Saturday, November 9, 2013

The Older the Better

After our sunset-gazing gavort last evening, D-L and I were moseying back home to our two places when she stopped at the window of an immoblier (real estate agent). Typically they display in their sidewalk window dozens of properties for sale or rent in Argeles-sur-mer and nearby towns.

We have talked semi-seriously on occasion about buying a place together. This is the first time we've gone beyond window-shopping and sat down with an agent to investigate details of specific properties. (Probably the first time an agent has come out on the street to introduce himself - nice young man.)
The window signs do not provide an address, so you cannot go around and check out a place for sale without the agent - unless you happen to recognize the place from the photos and maybe know the present owner.

As the agent was scrolling us through the website, presenting details of various properties in the village (we would only consider being in/near centreville), I noticed the dates of when the houses were built ... or believed to be built. A couple of listings stated 1900. One said 1800.

Much too new, for my taste. Knowing that some of the current buildings in ASM date to the 15th century and before, the older the better. I want something built to last - not some 'new' construction that's only been standing a mere hundred years or so!

Bit of a turnaround from when I lived in Dallas and periodically built new houses from the floorplan up. On the rare times I considered a 'used' house, the criteria was nothing more than 5 years old (for resale value because in Dallas they are constantly putting up massive new developments, so buyers compare your house with what they can get brand-new).

Having lived in Europe for awhile now (not just visited and stayed in a hotel but actual day-to-day living where you get a good idea of what you like and don't), I prefer such things as stone walls, exposed wood ceiling beams, rooftop terraces with room to entertain and a view of the mountains (or at least a balcony), two separate working spaces for two busy writers, a double-wide shower (a rarity, to be sure), a guest bedroom (or 'snore room,' as we've tagged it when there are no guests), a well-equipped kitchen for all the cooking I plan to learn to do, ground floor access (as we get older and more feeble) ... all within walking distance to the twice-a-week marche and shops & restaurants in the village ... and maybe a 10-15 minute stroll to the beach.
We may never buy a property - the current upstairs/downstairs setup we have is pretty pleasant and functional. But it's fun to think about and explore the possibilities.

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