I haven’t written about this for a bit, because nothing much was happening. Now, however, it looks like we’re actually going to start real work, at least on the ground floor, next Thursday.
I’m trying to remember if things felt this stressful when we renovated our own home 3 years ago, and although I KNOW we were stressed, I don’t think we felt this crazed.
As things stands, we have been approved by our bank for a loan for about half of the work. We still need copies of the loan documents that were missing some information that they wanted (and which was not clearly marked as being needed) so we can finish processing them and get the lien on the house finalized at the Notaire. Now, things are getting scary, because we wanted THAT money by the end of May so we could start paying people. We did have to take money from our savings to pay deposits to 3 of the artisans and are still waiting for completed invoices from them so we can prove to the bank that we’ve paid.
The ANAH is a bit more complicated. Our file went before the mysterious Commission on April 27th as planned, but was returned to us for further information. Most of it was relatively easy to provide: extra drawings showing the exact layout of the staircase, the ground floor bathroom and the way the cellar was being shared between the apartments.
A new wrinkle was that out of the 4 apartments, 1 has to be allocated as the equivalent of a welfare apartment. We’re not too bothered by this, as it means that the rent will be completely paid by Social Services and also that we’ll receive a higher percentage of money in the grant for that apartment and also for the portion of “common” areas based on the surface of the apartment.
More difficult is the fact that we were told that we would need to provide a 2006 FRENCH tax return for my mother so that she would be eligible to live in the ground floor apartment! Say what? It turns out this all has to do with new laws relating to social and VERY social apartments. We asked if we could provide a translated copy of her U.S. tax return for 2006 and told “no.”
That leaves us with a variety of complicated options, including asking to make that single apartment available for rent to anyone and not take any grant money for it at all. Not a great solution, though, because that will leave us short of funds for all the work.
Luckily, JM, although TOTALLY stressed out over this whole thing, has done an amazing amount of research and phone calling, and it now looks like we SHOULD be able to use her 2006 U.S. tax return. Also, because of her physical situation and the fact that there are no other available ground floor, stairless apartments in Chalabre, that she may qualify as being VERY social and be able to not only live in the apartment, but get it qualified as the VERY social apartment we need in the building. We may still make at least one other unit available as well, though, because we don’t really mind making housing available for someone in need as long as they’re not a serial killer or pyromaniac drug dealer.
We keep telling ourselves that this too shall pass, and that in the long run it’s a good thing. But the truth is that we’ve never seen ourselves as property developers or landlords and seriously worry about whether we’re really cut out for any of it. There are days when we wish we could go back in time and never have started it all to begin with.
The irony here is that one of the reasons we moved to the Possum Kingdom in the first place was because we had a desire to simplify our lives and live debt free. We now find ourselves with a massively complicated life and once again in debt (although well below our mortgage in L.A.), which makes us feel insecure and unhappy.
I suppose the lesson in all of this is to not get too comfortable with your life, because it can all change before you know it.
Ciao for now.