Interview: Five questions with a property finder

This is an interview I did for a magazine that might answer a few questions about using a property finder and about the Midi-Pyrenées region:

Where in the Midi-Pyrénées are you based?

I am based on the border of the Haute Garonne and the Ariège, located an hour south west of Toulouse in the Ariège national park and the foothills of the Pyrénées mountains. It is one of the most unspoiled and authentic regions of France with stunning scenery, a mild and sunny climate and pretty villages set against the stunning backdrop of snowy peaks in the distance.

What sort of people hire a property finder?

I work with a varied clientele from all over the world, each with their own specific criteria and requirements. Nationalities of my clients include British, Australians, South Africans, Americans, Danish, Canadian and Dutch. Every client’s brief is different; some are looking for holiday homes, others are relocating with young families and hence require information on schools and local facilities while others are retiring and need advice on local communities and investing their nest egg wisely. Many of my clients have already spent a great deal of time looking, unsuccessfully, for their dream home, which is why they come to me and others are only too aware that they cannot afford the time and costs involved in doing a really thorough property search at a distance and hence hire me to do all the time-consuming and costly research for them. All of my clients want to have a professional on their side (just as the seller does) to ensure that they find the very best property for them at the very best price.

What attracts people to your area?

Where do I start? It has become a cliché to say that an area offers something for everyone, but I think it is true to say that it would be hard to find another region that ticks so many boxes for so many people. For nature lovers, this area is just teeming with unspoiled natural environment and a huge variety of fauna and flora while for sporting types, this same environment provides the perfect location for walkers, cyclists, canoeists, horse riders plus, in winter, there are numerous excellent ski resorts for all levels, most of which are an easy drive away from just about anywhere within my area. Most of my clients are, of course, Francophiles and there is ample opportunity to enjoy the wonderful food and wine of the region, numerous local markets such as that in St Girons which attracts people from miles around and the usual wide selection of restaurants serving local produce. In addition, we have, within an hour, the region’s capital, Toulouse which is a thriving and fashionable metropolis with all the culture, arts and shopping that anyone could want. An added bonus is that this region is perfectly located to make the most of Spain on the doorstep, an easy day trip away and to enjoy the best of both the Atlantic and Mediterranean beaches which are both around two hour’s drive.

What sort of budgets do your clients have?

There is a common belief that property finders are only for those with very large budgets but that is not the case in reality. I have worked with clients with all budgets and I will take on any search as long as my clients have realistic expectations as to what their budget will buy.

What sort of properties are available in your area?

This is another advantage of the region; we have such a wide selection of properties here ranging from small village houses, to sprawling farmhouses and from renovation projects to ski apartments or mountain barns to Manoirs and Châteaux. Finding the right house in France, however, is about so much more than the actual bricks and mortar and a big part of my job is not only finding the right property for my clients but also the right location whether that be close to the best schools, best restaurants, best transport networks, best ski resorts, best doctors and all and any of those aspects of daily life that you can only discover either by living here or by working with someone who lives here.

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