Wednesday, September 09, 2009

An insight into my life....

As you may have gathered my job is to find houses in France for people who live overseas and don't have the time or inclination to risk tackling it themselves or to sift through all the rubbish.

One of my key messages to clients is that I use local knowledge to dig out the gems that they simply wouldn't find by themselves. Yesterday was a prime example of how this can work.

I drove across to Montbron to view a house that I had seen on, it's a private sale as the owner doesn't want to go through an agency (amazingly almost half of all the houses bought & sold in France are still done so privately).

I met the owner at the hotel de ville and off we went to her house in her car. She was a real character and had spent most of her working life as a notaire's clerk in Paris.

I was expecting to go straight to her house but we stopped off on the way to look at a barn she was selling with planning permission and 4 ha's of land. Sadly the two weren't attached but it was just a quick detour and no big problem as the sun was shining and she was good company.

Next we went to her house. Bizarrely this wasn't the property she had advertised either. Terrific property, everything about it was ideal for my clients except the price...she wanted €400,000.

I then asked to see the house she had advertised (not an unfair request I thought), this turned out to be owned by some friends of hers. Off we went again.

Sadly the house was a bit of a pit (I'm being polite here) although the owners were charming and insisted we sit and chat over a coffee. They were fascinated by how I work (they don't have Kirsty & Phil over here) and I explained the brief I have from my clients.

A lightbulb went on over their heads and they said that I had to go with them to see a property belonging to someone they know who is going through a messy divorce. Again, it's not on with any local agents and is just for sale privately.

The owners weren't in but bingo....great location, superb views, good looking house, plenty of barns and only 5 mins from the local school, restaurant etc.

Of course I now need to contact the actual owner and go back to view the inside and check the cadastral plan.

Who knows if it will lead anywhere but I'm 100% convinced that anyone from the UK, USA, Asia etc just couldn't find properties like these without employing someone locally to do it for them.
I'm equally convinced that my fees of 2.75% are more than covered by the amount I help save them when it comes to negotiating a "locals" price.

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