A quick update for today – The head of the realty agency has hit the ceiling over this, and we all have a meeting with the Herbignac mayor on Monday. It turns out that the office of the mairie (town hall, essentially) is behind our disaster – Our buyer himself was willing to go through with the purchase, but the mairie pressured him to back out because apparently he owns a great deal of property in this area and there were politics involved. With Herbignac booming and our shop a prime commercial spot, they feared this fellow gaining such a central location and quashed the sale. They may believe it was just any other business deal, a bit of political jockeying for power, and have no idea how much they have hurt us in the process.

Either that, or they knew how much this would hurt us, and purposefully waited until it was likely the house would be lost to foreclosure, so they could snap it up cheaply for the town government to own. I realize a lot of people may believe this too cynical or paranoid, but that’s the shape of my experiences with French officialdom.

I guess we will find out something Monday in our face-to-face with the mayor. We get to spend the weekend with our lives hanging in the balance, oh joy, though truly I have absolutely no hope that this will be sorted to our advantage. That simply is not any part of our experience here. We will probably be lucky if we don’t leave France in Indiana Jones style, with me clinging to the retracting wheels of our airplane as petty bureaucrats hurled sharpened pencils and attestations at us.


Trever-T · April 5, 2009 at 12:24 pm

Yes, I am aware of the above. The mairie forfeited their option to purchase the house directly a month ago, and we have an official attestation from them waiving their option to purchase the house themselves.

Anonymous · April 4, 2009 at 9:03 pm

The town halls in France have a legal right of first refusal on all real estate sales in certain areas (essentially everywhere). This is standard procedure.

The procedure is as follows:
– seller and buyer sign an agreement at a notary’s office
– the notary is required by law to inform the town hall of the seller’s intention to sell
– the town hall has 2 months time to use their right to buy the property in place of the initial buyer
– if the town hall decide to buy, they can buy at the price agreed between buyer and seller in the agreement or offer a lower price. If they propose a lower price and the seller refuses, they will refer the matter to the court. The court then sets (within 8 days) a date for the judge to visit the real estate. After his visit, the judge will set the price in a court order. His decision can be appealed.
– once an agreement is reached or final court order has been given, the town hall has 6 months time to pay.

Pharaohfitz · April 4, 2009 at 2:23 pm

I feel for your plight. It looks like greed is not limited to Wall Street or American banks [sic]. All the more reason to call our debt paid to France for their help during our revolution – they aren’t speaking German but seem to be able to burn Hotels in a puerile fashion from what I can tell in the news…truly the bastion of culture for the World….

Anonymous · April 3, 2009 at 8:08 pm

Hi Trev,
my thoughts got a little bit unsorted when I read your two last posts tonight, but now you got mail – so please read there.

Do not feel alone.
Good luck, good advice and good company for your meeting with the mayor!


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