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Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Purchasing properties in the Languedoc......

How to do it properly.
Finding your dream home where you live can be difficult enough but finding a holiday home in a foreign country can be both time consuming and frustrating.

Below is a story about a recent client who we helped purchase their dream holiday home in the Languedoc area of South Western France. Although their requirements may not be the same as everyone’s the process that we went through could be used as a template or guide for any purchaser buying property in any country.

A very nice couple from Dublin contacted us explaining that they wanted to buy a holiday home in the Languedoc area. Ryanair’s recent opening of their Dublin to Carcassonne route meant that short breaks from Ireland to this part of France were now a reality. The thing was, they didn’t know the area too well and needed guidance from someone local. That’s where Languedoc Property Finders came in. We talked with them at length in order to understand their motivations for buying and what they wanted from their holiday home.
We decided that they should fly down to the Languedoc area for a week for a “Sighting” visit. This would give them a clear idea of what the area had to offer and what to expect for their money. We suggested that we look at several areas from Carcassonne town centre to the pretty villages around the town of Pezenas. Carcassonne would give them the convenience that they were looking for, but I felt that Pezenas would provide them with more the type of ambience that they expected from this part of the world.

We spent the week looking at everything from loft apartments in the centre of Narbonne, modern apartment blocks in Beziers and village houses in pretty villages from Carcassonne to Pezenas. We really did explore the area and they tried to imagine what it would be like to actually own a property in each of the towns and villages that we visited.
They found the apartments in Beziers a surprise, something at first they wouldn’t have considered. I think that it was the size, the value and the thought of owning an apartment in such a busy town that started to grow on them. Although they didn’t end buying these apartments they were glad to have benefited from the seeing them.

As the week went on our clients realised that an hour’s drive from the airport was really no hardship and that although they loved Carcassonne, the areas to the east were more attractive to them.

In the end we were able to narrow things down to two village houses near Pezenas and an apartment in Beziers. After a good nights sleep, a good meal and some local wine, they decided to make an offer on a very pretty village house just outside of Pezenas. I advised my clients on a suitable starting offer, and after a little negotiation, we agreed a price almost ten thousand euros below the asking price. Two days later we were sitting in the local Notaire’s office, pen in hand, and the deal was done. They are now looking forward to flying back to France in the next few months to complete on the house and have a celebratory BBQ on their new terrace.

I think the key factor in them being able to make a buying decision during their week here was down to the fact that we considered and experienced so many different towns, areas and properties. By the end of the week they were able to make a considered offer on a good property that they knew fitted their needs and requirements.

Our top tip for any buyers visiting the Languedoc area is to go and view properties that you may not have at first considered. View village houses, apartments, modern developments, just about everything! This way you can be sure that you are making the right decision at the time you actually make the offer.

If you’re looking to buy a property in the Languedoc this year, my advice is to get yourselves over for a “Sighting” visit as soon as possible. As the days warm up and the sun shines for longer into the evening, more and more people will start to look at property to buy. If you want to get the best deals, fly over now and take your pick from the best of what’s around without the added pressure of knowing that another buyer could be on the next plane out.

Simon Kerridge is a partner at the Property Search firm Languedoc Property Finders. A property search company that helps clients purchase properties in the Languedoc area of South Western France.

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