We Moved Back After a Year: Case Studies
When Anne and Terry Bartlett, 62 and 63 respectively, sold their three bedroom house in west London to move to France, they never imagined that they would be back in the UK within a year.
Having dreamed about retiring to the South of France for many years, it came as a real surprise for them to realise that they were not really suited to a life in the sun.
Anne told us, “Terry and I had worked hard all our lives to be able to retire to France. We were both employed at a local book printers – me as an accounts assistant and Terry in the binding department – and had worked there for many years. We would always spend our holidays at campsites in the South of France and talked about how we would love to move there one day.”
Early RetirementDuring a quiet economic time, both Anne and Terry were offered early retirement, meaning that they would be able to move a couple of years earlier than they had planned. They were ecstatic and put their home on the market straight away.
Ann continued, “As we had been dreaming about moving to France for so long, it was almost as though we were acting on autopilot. We contacted the estate agent and got the house on the market and arranged to go over to France to look at some houses there.”
Anne and Terry have two children, both of whom are in their thirties with children of their own. They enjoyed seeing their three young grandchildren as often as possible, as all of them lived locally and had yet to start school.
Anne explained, “We thought that our children would spend as much holiday time with us as possible, so we looked at houses that had at least one spare bedroom and some outside space. We wanted to make sure that we were near an airport and we gave strict instructions to our French estate agent.”
Moving QuicklyWithin two months, Anne and Terry had sold their west London property and were in the final stages of completing on their dream home in France.
Anne told us, “We had found a three bedroom house with a garden, all newly renovated and in a village with a bakery, bar, shop and restaurant. It was perfect!”
They knew all about the problems that some people had in buying homes that needed renovation and then running out of money doing them up, or people having problems with the language or cultural differences. Anne and Terry could both speak good French and took an intensive course before they moved and, having bought a new property with a ten year maintenance guarantee, knew there was to be no problems on that score.
Missing the FamilyWhat they didn’t account for, though, was homesickness. Anne told us, “The first two months were fine – it was like being on an extended holiday – but then it just hit me how far away we were from our children and grandchildren. New rules were brought in so that children couldn’t be taken out of school terms for holidays and both our children and their partners were so busy that they only visited once for a weekend. We missed the every day life of being with our families and we couldn’t see it changing for years – and we weren’t getting any younger – so we decided to sell up and come back.”
Luckily, the Bartlett’s were able to make a profit on their French home. They bought a small flat near to their daughter and were able to buy a French apartment in a nearby holiday location. “Now we’ve got the best of both worlds,” Anne says, “although it caused us a lot of heartache to find it!”