We are living in the Millevaches PNR area of Limousin and have been over here since July 2017 (renting) after selling our renovated property in Charente for a decent profit to fellow Brits. We are looking to buy in the Millevaches Parc area as we love the rugged empty landscapes over this way. Anyway we want to buy a property that is a project (full renovation or refresh) and we would like large attached land (1 to 3 hectares) and a secluded non hamlet location. We thought it would be very easy to find, however our search has been a struggle and the local French agents have not been very helpful. We have been shown all sorts of properties that do not really meet our criteria and I get the feeling the agencies are just chasing a quick sale. Anyway we decided to look for absolute wrecks in the landscape and then try and trace the owners through the relevant mairie. This plan didn’t go very well in that it is often impossible to trace the owners or they just don’t want to sell as they would rather hang onto a ruin? We have put search notices in supermarkets, notice boards, Leboncoin etc and have had a few replies. We now prefer to buy privately to avoid agency fees and have in the last year found two properties we really want to buy.
What has been the problem is that dealing with French vendors they seem to have completely unrealistic ideas of the value of their properties. We almost bought a moulin in Creuse last year and had agreed a sale with the owner verbally. This property was habitable but needed plenty of work, although it did have a conforming fosse (unusual). Originally the moulin was up for a ridiculous price of €220,000 and then the vendor dropped it to €175,000. We offered our max offer of €130k which he eventually verbally accepted. We had nothing in writing and then a few days later got an email to say he had received a higher offer of €150k which he had accepted. This was nearly 12 months ago. Last night on Leboncoin I saw the moulin advertised by the same vendor. I contacted him and it seems after complications the other buyer disappeared. They have said they will now not accept less than €150k plus notaires fees. So we have given up on that!!
Just before Xmas we found other place (owner contacted us) which we really love but the house is a bit of a wreck (part renovation) and attic has not been converted so only one level. No insulation; no fosse; possibly new roof needed; source water only. Lovely location, land and potential but loads to do. Anyway we didn’t know the price before viewing but expected it to be around the €100k mark. So the owner has said he wants €150k + notaires (seems to be a magic figure), which the property is clearly not worth. We have shown the photos to a few English agents who work here and they have said €90-100k is realistic.
We don’t think the owner will go for this, but clearly we don’t want to overpay for a property given the work needed on it.
Just wondered if people have any advice on how to negotiate with French vendors? Should we go in really low? Is it a waste of time? We don’t want to offend him and burn our bridges. In our experience here most secondhand stuff sold by French vendors carries a high price (against its realistic value), whether that is at vide greniers, Leboncoin and anything from electrical goods to cars to houses. The French valuation of many properties just seems like speculation to us, almost a game? Some of the valuations seem bonkers to us?
We need to be canny and find a sensibly priced property to give us enough budget to properly renovate. A British friend of ours here recently bought a four bedroom, largish hamlet house with adjacent garden from a British seller. Originally priced at €138k, he dropped the price to €99k and she got it for €67k!!
We have a very good French friend (albeit an ex city girl - Paris) and she has said that for most of the privately advertised properties we have viewed that the French owners are delusional when it comes to their valuations. She has even said many agency properties carry a silly price.
Any thoughts peeps?