We dream of France
Having just retired, my husband wants to buy a big house in France and do it up, so that it will be a lovely holiday home for our grandchildren when they arrive. We both love projects, and properties in France are very cheap at the moment, but what do you or your readers think? M Travers, by email
I’ve often thought of buying a house in France and practically every day I thank my lucky stars I never did it. First, you may find you’re never able to sell it – at the moment, it’s an incredibly bad investment. Then who’s to say you’re going to have grandchildren? And if you do, why do you think they’ll want to come to you every year? You may find yourself rattling around in winter in a freezing half-ruin you can’t afford to finish restoring, surrounded by grumpy French builders, and unable to sell it to return to the UK. You’re indulging in a fantasy – imagining little bilingual grandchildren who’ll never grow up, prancing through the lavender in the sunshine while you and your family quaff cider in the olive groves (I fear I may have got my regions mixed up, but you get the drift). If you’re very lucky, this might be true for a couple of weeks a year – but then what?