We are currently looking for a house with land for our dogs. We are looking near the Caen / Saint Malo area or within a two hour drive.
We are struggling a bit with french estate agents can anyone suggest a good estate agent as some of what we are asking for gets lost in translation .
If your French isn’t good enough, you should think very seriously about committing to purchasing property in France.
Sorry to have to tell you this, but I have met many Brits who have regretted the decision and a change of mind can often be financially and emotionally costly.
French house prices don’t change rapidly. Why not rent for a year and learn to find your way around. You will make a much better decision with a bit of local knowledge.
May I add that, despite some Agents speaking English… there is a real need for the Buyer NOT to sign any French document until the Buyer is sure said document really does say what the English-speaking Agent is promising it says. the Agent is there to Sell and is not working for the Buyer !!!
Recently had a very bad experience with the local Leggett Agency (not that this means all Leggetts are tarred with the same brush… but be careful.)
You will also discover that properties are also sold by the local Notaire, where foreigners don’t often look, so you could get a good deal. You are going to have to go to him for the legal transfer anyway.
Our experience of buying two places in France is that you have to work to get a professional estate agent to take you seriously (not a junior sakes rep on commission who will waste your time with pointless suggestions). Quite possibly they have had too much experience of people from UK looking and then not finally buying.
So saying within an hour or two’s drive from St Malo is not very encouraging for someone to put their time in. Failing renting for a while, I would do some research to narrow down your search area and then look for agents specific to that area. Also set out your buying power clearly, ie cash or mortgage, whether it depends on another sale, etc. And if a loan need to get something lined up.
You are more likely to be successful if you approach an agent or notaire in the area (s) you are interested with a clear statement of what kind of buyers you are, and what you are offering. And then your core criteria. Being vague will not inspire confidence.
Also be aware that french estate agents have a very different approach to email. Basically they are much less useful than phone calls. Another difference is that commission rates are higher here, so a few good sales a year can be enough for some agents so they are not as hungry as the UK equivalents who will bite your hand off if you so much as loiter by their window.
Oh, and if your french is not good then deepl or google is your friend, pre-translate everything.
He guided us through purchase of our property in La Manche (Sourdeval 50150) equidistant from Caen and St Malo i.e. 50km from each, and in a beautiful part of Lower Normandy rich in culture and very verdant.
You might also consult the on-line version of France’s most popular regional Weekly newspaper “La Manche Libre”. It has a very comprehensive Small Ads supplement offering lots of properties for sale and to rent across the Cotentin peninsula, the Normandy Bocage, and the coasts as far as and including Mont St Michel and its Baie. Plus a great deal of regional and local news in a special supplement, to get a flavour of the la vie quotedienne.
A lovely part of France to settle in, and the friendliest people imaginable.
It sounds rather as if you want an estate agent tp act as a property finder, but that’s not what most of them do. An estate agent can only offer you what they happen to have on their books. I live near Caen but the estate agents here don’t advertise property in Caen itself. Anybody selling a house in Caen isn’t going to place it with an estate agent in a little town 20km away.
Why not look online eg leboncoin or ouestfrance and pick out some properties that tick your boxes and follow them up. If you limit yourself to a shortlist of recommended estate agents, no matter how good they are, you’re going to bypass a lot of properties that might suit you. I suspect estate agents are all pretty much of a muchness but even the best estate agent is no good if your perfect property is for sale through a rival.
We are already registered and have so far had 3 trips. I was trying to find out either where the good estate agents are or where the local people advertise their property for sale.
I was told by an English estate agent that the average time is about 2 years to sell a house in France. So you can imagine the if the house is empty for the 2 years the photos of the house then and now are completely different , we have seen a few houses that actually do not resemble the house in the photos at all.
I thought this forum would be a useful place to start. As some of you would have had experience of finding houses in France .
We have already registered with notaries and viewed houses with them . One took us to a house she didn’t have the keys for , so when we got to the house we could see the garage or the side shed , because the vendor had not given her the keys.
It is very difficult buying a house from such a distance and any positive help would be appreciated .