Counting down to moving out of our beloved house. 12 more days for us to leave our life in the Parisian region and to start anew in the southeast of France (at least it’s for me since my other half has been there since last year). The house rental agreement has just been signed; the tenants will take over our house two days after our imminent departure.   

Renting out the house is easier than I have expected. I adore my house, but I try to be objective. Perhaps not many people are too wild about tranquility and having a forest in the backyard. The reverse side of the coin means that basic amenities are not easily accessible. I have to admit that I often grumble about the nearest train station being 20 minutes away on foot, and that the walk is not helped by the house being on a slope.

In addition, we were initially a little apprehensive about the rent amount that we put up. It was on the higher end of the estimated rental range provided by the real estate agent. When we first heard about the range, we told ourselves (and subtly to the agents) that the rental price was preposterous. Even the higher end of the range was much less than what we were thinking. After speaking to the agent, we had the impression that the agent considered even the higher end a bit like shooting the moon. Alas, a second opinion also aligned with the estimated range. I guess most property owners are partial to their properties and think that these properties are gold mines; that might be how we feel.

We had the impression that the agent considered even the higher end a bit like shooting the moon.

However, we did have a tangible reason to to back up our belief. The house next door was much smaller and it was rented out earlier this year at a much higher price per square metre. Despite the comparison we gave to the agent, she still kept her stance on the estimated rental price range. She gave us some vague reasons for her estimation and one being that people generally prefer direct access from the veranda to the garden. Since we cannot get to the garden from the veranda but have to exit from the front door, the house value drops. To me, it sounds like a trivial reason. Besides, being a business valuer in my past life, I hold the agent’s estimations with a pinch of salt. 

We were in a dilemma. We only started putting the house on the rental market end of May and planned to move out latest mid July. We wanted to rent the house out as soon as possible as we did not want to have to continue paying the mortgage AND forking out the monthly rent for the flat in Grenoble, like what we have been doing the past year. However, we refused to believe that our house was worth that little. In the end, the agent indulged us by saying that we could try renting out the house based on the higher end of the estimated range for two weeks. If the rental price was reasonable, there would be visits. If there was little interest in that period, we could revise the rent.

It was déjà vu, like what happened earlier this year when we tried to sell the house. We wanted to sell the house and make a clean start in Grenoble. However, we did know that the real estate environment was not favourable and the only way to sell it was at a substantial loss. The agent said that we could put the house for sale in the market at a price we wanted for three months. In the event that there was no bite, we could then rent the house out until a more seller-friendly situation came up. That was what we did: in the market for three months, until May, with two real estate agencies at the same time. We even dropped the asking price once in the hope that the reduced price would attract buyers. Not a bite. We did not wish the unsuccessful outcome to happen again because of wishful rental pricing. 

Fortunately for us, the rental situation was very different from the sale attempt. The house visits started the 31st May and the house was rented out on the 5th visit, in less than two weeks. According to the real estate agent, the couple had a crush, a “coup de coeur” on our lovely house. Finally, someone has taste! We have spent so much money and time on the house  and we have barely started to enjoy the fruits of our labour—figuratively and literally (fruits from our bountiful garden).

Actually, we almost rented out the house on the first week. A couple was interested right after their visit, but they changed their mind after viewing a single-storey house later. The agent revealed that the elderly parents (in their eighties) of the couple would be moving in with them. We surmised that our stairs was a deterrent to the convenience of their elderly parents.

We were rightfully disappointed in the failed rental attempt and I thought I had to continue being subject to inopportune house visits. The agent was fine with me staying in the house during the visits but I would feel uncomfortable. Besides, the visitors might not be at ease either. Hence, I scheduled my runs during these visits. The first couple of visits were fine as they happened on different days. There was once when there were two house visits on the same day. I did a speed workout in the morning, and I knew that I would be too tired to go for another run during the second house visit in the afternoon. So, what I did was to hike in the forest for 45 minutes before returning home. 

Anyway, the fifth and final successful  house visit took place a few days after the failed rental attempt. I don’t not have to suffer from more house intrusions and get to enjoy the last few days in my charming house in peace. So everything is back on track. 

Leave a Reply