A couple of folks have asked questions about our hope to move house so I thought it would be a good idea to make things as clear as possible in a blog post.
We hope to move house some time in 2015. The timing is important for two reasons:
1) At Easter the tram arrives about 400 yards from our house. Our house will immediately become a very attractive option for getting to the city centre by tram and bus and to the airport and all points south and west by motorway. We might get a better price. We might sell more easily.
2) Catrin exams will finish in June. We really don't want to have a house move before she finished her exams!
Why think of a house move? Well there are three reasons. They're in order of importance:
a. to no longer have a mortgage. We hope to find a flat that we can buy outright.
This is the main purpose of a move. We've now almost completed ten years in France on the same allowances, and we don't expect them to change any time in the future. When we've prayed and consulted the mission, the reply has been clear, to reduce our living costs as the cost of living rises. The biggest step so far was when we stopped running a car (and the feeling of liberation is amazing) The next step is to have no mortgage. We hope that without a mortgage we can make it through to 2024, notionally our retirement year. We're trusting God for the future and planning for the future as we follow his lead.
b. to be more accessible to the centre of Bordeaux.
We love the area where we live and we're very tempted to try and look for a flat around here. However each time we go into Bordeaux we have to allow about 40 minutes. And the vast majority of our work is done in Bordeaux. In the past this house was used for lots of activities. That is no longer the case. So to move further into the centre would make everything easier and make us more accessible.
c. to have somewhere easier and cheaper to maintain
We have a big garden. The house needs lots of work which we don't think we'll be able to do. We have wondered about letting out two rooms to students, but to adapt these rooms - to install little kitchens etc. would cost thousands - in addition to the other things the house needs. And we don't need a house this size any more.
Some folks have said things like "as long as you have enough space to host events". Well it would be nice, but that is not on our list of criteria. The church has moved out of our home. It's time for us to follow.
There is one particular area where we need to be wise.
The centre of Bordeaux has beautiful old houses divided into lovely apartments. I visited one friends' flat the other day and instead of coming down in the lift I walked down the stairs. The flat is lovely. Pristine. But the floor below has serious damp. Old buildings need lots of maintenance on their roofs, etc, and sometimes the management of these old buildings is somewhat lax. People end up suing the owner or the manager of the building to try and get their repairs paid for. We want to avoid spending time on that kind of thing.
Then, all over Bordeaux there are new blocks of flats being built. Some just near our house. They're well insulated, heated well, have low bills and good security etc. But you have to pay a lot extra for the "new".
So the ideal would be a block of flats built perhaps ten or so years ago. Or maybe one of those little houses that have in Bordeaux, if we coud find on in our price range. A friend has suggested that if we buy something that needs renovation we could stay in his flat while the work is done. That's a wonderful offer. We'll see.