Monday, 31 October 2011

Buying a house in France, the easy way.

This is it! After many years of doubts and hesitation and visiting every summer, you’ve taken the plunge and made the decision. You will finally be buying a house in France. Most of you probably think that this is the hardest part of the process, having decided to leave family and friends behind and go through such an upheaval. Well think again! You now need to find the dream home and deal with real estate agencies in France.  
A typical experience at a French “Agent Immobilier” can leave you feeling exhausted!  Having seen a house within your budget that you believe meets your criteria in the window of the agency, you will have to go in and ask where the house is located because somehow that crucial information is missing from the details on show. Simple enough request, you may think, but not in France.

French estate agents will not reveal the location of a property to you unless you have signed a “bon de visite” which is a declaration that you have been given details of the property by a specific agency and that should you decide to buy it at a later stage, you will buy it through that same agency. The reason behind this is that private sales are so common in France that estate agents are worried that once you know the location of a property you will go knocking on the vendors’ door and agree a private sale with them, bypassing the estate agent completely and avoiding paying their fees.

Therefore, every time you see a house which looks like it could be the one you will have to go into the agency and register with them. Each agency will take your details and ask you for a description of the type of property you’re after. They will then show you their listing book and you will have to arrange an appointment to go view properties. The whole process is quite lengthy and boring and most of the time you will end up looking at houses that do not meet your requirements or at the same house more than once, because in France properties for sale tend to be listed with many agencies. If you can’t find the house of your dreams, you’ll have to start the process all over again. What a waste of time! There must be an easier way, I hear you say.
Well, yes there is. If you are looking for a property in Southern Dordogne around Bergerac and South of the Dordogne River, you could employ a dedicated buyer’s agent like me or in other areas in France one of my colleagues at French Entrée. Click here to see a list of the areas covered.

As independent search consultants who work exclusively for you, we have access to private sales and notaires’ listings. We are very familiar with many of the estate agents and their listings and know of properties that have not yet been listed anywhere. We will find the best houses in the area you are interested in, preview them for you to ensure that there are no surprises and then arrange a suitable viewing itinerary and accompany you on all visits. We then help negotiate the best possible price for your purchase. So why not check out our website here or contact us directly to see if we can assist you in the process of finding your dream property in France.

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Are estate agents really your friends?

I am a property finder, otherwise known as a buyer’s agent. My professional purpose and only aim is to represent clients from around the world in finding and buying French properties - especially gîtes, châteaux, vineyards, restored farmhouses, villas with pools in the beautiful Southern Dordogne and Northern Lot et Garonne areas of France - at the best possible price. I live in that region and wish to share it with all of you out there, who enjoy and want to live an uncomplicated and healthier life style in the sun.

I strongly believe that it is now time for homebuyers to attain the same level of representation that property sellers have benefited from for years. American, Australian and Canadian buyers are already converted. It is part of the process in those countries to use a buyer’s agent. After all, you are likely to use professionals to sell your property and deal with your conveyancing, so why not get the experts on your side in searching for and buying property as well.

In the last few years, purchasers have been led to believe that the many estate agents who now offer a property finding service are on their side. Now, there is no doubt that they will be very nice and helpful to them to some extent, but at the end of the day, buyers should not forget that estate agents work for the seller, not them, and are ethically and contractually obliged to represent their seller’s best interests and to get the maximum price for their property! 

I think all would be purchasers using this free service should ask themselves - who pays the selling agents fees? If it is not them, then they represent the best interests of someone else, not theirs. They can also be sure that not only will they not get objective advice about the property that they are buying nor will they see a truly representative selection of the properties for sale in the area. After all, estate agents certainly won’t show you any of the houses being sold privately in the area!

People who want an expert and professional adviser on their side employ buyer’s agents. We only work for the buyer and our only aim is to ensure our clients get to see only the properties meeting their needs and requirements, at the best possible price. A personalised property finding service covers all aspect of a home buying process – from finding the right property (searching the whole market, including private sales and notaires’ listings) using local knowledge and language skills, to negotiating the best possible price.

I do sometimes get enquiries from purchasers who once they realise that my service is not free just walk away, and yet for less than half of an estate agent’s commission they could get a personalised and unbiased dedicated property professional on their side, that would help them enjoy the whole experience of purchasing their dream home. I wish I could convince them that this service, will save them time and money and the stressful experience of spending the next year or so of their lives flying back and forth using their precious holidays to visit properties seen on the internet that will turn out to be completely wrong for them.

I wish I could convince them!  But then again perhaps I just have .........

See the service I offer at: