Property for sale...what do others think?

Just had an update in my mail from French Entree, along with some featured properties.

It occured to me that when someone is advertising a property of over 1 million euros why do they not take the time/ or money to pay a professional to have photos taken ?

After all, for me at any rate, I don’t need to see their furniture or a table laid for dinner. The important thing is the location, how much land, how many rooms, how they are laid out in relation to the rest of the house, kitchen, bathroom etc;

Frankly I’m not impressed to see a terrace with a table and an oilcloth laid on it!

Am I being nitpicking or do you think that the way some properties are advertised is a bit hit and miss ?

When we bought our first flat in France we were amazed at the lack of preparation people had made for the viewings…dirty clothes on the floor, washing up not done, that sort of thing. Ok we were a long way away from a million budget but even selling something modest i was surprised at the lack of effort.

And photos were very poor. I agree I’m not interested in seeing their cutlery, but photos are useful to give an idea of light, ceiling height, physical condition and so on. So good photos are obviously more helpful but even bad ones tell you something.


A picture is worth a thousand words !

I belong to a FB page where properties are for sale at 50,000 maximum, I joined because I was helping a friend to try and find a place.

Some of the photos show a lack of care, IMO if someone can’t be bothered to have a tidy up at least for the sale, then it shows a lack of respect and even neglect.

My lovely farmhouse was ‘sold’ initially by the photos and description I displayed. It attracted a buyer from the USA who fell in love with the key features.

On his initial visit, he had 3 properties to view, he remarked that the property was even better than the photos. That’s why I cannot understand why someone wouldn’t make a real effort to show what a lovely home they have/or how much potential there is !

We were lucky when we bought our house. We viewed because it had flat land and parking. We knew it needed work before viewing.
What wasn’t shown was the spectacular view. At that time there was a Scots lady working for the agent in Cluny because Brits were buying.
She hadn’t really looked at our property, but when we made an appointment she came out and contacted others.
Fortunately, we were first and immediately made an appointment for a second viewing as we had promised to see others as well.
After the second viewing we went back to the office and had an offer accepted.
So, lack of marketing worked for us.
Obviously, we were meant to live here.
We find our little area attracts really nice people and we have been made extremely welcome.


We viewed across France… and, like Jane Jones… we saw houses where beds were left unmade, clothes strewn all over… general chaos.

On one occasion, I did ask the Agent if the Sellers were actually expecting our visit… explaining that I thought we had caught them on the hop. Huh, she said… we are selling houses not a way of life…

Mmmm…ok, we accepted that this was obviously part of the Gallic charm…:thinking: but never felt 100% happy about the houses themselves…

We later found our present home, by chance, through the internet. Only one glorious photo of the frontage , but we discussed over the phone what lay behind which window, so that we could figure out the rooms and what would/might work. (the price was suspiciously low against the wow photo)

The Agent advised us to visit soon as “someone from Paris is visiting next week and will surely snap it up”… mmm… no one pushes me… so I said… Oh well, if it is not meant to be… so be it. Whereupon the chap said… why not fly out and look, it is well worth the money. Nuff said… we came, we saw, we bought it.

(and, yes, there really was a lady waiting in the wings… she bought another empty property and became quite a good friend)

It was amazing how differently houses were presented.
One house being sold by a Brit plumber had all the radiators sawn off.
I think many Brits were astounded by the amount of wallpaper used on doors and ceilings and ‘french’ brown paint.
Our house was neat and tidy, but Christiane’s home is tidy now. We have lunch regularly with two other friends.

I occasionally watch a programme on M6, maison/appartment a vendre.

Basically it’s someone who has a property for sale and hasn’t had many visits or any offers, in some cases for a year or more.

An ‘expert’ in selling is called in to visit, even he is dumfounded sometimes at the state of the properties, peeling paper, holes in ceilings, dirty showers and kitchens, clothes piled in heaps, untended gardens, rusty gates …

He always advises, firstly tidy up the outside to attract people, clear all the clutter to show room proportions, repair defects, get rid of unsightly wallpaper, etc; etc;.

