TRAVEL with pat and lew

doing our homework

Posted by Lew Weinstein on February 22, 2007

As in much of our marriage, we share the tasks. Pat went to the internet and started searching for property, and I went to Barnes & Noble where I bought a book by David Hampshire called Buying a Home in France 2005.

Hampshire’s book, which has well organized chapters on every aspect of the buying process (including the legal process, mortgages, taxes, insurance, renting, and selling), made it clear that it would be possible for us to buy a home in France, and also pointed out many pitfalls to avoid. We were encouraged, but also a little nervous with our long “issues to consider” and “to do” lists.

Meanwhile, Pat had made progress learning about Collioure and the neighboring towns. We decided to take a three week trip to Collioure, with the express objective of looking for a property to purchase. Pat began to explore home exchange possibilities in Collioure.

“Can we really do this?” was a question we repeatedly asked ourselves during the early stage of our adventure. We overcame our anxieties and kept moving forward.

Unable to make a home exchange, we arranged two rentals, via the internet, to cover the three weeks in Collioure. One of these was with an American woman named Kristina, living in Belgium, who had just purchased her apartment.

When Pat corresponded with Kristina by email, she mentioned that we were interested in looking at property to buy. Kristina recommended her Collioure realtor, a man named Sam who spoke English. Pat began an email correspondence with Sam and soon accumulated a list of properties in Collioure and the neighboring towns of Port Vendres and Banyuls.

The next step was to prepare financially for a prospective purchase. We had done well on the appreciation of our Ocean City condo, and so had purchased our Key West home with a relatively small mortgage. The appreciation of the Key West home in the first year we owned it was astounding, and we took advantage of that to arrange a home equity line of credit.

If we found a property in our price range, we could now buy it for cash, thus avoiding a French mortgage and some of the accompanying complications that David Hampshire had warned of.                             

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