At first glance, the job of a property finder may seem quite straightforward – the clue is in the name, you have to find a property; this in itself is actually the easy part – due to living in the area, knowing every corner of the region, and having a good understanding of the local market and how the agents and private sellers work. However, at closer inspection the role of a property finder is a lot more complicated than that.
My clients are not just asking me to find them a property, they are asking me to find them a home, which is much more delicate and which usually leads to finding them a new life altogether. Get this wrong, and you will have unhappy clients on your hands!
The key to a successful search is getting to know your clients and building a relationship. This can be over a period of several months, via emails and telephone conversations. It may just start out with giving them some information on the area or about property prices, then sending them my newsletter to keep them in the loop.
Then suddenly, one day I will receive an email to say “We are finally in a position to move to France and need your help”. Buying a property in a foreign country is a huge step – whether it be a holiday home or a permanent move – and a decision not to be taken lightly. Sometimes I receive requests from people who have not actually visited the area, but say they want to buy a property here because they know that prices are lower than many areas in France; they know its famous wines, and know it is renowned for its beautiful countryside. In this instance, I prefer that they do not hire me straight away but come for a holiday if possible to experience for themselves what Southern Burgundy has to offer in terms of lifestyle and property. This also gives them an opportunity to meet me in person to discuss their search in detail.
However, if I get a request from someone who knows the area, I know that just from talking to them over the phone I can find out everything I need to know to complete the search, because we have a common ground to work from. It is always interesting to see how a client’s requirements can change during our conversations, because one of my main roles is to ask questions that perhaps they have not thought about. The most revealing is “What do you expect from life in France?”. Once understood, I make sure that what they want from a property actually matches the lifestyle they are looking for – if it doesn’t I am honest and tell them, then offer alternatives. I enjoy this part of my job because everybody’s dream life is different!
Once I have a clear understanding of my client’s wishes and I am sure that what they are looking for is attainable in my area and within budget, we agree on a timescale – usually 4-6 weeks before my client’s trip. I spend this time scouring the area for properties, writing detailed reports, deciding on a shortlist of 4-6 properties, then set up some viewings. I always accompany my clients on viewings, lending support. Afterwards, we usually go for a typical Bourguignone meal and discuss the viewings over a glass of Burgundy wine.
Once a property is decided on, I negotiate the price. When that is agreed, I arrange for a notaire to represent my clients, then let the process run its course. I offer advice throughout and once finalised, I help them settle in by opening electricity accounts, etc. It is very satisfying to see them settle in.
You can reach Laura at Tel +33 (0)3 85 22 73 62
The French Property Finders are property professionals in France who exclusively represent buyers and work under a Carte Professionelle (Transactions) with the mandatory indemnity insurance.
For further information or for help with your property search, please contact one of our local property finders with expert knowledge of the most sought-after areas in France.
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