He brings in a decorator, she gives her ideas of how to change ‘unproductive areas’ , create better living areas etc;
The makeover then takes place and the result is (mostly) astounding.

Well worth a watch …

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Given the quality of photos in some listings I’m given to wonder whether they “sell” the house or just hang around until a buyer shows up. The “lack of effort” was something we often commented on when looking for a property.

The mistake, I think, is to apply a British psyche to the French, the property market runs to a different rhythm altogether in the two countries.

We managed to secure the deal despite being beaten to an offer because the vendor would not budge on price (to be fair he’d dropped the asking price by almost 10k€ about 2 weeks previously).

Rather bizarrely we got a knock on the door the day we arrived for this visit, just after the sweep had left. A French lady was standing there explaining she was the one who had almost bought the house and wanted to know what we’d done with it - I confess I was a bit taken aback by the visit and muttered only a few words about a lick of paint and a new kitchen (as ever I struggle with conversations in French which doesn’t help).

Is that sort of thing common in France?

My French ‘partner’ has lived in his house for over 25 years, I saw the photos of how it was, berk!

Some 8 years or so ago there was a knock on the door and it was the previous owner, she explained that she was in the area and was curious to see what had been done with the place.
He was so dumfounded that he let her look, she was totally amazed at the transfomation and many oh la la’s later went merrily on her way.

I do pass my old house once in a while but I would never dream of knocking on the door to see what the current owners have done to it !

I’ve been watching that these past few months. Found it by accident and I really enjoy it. There were about 4 of them on back to back last weekend. It always amazes me how small and unpleasant most of the bathrooms are!

My current favourite is Météo à la carte on France3 everyday about 13h.

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Yep, folk do bang on the door… we’ve made lots of friends like that… Solange was the “hopeful” buyer… and, over the years, there have been folk who had lived in the property at some stage…The oldest was a chap in his 80’s who was born here . We arranged a reunion for him and the village folk who had grown up with him… wonderful experience.

This is one ad I saw. Unbelievable!

The people who I bought my house from came back to look at what I’d done to itvabout 10 years after I bought it. They approached my neighbour, he asked me if they could visit. Their initial reaction was unexpected; they said, it’s so big. It was the same layout as when they had sold it.
If I had relied on photos of immaculate interiors I would not have viewed my house and what a tragedy that would have been.

Fair comment David… we were looking to buy “bricks and mortar” not underwear and rubbish… but it was not easy to inspect the property… and their disinterest was obvious. They simply laughed off all queries about fissures, roofing etc… which did nothing to encourage us. A decent discussion and a proper inspection would have sold any of those properties, I reckon…

and it should be noted that all the properties we inspected had been on the market for some years…

Our home sat empty and for sale… for 8 years… was considered/inspected by the Commune and almost every person in the area… but it took the mad-English to take on the challenge… so I am glad that the other properties were marketed so badly/poorly by those Sellers… or we would have missed out on this little treasure. :slight_smile:

Christiane, from whom we bought the house, has brought her children and grandchildren to see how we have ‘saved’ her house.


Clear to see why

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We were not looking for a challenge (although we did subsequently buy one)…we wanted something we could holiday in without too much being done… and it was simply impossible to imagine/investigate in the midst of such chaos.

We viewed around 30 houses when we came here. Some of the interiors were similar to those pictured above. I think the idea is that you see beyond the clutter and ghastly decoration…not easy though.
When we viewed the house we eventually bought we were told not go in the garden as it was completely overgrown. It was, and was only used as the dogs toilet…yuk. There was also a large field which couldn’t even be seen. We ignored them, looked at it’s potential, bought the house and it’s now a very productive garden.


Being able to see the potential through someone else’s mess is a useful skill, and in the UK might well net you a bargain.

But it seems to be a required skill in France :slight_smile:

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We bought a house in the uk once that had potential. It wasn’t really a bargain and came with the additional bonus of some holes in the walls. Probably explained why we had slugs roaming free downstairs. Ok till you tread on one with bare feet…