Many people hunting for homes in Languedoc-Roussillon, south France use the services of an estate agent, but far fewer know how to get the most from their agency of choice. Here are some guidelines to help you get the very best property information, help and advice from an agent, before you even set foot in France.
Give the Languedoc estate agent as much precise info as you can. If three bedrooms and disabled access are essential, say so.
Cover off the minimums: size, and number of bedrooms.
Make sure you’ve covered the deal-breakers with your estate agent, i.e. anything so important that you couldn’t buy a property without it (e.g. a garden for your dogs, a boulangerie within walking distance).
Save the wish-list for later. You’ll need to compromise at some stage, believe me. Whittering on about “a swimming pool would be nice” or “I’d love to look out over vineyards” is going to get up agents’ noses. Pools can be put in. Vineyard views are nice, but are neither here nor there.
Tell your Languedoc estate agent where you want to look, but keep the search area tight. A whole department is way too big; a 50 kilometre radius is about as far as most agents will cover, and some work across much smaller areas.
Be honest, and realistic, about your budget. Tell them your maximum, and don’t even think of inflating your figures “just to see what they’ve got.” It’s a waste of time – theirs, and yours.
Specify to your Languedoc estate agent the condition of property you’re looking for, and be realistic about what you could cope with (there’s no point saying you “wouldn’t mind renovating a wreck” if you don’t know one end of a hammer from another).
Don’t be promiscuous. By which I mean, don’t deal with too many estate agents in any one area of Languedoc. They won’t appreciate it, and certainly won’t put much time or effort into helping you if you’re seeing every Tom, Dick and Henri in town. Think of it like dating: three partners on the go at one time is probably quite enough.
If you are two-timing, at least be honest about it. Tell each party about other appointments you have and which other agents you are seeing, to avoid embarrassing overlaps. French estate agents don’t tend to have exclusive deals on properties, so there’s a good chance you’ll get shown the same place twice if you work with more than one agent (oops!), unless you’re honest from the start.
Put your money where your mouth is. Don’t even dream of contacting a Languedoc estate agent unless you have your finances ready. Asking about specific properties and then announcing that you have to sell your UK home to raise the cash is a big no-no.