We have been living in France for 15 years, 5 years ago we decided it was time to return back to the UK and spend more time with the Grand-children.
We put our house on the market (Dec 14) and since then we have perhaps had a handful of viewings each year, we have reduced the price by nearly 50,000€, we have gone exclusive with an agent, we have signed with multiple agents. Tried an advert in LeBonCoin, didn’t even get a request for more info. We are at our wits end.
We have asked each agent what can we do, and they say nothing
I have even tried contacting newspapers in the UK, no luck.
We use the property as a B&B, and have been able to survive on the income for the last 12 years, which is a bonus.
If anyone has any wonderful ideas, please let me know.
Do you have a link to an advert? As perhaps some objective eyes might help to identify real selling points you have overlooked, or negative things that perhaps could be addressed. Might also help in working out your target audience that it might appeal to most so you can push hard in that direction.
As generally if a place is priced correctly it should sell in 5 years if nothing awful is wrong…
Maybe look at Dutch market rather than UK or French?
Have you tried rightmove? You don’t need to be an agent to advertise. Here’s a link. I’ve not used it to sell property so no idea if it is effective or not.
And I’ve just checked zoopla and they have overseas property as well.
Here is a link to the local estate agent we are using.
Any comments, bad or good, gratefully received.
Thank you for replying. The agents that we are using and have used, all advertise on many various platforms, including Rightmove and Zoopla.
Oh well. I guess it was worth mentioning.
Very beautiful house and looks to be well presented. It’s a shame that French agents don’t tend to do floor plans as that may help especially with the British market.
The only other idea I have is to find some Facebook groups that advertise French property. I follow this one just out of curiosity but I know there are others for more expensive property. Might be worth searching for some appropriate ones.
Sorry I couldn’t be more help.
Just found this one with a very quick search. I’m sure there are others.
Thank you for your help! I don’t actually use Facebook, but I know people who do that can look for me! My daughter-in-law did try and do a posting on her page, but to no avail.
As you have suggested, perhaps I should be a bit less scared and search a bit further.
You’re very welcome. I hope you get a sale soon.
Also, I have changed the heading of your post to make it more specific. Hopefully more people will click on it.
As Mandy says, a lovely house and seems a correct price. I think the issue is that there is huge competition as there are literally hundreds of properties for sale within quite a small area. And just in your patch over a dozen of roughly the same type.
So somehow you need to get your head out of the water so you stand out. Please don’t be offended if I put my super-critical hat…
First off, from the agent’s description I really don’t have any idea what it is. A family home, an existing profitable business, a potential business, a development project? Is it one house or two? Decide what market you think is most likely and major on that in your core description, with a lesser reference to the other potential it has.
As Mandy also says a floor plan would help, as would more photos. With 6 beds and 4 baths it’s odd only to see one of each.
And although the photos are perfectly fine compared to the general standard of french estate agent sites you could do a lot better if you dressed the rooms and got smarter photos. And if you want to attract french people ditch the union jack in the kitchen! (And the water bottles and other stuff on the floor)
I’m afraid the impression I got was of quite a bit of clutter, lots of small pictures dotted about, and cosy but not stylish. It made it hard to imagine it as my own house and it didn’t feel spacious. If you look at some of the UK agents’ sites they are really quite impressive now.
For example, the room with the TV is essentially a photo of a big TV. But it looks as if there’s a wood stove? Could you rearrange the room to display a family room, centred on a stove not a TV, that looks warm and inviting? The bigger dining room needs huge bunches of flowers or something to make it feel festive and not like a corridor below some stairs. Etc, etc. Those pictures are the thing that will make people contact the estate agent so they really have to grab people! And do a floor plan and get a photo of it. You can always put together your own website with loads more photos that could be linked to estate agents site.
Also, I spent a minute of two with Mr Google and came up with these people - perhaps worth contacting to ask about how best to market to dutch people?
Please don’t be offended…you did say you wanted people to be tough!
On the whole I would agree with Jane, especially that, for a French agent, the photos are quite good and the fact that you need to pick a market and sell to that, you also need to work out how to distinguish yourself if there are lots of similar properties for sale in your area at a similar price…
The following remarks are entirely personal and I’m a quirky sod so possibly some would not be things which would bother others.
On a general note the photos are oversaturated which I find mildly off putting, the inside shots are also clearly taken with a camera with a very short focal length lens. This might not have been deliberate since many phones and tablets have such lenses and it has the advantage of making the spaces look bigger - but once you recognise the effect you come away thinking “that’s a small room trying to look big”.
The strongest photos are the outside shot through the trees, the pool and the dining room (but get rid of that dimplex heater in front of the fireplace). The weakest are the kitchen and the bathroom - both cluttered and hard to get a sense of what the room is like. I think you might have to consider a refresh of both these rooms to get a buyer. Judging by other photos on the estate agent’s sites glossy units are still à la mode en France.
Hi @Anna_Sharratt some of the photos are excellent but there are 3 of them that I am struggling with:
Why include the chemical barrel and hose?
