Friday, October 19, 2012

A day in the life, or a life in the day....

When I meet new people the two questions that I'm most often asked are "What's it like living in France" and "What do you do for a living"?

I thought that I'd try and answer both questions in a single post by taking you through a typical day (if there is such a thing).

Morning - up early and in the office to answer emails that came in through the night (I'm trying to get a business off the ground with some brokers in Florida and they are six hours behind and tend to mail me in the wee small hours) and to plan my day.

Quick break at 8.10am as it's my turn for the school run and I pack assorted children - some mine - into the car and weave my way through the tractors and grape pickers.

Then it's off to Cognac and environs for some house viewings.  I'm mandated by some UK clients who are looking for a mill or waterside property and I have three properties to see this morning.  Two are hopeless but one could well make the shortlist.

Time for lunch and I stay in Cognac and make an unannounced visit to one of my favourite agents - he happens to be free so we grab a quick "plat de jour" on the main square.  Place Francois Premiere in the centre of Cognac is always full of tourists and today is no exception.  It's also good to see that the hotel on the square has opened again after the refurbishment.  You can get a feel of how good it looks now by seeing it here.

Afternoon - back to the office after lunch to call a notaire.  I have clients buying a house with three lakes - unfortunately the state only has knowledge of one of them so the red tape has become somewhat entangled.  The upshot is that my clients will rent the property for a few months while the paperwork is sorted - not ideal for either party and a potential minefield but probably the best solution.

Then it's on to a new experience for me.  I have clients in Dubai who have been looking to buy a house I found for them at auction.  It's proving difficult as the lawyer handling the sale wasn't too pleased to give us access to see it in the first place (and only did so because I kicked up a fuss) and now doesn't want to let a surveyor in to give his opinion until the official viewing programme starts.  As this is just a few days before the auction itself it doesn't leave much time for making decisions and arranging finance.

I speak to surveyor, avocat and huissier (who has the keys) and wonder why I ever came to this country with it's archaic property processes!

The end of the day is spent working with some of my colleagues in the FrenchEntrée Property Finders network.  This is a collection of buying agents spread across France and I'm a part owner in the business which follows my business model of acting exclusively for the buyer.

The guys at Brittany Gems have just tied up a really nice purchase for some clients and Stephen calls to update me.  He's thrilled - but not as delighted as his client who thanks him for "the most amazing support, you have achieved the practically impossible, given my dream list".

That's pretty much it for the day but I just have time to press "send" on my latest article to the editor of FrenchEntrée magazine.  Hope you like it Justin!


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