How much does it cost to furnish a house in France?
Lucky for us, we caught the SOLDE sales in France, and saved about 35-50% on all our household goods.
Instead of buying the best deal, or the lowest price, we tried to get the best value for our dollar, buying higher quality items to get some even bigger savings and checking out floor or display models. For instance, a couch with a pullout bed runs around 1000 Euros. This has ordinary fabric, a standard mattress, which comes brand new out of the box. We were pointed in the direction of a ‘seconds’ place, a company that buys display models or slightly damaged goods from Carrefour, Fly, IKEA, Comforama, and But. Located on the road that runs through Argilers, behind the electronic store, tucked in a house with no inside walls, next to the owners residents. Each week he receives a new shipment. We had dozens to choose from, convertible pullouts with foam mattresses, click clacks, futons, and regular sofas; small, big and bigger. We scooped up our grey ultra suede pullout couch with a proper mattress with springs for 289 Euros, exactly like the one in Fly for 1000 Euros! Great deal!
A huge communication error when buying our house from the previous owner, who forgot to tell us she rescinded on her word, leaving us in the 11th hour, without proper bedding or lighting or curtains our first night in the house. A word to the wise, do not take one’s word for it when buying a home in France. And a message for the former owner, “You are only as good as your word in this world.” I actually feel sorry for her.
How it happened was we bought the house with furnishings, we had a list in hand of the items she was leaving us, and she brought our buying price up to accommodate her ‘generosity’. When we picked up the keys, however, there was no curtains or rods on the windows, the lights were pulled out of their sockets, the old charming chairs promised were gone, the storage unit in the bathroom had also been taken, the dryer missing, the wood we paid cash for, was 1/2 missing or used up, as well as dozens of other items on the list we negotiated before hand. The people, who know me, can imagine how shocked I was. I truly believe people are good, and every time I find they are not, I just don’t understand it.
The lesson learned, things that are too good to be true, usually are. She was kind enough to leave dishes, beds for the kids, a dresser, a big piece of furniture in our room, an outside table and chair set and other miscellaneous items. I found it strange because the items she took were not expensive, but more a start up for us so we didn’t have to run around before we were settled. If she told us she wasn’t leaving them, we would have gone out and bought everything we need before hand, and had them stored at our rental on Rue Gambetta.
Our friends Francoise and Mallory came by with make shift beds in hand for a night on the floor in front of the wood-burning fireplace. They comforted me, assuring me that it is not a standard in France to go back on your word.
The next morning, Mallory came car in hand, and took the situation in her very capable hands! She took me round to the best places, we price compared and by the end of the day we had made a huge dent in the ‘to do’. 1500Euros and all the beds, mattresses, wardrobe – mops and buckets ?. The folks at But threw in a van delivery for free, and trimmed off a few bucks for volume! Thank-you Loli for your excellent service!
Mallory fearlessly endured my mad man driving, trying to get back within the hour free time restraint! We did it and had a good laugh in the huge 2.8-meter high van. My first time driving since Canada!
The boys, Alfonz and our realtor friend John hooked up the laundry, and worked on buying tools and all the man stuff from Bricolage, France’s version of Home Depot. The next day we had to drop John back at the airport, so we hit IKEA. Boy did we hit IKEA!! 1600Euros later, our Westfalia van was stuffed to the brim with: pots and pans, sheets, comforters, pillows, desks for the kids, table and chairs for the dining room, dishes, towels, pretty much all the bits! Mallory and I saw a table and chair set for outside the day before reduced from 600 Euros to 278 Euros.
Alfonz, the kids and I went back for the chair set, also ran around shopping for laundry baskets, gardening tools, food but when we got to the sale item we came for, someone had bought and was wheeling the set on a gurney in front of our eyes! NO!!! I was upset but we decided to stop in at Comforama, it is next to Auchan, and guess what!! The same table, the nice people there reduced it for us, not to match Auchan but beat their price by 40Euros!! I love SOLDE sales.
Alfonz got home and set up the kid’s rooms complete as I settled in to making my first meal in the house, Hungarian Goulash, a few cold plates of cheese and sandwich meats, cut up fresh bread, bowls of chips for the kids, and drinks cold in the fridge.
Alfonz set up the coat rack for the entranceway, in preparation for our lunchtime guests. We invited our friends to have a look at the new house, an informal peek, with lunch, for the few people that have treated us so nicely over the last 3 months, our first 3 months in France.
It was a happy day for me, a full circle filling the void of company in my own home.
Thanks to everyone that joined us on Sunday!
From start to finish our total was 5000Euros to set up house in the South of France. Not bad at all!
I think honesty is the best policy, and if Madame had no intent on leaving the items for us, then why offer at all. Personally, I think after she said it, and happily too, then someone talked her out of it, and talked her in to screwing us over. Maybe someone close to her, that may not like foreigners, maybe they said wait I want free things, give them to me, and they are sitting in that person’s garage collecting dust, to make a point. “It is not done like that in ‘France’!
Oh well we learned a few things, and I don’t believe she was the norm. In fact the people we have met in Capestang are among the kindest most generous I have ever met in the world.
We cannot let one bad apple spoil the bunch or in this case a bad experience spoil the journey 🙂
such a bummer when things like this happen… i don’t like it too when people aren’t too clear with their negotiations and then you’ll just see the loopholes once the deal is final. but so glad u were able to buy a few furniture up on sale. i’m starting to collect a few pieces for our house as well 🙂
Yes Eva, we had the same thing happen to us when we took over our house at rue Gambetta – it was in fact unfurnished when I viewed it but when we came to move in 80% of the wall lights had gone.
I complained bitterly to the seller but he just said that it was the normal practice.
So it meant a quick trip to Conforama, then getting a terrific electrical shock paring the wires with a stanley knife when I thought I had isolated the circuit but the current still came through. It didn’t help standing barefooted on that stone staircase either.
I turned the electricity off at the mains to complete the job.
Normally, I would put items in the contract, I took the Real Estate course at UBC and this wasn’t my first purchase, but I wanted to have faith, and the little old lady, she seemed innocent to bad behaviour. (Note to self: bad people grow old, frail and cute too.)
Truth, she did us a favour, we now have the few items we like, her stuff would have been swopped out either way. It would have bought time, something we are lacking with so much going on. We just didn’t have time to put up curtains, organize the bathroom or even find the storage until that fits. More inconvenient.
Thanks! Luck we need, in an hour!
Talk soon Jeremy!! 🙂
Overall, not a bad price to furnish your home! However, what she did was wrong. I tend to be more pessimistic about these things so I would have wanted it in the contract when the house was sold that these items would be included. Maybe I should trust people more in deals like this but my business nature takes over! 🙂
Good luck with the house and can’t wait to see the show on House Hunters International! Hope you feel better for the filming!
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