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Goodby to the Dordogne?

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My parents had a house built as inexpensively as possible in the Dordogne in 1972. A very young architect who became a close family friend designed this non-traditional house which has hardly been changed: http://www.flickr.com/photos/mksfca/sets/72157634639799122/show/with/9306644090/. It turned out that the house survived without damage the storm of New Year’s Eve 2000 and the recent egg-sized hail that damaged all the traditional tile roofs in the area.

I inherited the house and used it a few weeks every summer since 2000, but we finally decided that it was time to sell. Our daughter’s spouse is Spanish and is very close to her family, so the chances of them taking care of the house in France were slim. Moreover, managing the house from a distance is very difficult or very expensive. We were able to do it because we acquired friends by devolution who would look after the house; but that can’t last as they are older than we are.

This June we considered two realtors to represent us. One looked at it, was clearly taken aback by the type of house, and suggested an asking price of 70,000€. The other, who is Dutch, looked at the house and said immediately that he could sell it, and suggested a price of 185,000€. We thought that 175,000€ might be a good price. Yesterday we received a straight cash offer by a Belgian architect but for 74% of the asking price, and the rapidity of the offer is somewhat of a shock. We figured that it would take 1 to 3 years for the house to sell. Now come the negotiations, and the paper work, and a probable unplanned trip to France, and consulting with a tax expert who can tell us about our U.S. liability (we have none in France).

It will be a big change in our annual European vacation.

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