It seems odd to include all of the water bottles, dirty mug, open oil bottle etc in the photo.
There are 10 dining room chairs in the photo, way too many and an electric fire in front of the wood burner - makes me wonder just how cold it gets.
You are trying to sell the dream of living in South of France.
Every room/view should look completely perfect
This is absolutely nit picking as I think it looks stunning.
We sold our house in UK recently in a ridiculously short time but I have to say the photos and staging performed of each room was absolutely stunning and made it look far better than it was in reality. I am not taking credit for this as it was the hard work of a photographer recommended to me.
I would be tempted to add bouquets of flowers in each room and consider setting the tables - sell the dream!
I would be tempted to consider floor plans, video and drone video - unusual for France but you do want to stand out.
Pretty much. I’d add the bathroom, as above. The shower dominates, but not in a good way as there is either wear or dirt visible on the bottom of the door and the clothes rail in the corner is just clutter.
Also (and I know you said this was not the only agent) the agent’s logo right in the middle of each photo is annoying.
This is yours as well I think?
I’m afraid I would not give it a 2nd look at the price on that set of photos.
Having looked at your selling agents online description of the house I am left wondering about the following:
How is the house orientated in respect of the road ? There is no photo to show this.
Was the house really built in 1850 ?
The area of the terrace is stated as being 1 square metre ! Surely this cannot be correct.
Many of the tile floors have rugs on them, so presumably the floors are very cold under foot ?
Judging by the way the trees in the orchard seem to be leaning, it must be a very exposed and windy location ?
The electric heater in front of the wood burning stove tends to indicate that perhaps there is some sort of problem with using the latter ?
Why are the other bedrooms and bathrooms not shown ? Is there something wrong with them ?
The surround around the pool seems to be rather overgrown with vegetation from looking at the photo. Is there a pool security fence ? No pool safety compliance is mentioned in the advert.
To be honest, the questions that the advert creates in my mind would probably cause me to skip to the next advert if I was thinking of spending that kind of money.
Perhaps engaging a professional photographer, and tidying the place up a bit before the photos are taken would help your cause. (Remove the drying rack leaning against the wall in the bathroom. It’s presence tells me that there is no tumble dryer facility.)
The quality of the photos will be highly important, and people will draw conclusions from what they see, including incorrect ones. For example, all those water bottles on the kitchen floor are saying to me that there is a lack of cupboard space in which to store them, and that the tap water is undrinkable !
Sorry if I seem overly critical, but you did ask for honest opinions.
Drop the price to one that is just above the lowest you will take, advertise privately in the UK (French Property News perhaps), emphasise the property has been successfully run as a b&b (appeals to another market) and just bear in mind that with £/E exchange now in your favour you will be taking more money back to the UK than you were a year ago.
Wow!! We are overwhelmed by the effort you have made to try and help us, thank you!
We are contacting our main agent today and going to let her read your comments. We are not estate agents so when they say everything is OK, we assume everything is OK!
Thank you all again!
Anna and Peter
P.S. Does anyone want to buy an house
Oh, and an extra thought looking again at the photos others have highlighted. If you were going to spend a bit of money sprucing up the house I’d look at some of the central light fittings. The one in the dining room is too small to be at that height, and probably a bit too small anyway. Same with others, there are a bit fusty apart from kitchen. And light fittings stand out in photos.
Anna, just to give you hope. We put our property on with French Property, just before Christmas last year and we sold 3 months later. A friend, an excellent photographer, took masses of pictures from all angles & we did a floor plan using the website that all the UK agents use, (they do a free trial). We kept the house immaculate & de-personalised all room, didn’t ‘set dress’ any room as we find it very fake and off putting, but that’s a personal thing! We made sure we had a huge number of extra photo’s & info’ for anyone requesting more, plus answered every enquiry within 2 /3 hours of getting them. We had enquiries and viewings from all over Europe and after Christmas/January we were having at least 1 viewing per week but more often we had 3/4. So do persevere and as others have said, clear out your daily living & de-clutter a bit, you have a lovely property so fingers crossed you sell soon, don’t loose heart.
As far as the pictures, I would love to see more long shots to get a better picture of what the interior looks like. All the shots seem to be close-ups, but sometimes it’s not easy to get everything into the picture.
It does look like a nice house.
De clutter. Kitchen worktops should only have the bare minimum plus a big bowl of fruit, preferably lemons or oranges as they look best. Get all that stuff off floor. If there is a window over kitchen sink it needs to be in photo.
Lose the rug in the bathroom and change the toilet seat to a white one. Lose the airer.
Move the radiator away from the woodburner and have woodburner lit in photo. Put flowers or fruit on dining table.
Bedroom needs accent colours and cushions on bed. Rugs are boring, change them or lose them.
Could you move bed. A double bed should be accessible on both sides.
You’re pool looks amazing but the summer house is obscured by a Bush.
You’re selling a dream. You need to buy an interior design magazine and look at presentation.
I’m going to be brutally honest, I haven’t even read your description because based on photos and price I wouldn’t even view your home.
For less than a €1000 you could transform it.