Please tell us a bit about yourself and your company
I have been in residential estate agency for over 20 years. I began in London in 1989 and moved to Pezenas in 2001. Languedoc Property Finders specialise in helping British buyers and sellers buy and sell property in the Languedoc region of France. We currently have offices in Pezenas and Narbonne and operate in and around those two areas. I believe that buying a property abroad should be fun. An adventure if you like, and we work hard to make the journey as enjoyable and stress free as it should be for both buyer and seller.What has the property market been like this year?
This year has been an interesting one. Numbers of buyers are down but the buyers that are around are tending to be serious about buying. The difficulty is finding correctly priced properties for these serious buyers to buy. To put it simply, if you present a serious buyer with a correctly priced property then they will buy it. Too many sellers are basing their selling prices on “What they want for their property” or “What they need to sell for in order to buy what they want”. This is an unrealistic approach. I may need to sell my Ford Focus for €100,000 in order to buy the Ferrari I want but we all know that is never going to happen. Estate agents are also failing to educate their sellers by way of feedback. It is all too common for sellers to only hear from their selling agents when they have a viewing to arrange. Sellers should expect a regular update from their agents in addition to feedback after every single viewing so that they can build up a true picture of what the market thinks of their house.
What do you expect to happen to the market in 2014? Are there any "hotspots" to look out for?
I think that 2014 could see an increase in activity in the market. Indicators such as very good sales results for certain high quality new developments in the Languedoc and general talk amongst European buyers and sellers lead me to believe that 2014 could well be better than 2013. I think that geographical areas such as Pezenas will always be popular. You only need to look at the statistics for annual sunshine along this part of the coast to see why, but a thriving communications network (9 airports within just over two hour’s drive) and a “Real south of France” feel to the area continues to give buyers plenty of reasons to concentrate on this area.
What are the major challenges faced by expats looking to buy?
Finding estate agents who will actually listen to what they are looking for. This business is certainly not about selling, it is about matching buyer to property, much like a dating agency. If estate agents would listen to what the buyer wants and then really try to think of properties they have that could be suitable then the process for both buyer and seller would be a lot more efficient and a lot more enjoyable. As it is it tends to be a very frustrating process for buyers which is a shame. The other challenge for buyers is one of area. Buyers should try to narrow down their area of search as much as possible in order to be able to zero in on property values in that area so they can start to build up their own picture of real property values. Buyers who search in too wide an area are often left feeling rather lost as types of properties and their values can differ enormously from one département to another. My advice is to find a town that you like and concentrate your efforts in a suitable radius around that town.
What advice would you give to expats going through the buying process?
Try to find estate agents that you feel are really listening to what it is you’re looking for and forget the rest and don’t judge the value of a property by how much you can knock off the asking price. Some properties need to come down a lot in price in order to reach their true value, whereas others are correctly priced and will sell for that price or very close to it. Everybody wants to get a “Deal” but if your dream property is priced correctly and your offer is rejected, pay the price rather than lose the property.
Can you be contacted for further information?
I can be contacted by phone on 00 33 467 00 11 71 or email email@example.com. Our properties for sale can be seen at www.languedocpropertyfinders.com by clicking on the orange “Click here to see our properties for sale” link.