French Estate Agents help!

Are they ignoring me because I’m English (I’m not - I’m from ireland but I live in the UK just now) or because I’m foreign, or because they don’t do email?

I'm house hunting - for a rental property in the Tarn. I've emailed probably 50+ immobiliers and not had a single reply... My french is hopeless - So I've emailed in goggle translated french...

I've actually found a fantastic property but can't make contact.

I wondered if I'm doing this all wrong...

many thanks for any advice - I'm thinking i need a fluent speaker to call on my behalf?


eating snow in sussex


Lee just wanted to say thanks for your advice. We’ve rented a fabulous holiday let for six months… Down from £2000 a month to £500. Cash up front is always a good bargaining tool - you were completely right.

Marion thank you. I realised I was going about it all wrong! We've now a rented a great place via a holiday lets website, and bargained them down from £2k a month to £500 - amazing what six months rent up front can get you... We figure once we're in situ we can follow all the advice like yours and go banging on doors. Many thanks


Hi Teresa

I think you'll find that they just don't have enough time to contact you... most agents are now independent and work from home which means that they effectively spend most of their time chasing new properties, showing properties etc and never get chance to catch up on emails. Phone is better although still difficult if they are out of the "office"...

I can only suggest that you try another method which cuts out the agents altogether...

You can try office des locataires which you pay an introduction fee and they give you listing of all available properties and details of the owners so you can contact them directly.

Or look on sites like where owners advertise directly.

Local newspapers also often have owner-direct ads.

I understand that if you're not confident about your french you may not want to do this directly...

Do you have anyone over here who can make calls for you?

If I can help in any way let me know.


Yes, thank you clive. I have looked at both your sites. As i’ve said in previous posts we have to be near Castres. So, erm, while you have lovely properties all over the place, I’m not sure a 3 hour commute will work! best, teresa

good idea. i will ring them… so used to Not using the phone here (as i’m at work and not actually working!) I’m near horsham, west sussex. nice, but we have itchy feet

It might be worth ringing them in case they’ve got some new ones in that haven’t been added yet. They were very helpful when I used them. Snow!..Just cold rain here…Where abouts are you in Sussex, I’ve got a cousin in Brightling?

thank you sarah - tis not a pile of useless crap as your marvellous advice will no doubt prove useful in the future... it's just not much help as i sit here in sussex!

off to check out your rental advice. and thanks - i rarely give up...



i did check this one wendy. i’d actually seen it already (dammit) - i’ve mailed one possibility, as i’m getting a bit twitchy about it all now. and on a lighter note my little chien will be so happy - it’s snowing again!

Ahh, just realised that you’re not living in France! So my previous reply is a useless pile of crap! I found my current rental place through and the house is totally brilliant. Good luck. Sxxx

Hi Teresa, I've been looking for a house to buy for a few months & at the start that's exactly what happened to us. The problem is that immobiliers want to get you in the office, face to face. They don't want to send you details of anything by email because, in the case of properties for sale, they are afraid you'll go direct to the owner and cut them out of the deal. The reason they think this is that unlike the UK they charge huge fees - often E7k or more, so they know that it's in both your interest and the owner's to cut them out and arrange a private sale. With a private sale you only pay the notaires fees & stamp duty. I imagine that it's exactly the same with renting a property. Only way to go is to just march straight in and make a rendez-vous. That way you'll get to see everything they have and they'll be very nice to you coz they want your cash! Or check out the notaires instead. They are generally less salesy and more business-like.

Don't give up!



Hi again Teresa,
Ref the £2k per month, you might be surprised what you can get them down to.
Before negotiations fell through, I was a whisker away from securing a property which was charging well over £1k per week for £15k per annum. A bereavement on their side led to complications in right of ownership, apparently.
Shame the Lot property wasn’t more local for you.
Yep, nice to touch base.

By the way, re photo...don't eat the yellow snow!


thanks Lee and good luck with your search! I have seen the Owners Direct site (if that's what you mean) and if i have £2k a month to spend i'd be laughing...

I need to be within 40 mins drive of Castres, so i think your friedn place may be too far. Anyway, nice to touch base

best, teresa

thanks. I’ll mail you direct. I agree - there’s room for a website / business doing this. now all I have to do is 1. move to france. 2. learn french!

Wendy the Angel!

Thanks so much for the advice Tom… I’m getting the “it’s not you” vibe from all the replies here!

We had same problem when we moved here a few years ago. Nobody wanted to know. In the end we got help from a fluent French speaker whomade us some viewing appointments. Even then a lot ofthe property they advertised was not available.It was difficult because we had no earnings record in France and it seemed to be too much like hard work for them to arrange a caution. Everything we did got caught up in the French trail of beaurocracy. In the end we took what we could get and started looking for something better when we got here, at least we could view quickly. If you want to know anything it may have happened to us,so maybe we can help. You know the saying about been there and back, got the T shirt to prove it.