We spoke to Freddy Rueda from Real Estate Languedoc to get his views on the current housing market, and to find out what to expect from an estate agent like him.
How long have you been running your real estate business in the Languedoc?
Since 1st January 1995.
How has the news about Brexit affected you, and house prices in the region?
Most of the UK clients did nothing while the discussions and the vote were underway for Brexit. It was a quiet time for Brits buying and selling houses. Then after Brexit was confirmed, some people were then desperate to sell. It did affect sales, because the exchange rate was down, so people were very nervous. Now, after a time of reflection, we are seeing tentative and smaller budgets from UK clients, but for those who are interested in properties over €300,000, they are generally waiting to see what will happen. However, during this time, we have seen an increase in sales for French, Swedish, Australian and American clients.
If you had any advice to give to people looking to buy a house in the region, what would you say?
Prices came down a lot after the various financial crises, but for the first time for a while, prices are starting to go up again in Occitanie. Interest rates are still low, so my advice is not to wait any longer, and take the opportunity to benefit from the current prices, as the region is an excellent long-term investment. Many low cost airlines are still opening new routes, even after Brexit, so this clearly shows that there is an expectation of more people travelling to the region.
If you had any advice to give to people looking to sell their house in the region, what would you say?
If you are going back to UK, you have the advantage of the currency exchange rate so you would be advised to adapt your price accordingly and forget about the Euro price that the house may have cost you. Unfortunately you may have to accept that you might not get all your money back if you bought your house five or ten years ago. If you price your house at the right market price you will find a buyer, there is still a huge demand from other nationalities and the French, because the interest rate is so low at the moment.
How do you go about finding the ideal house for your customer?
We spend a lot of time getting to understand exactly what our client is looking for, in terms of price range, location, whether they want a character house, something easy to maintain, whether they want to do any work to the house, and so on. We then send out links of properties, and we pride ourselves on having detailed particulars of the houses which we are selling. We also make our clients aware of any problems with the property, because we don’t like our clients to have bad surprises when they visit the properties! Transparency is our motto.
What do you think sets you apart from other estate agents in the region?
Since 1995 we have been dealing mainly with international clients, we are the sole agency in the area to sell to 90 % of clients based outside of France. Our staff are fluent in English, Dutch, Norwegian and Swedish. When our clients are visiting, we offer to organise somewhere for them to stay. We can help with the paperwork, and translate it for those clients who are not very proficient in French. We help to organize insurance, and setting up the services and utilities, and help to obtain builder quotations. In short, we offer much more than just buying or selling a house.
You can speak to Freddy on 04 67 36 34 28 or 06 09 58 54 26, or mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks to Steve Meltzer for the photographs of the region. Photo 1 is the canal in Narbonne, and photo 2 is Cap d’Agde. Steve Meltzer is an American photojournalist who now lives in Tourbes.