Keeping in touch with friends and family while living on the other side of the world.

Housing search update

Here’s a quick post to just update everyone on our search for housing here in France.

Since we arrived in France last fall, we’ve been living in my in-laws’ house, while they are on furlough for the year.  This has been an incredible blessing, as we’ve been able to have a cheap place to live while job searching and adjusting to life in general.   My in-laws will be returning to France next month, and hope to have their house sold by August, so they can move on to their next ministry several hours south of here.    Guillaume’s new job is about an hour’s drive south-east, so we’ve begun a search for our own housing in that area.   I am glad we started early, because we keep running into hurdles as we figure out the ins and outs of the French housing market.

Our original plan has been to rent an apartment, since we don’t really feel financially stable enough yet to take out a mortgage.   Renting is so simple in America, I guess I assumed it would be similar in France…. but, not so!   I think it has something to do with laws protecting renters from eviction, and also the expense of setting up a rent agreement, but owners are very picky about who can rent their apartments.  Owners require a dossier of documents, and then will review them, and then can refuse you for any number of reasons.   In your dossier you must prove that your net income is 3xs the month rent value (including all charges), that you have a steady job (copy of your work contract), tax documents, and copies of your previous 3 months rent payments.  Also, for all young couples (like us!), rarely will an owner accept a dossier unless we have a co-signer, outside of the immediate family.

So after long searching, we found a little apartment that would suit us, and the owner refused us, because… we have a baby.   Ok, this was pretty unexpected, since there was nothing that said children weren’t allowed.  But the realtor said, Oh yes- You will have a hard time finding a place to rent within your budget, because owners think your small family will outgrow the small apartment and you will move out soon.  Well, of course!  In my mind, renting isn’t a permanent situation.  We want to rent for a year or so, until we are settled and ready to buy a house.    And I definitely don’t want to rent a huge apartment just for a year, as that’s less money we’re saving for a future house.

So, since no one will rent a small apartment to us for just a year, our next step is actually applying to buy an apartment, as the mortgage will be significantly lower than a home mortgage.   Hopefully there will not be so many time-consuming, difficult steps in buying as there is in renting.   We only have 2 months to move, after wasting 2 months chasing dead ends.    Please keep us in your prayers as we keep searching for a place to live.  It has been quite frustrating, but if God wants us to stay in France, He will continue to provide for us as He has so far!

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