LIES DAMN LIES AND ESTATE AGENTS
An insider’s view of the French property market
For over ten years now people in Great Britain have been looking at and buying into the French property market. The principal motivations seem to be price, better quality of life and the “grass is greener” factor, not necessarily in that order. I have worked with a French estate agency for some two and a half years and in that time have formed some ideas on this subject, particularly on the expectations of people looking to buy here, and the sometimes disappointing results.
The first thought that has struck me about clients is “why France?” So many Brits have no knowledge of the country, its history, geography, culture, but then the same applies to many French people. It is not sufficient to want to live somewhere else. I have been doing that all my life and can honestly say that this is the nearest to realising the dream that I have reached, but it is not Utopia, and this must be accepted before you contemplate moving here. There are good things and bad things about living in France, the good outweigh the bad for me, but if you cannot accept the French way of life then you should not be thinking of moving here.
The second important factor in buying here is to rationalize your expectations. If you find the house of your dreams, and I am the one who sells it, I shall be doubly delighted, but on the whole you have to compromise a little; maybe the garden is not quite what you wanted but the house is just the ticket; the house is perfect but it is not detached; the house and garden are fine but it is on a “busy” road. These are some of the objections that have been raised, but just think – can you find the perfect house in the UK for this price?
The third important factor, which I’m afraid does attract the interest, is price. You can buy a Château in this area for a lot less than half a million pounds. A ready to live in house will cost from 100,000 pounds, but the days of the convertible barn which you can buy on your credit card are long gone, and anything remotely habitable will now cost at least 60,000 pounds.
So forget the “House in the Sun” programmes which paint a rosy but out of date picture of today’s market, these are the current prices.