, but unfortunately, I'm in the Berkshires. I don't have cell service so I couldn't get a text.
There was a longer option that required the bank to do some investigation and get back to me. I chose that option.
Once I had moved past that stage, I looked at the paper the notaire had given me with their numbers, which did not match the numbers our American bank was asking for -- basically the routing number, but it looks totally different.
I tried various numbers on the paper, nervous about getting them wrong and sending a big chunk of cash to the wrong account.
I emailed our real estate agent. She was no help. She just said she could resend the paper if we needed it.
I emailed the assistant to the notaire who has been emailing regularly. She was no help. She, too, sent a copy of the information with the notaire's bank account for deposits. I already knew that! I had it in my hand.
I was starting to get frustrated.
If there was a branch of our bank in Massachusetts, I would have driven there with the paper in hand. It was one of those situations where talking to someone was going to be better than trying to explain it by email or even by phone. I could point to the paper with the numbers: "Voilá!" and they could say, "Oh, obviously, these numbers go here where it says routing number and these numbers go here where it says account number."
Instead, I called our investment guy who works at the bank. I explained the situation and he said I should send a copy of the paper to Bob. Bob is our "private" banker, but he came to our bank after we had left for France. We're not a high-falutin bank customer, so generally don't get a lot of his time.
I emailed the paper from the notaire to Bob.
Bob responded, an hour or so later, with an email that included Chase's routing number in France.
I didn't need that. I needed him to read and interpret the paper I had sent him. e exchanged a few other emails, but basically he was no help either.
Finally, I decided to send the money to our French bank account. I had already paid the notaire the deposit from our French account and I had already transferred money from the States to our French account. All the scaffolding was in place.
So the money is somewhere in the air between the States and France. Fingers crossed that the strength of the dollar doesn't go down while the money is making its way to France.
But it's not all monetary stress. Since the house will be ours on August 5th, some friends will get the keys, go into the house and pull up the linoleum that covers the tile floor. Then we will know if the tile is in good shape throughout the room.
|I hope the tile is in good shape|
If it is, what on earth color will we paint it, we wondered.
We seem to be drawn to a pale gray for the main floor. The mauve marble fireplace will look good with gray. The bright red floor will look good with gray.
|Fireplace in the living room, or as the Brits call it, lounge. |
We even picked out gray kitchen cabinets to contrast with the white tile floor and the white granite counter top. We've done a mock up of the kitchen, smartly choosing a French Ikea to plan it, since we will need to buy the items in France.
|The kitchen has undergone some modification since this picture. No more peninsula with stools|
The color on the walls may be a pale yellow with a backsplash that includes blue so we can feel Provencal.
|We haven't chosen a tile for the backsplash, but something like this.|
I can't wait until it's done.
What needs to be done before we move in?
The floor in the new kitchen needs to be evened out and tiled. The water heater and central oil heater need to be removed from the kitchen. A toilet needs to be added to the master bathroom. A new water heater (hopefully an on-demand water heater) needs to be installed.
The rest we can live with as we make it ours, and buy furniture. Snooping in old secondhand shops, going to estate sales and moving sales, visiting again and again the Troc in Carcassonne, the one with the gorgeous tables and dressers. We'll need beds and armoires and a couple of new couches. We'll have to get a wood-burning stove installed in the living room and the cosy room which will hopefully help heat the house, along with the electric heaters.
And that doesn't even include the outside chorses that need to be completed, liking painting the sand-colored walls that have a giraffe pattern, or scraping and repainting the railings on the balcony as they loom over like the prow on a ship.
|Our poor house definitely needs some loving. |
But our friend Rod plans to sit up there and watch the world go by, so we better get it fixed up. Plus, we're excited to put some TLC into the house.
If I start thinking about the pile of tasks that lay before us, I might get overwhelmed.
And how soon does it need to get finished?
Well, our youngest son is coming to visit on Oct. 5. So I sure hope it's livable by then.
I'm excited for you to come along on the journey.