Ask the agent

Every month we ask an estate agent for the inside track on their patch. In this issue, we talk to Freddy Rueda, an agent who runs his own immobilier in the department of H�rault in Languedoc-Roussillon

What’s the cheapest property you have on your books right now? I have a small stone barn for just €13,000 (�11,162) that has the potential to be renovated to create a three-storey home. Situated in a lively village, it is only 15 minutes from B�ziers and 25 minutes from the coast.

What’s the most unusual property you currently have for sale?I currently have a 16th-century church built on a Gallo-Roman site complete with vaults, original features and a tower for sale at €215,000 (�184,612). Covering 250m�, it is in need of complete renovation.

What’s the most unusual request you’ve had from a client?I once had a client who asked me to find them a tree-house!

How much would you expect to pay for:

a detached property with land in good condition? It depends on the size of the house and the plot, but prices would generally start from €200,000 (�171,732).

a three-bedroom townhouse?Again it depends on size, but you would expect to pay upwards of €100,000 (�85,866).

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a renovation opportunity? Buyers can expect to pay anything from €50,000 (�42,933), which of course varies depending on the level of renovation work required.

Is there a typical architecture or style in H�rault?Former winegrowers’ houses are typical of the area. They benefit from a large room on the ground floor, which would have been the garage for storing tools, and two further floors with terraces. Spacious and sunny villas with large French windows opening on to a garden with a large swimming pool are also characteristic of the department.

Why do British people buy houses in your area?B�ziers is very popular as it is the sunniest region of France, which obviously makes quite a change from the British weather! We don’t have the terrible winds that you would find in N�mes, Uz�s or Narbonne. The Mediterranean coast, Languedoc National Park and the Lac du Salagou can all be reached within 30 minutes, and we are an hour and a half’s drive from the ski resorts. It is also close to many airports serviced by budget airlines.

What advice would you give to somebody who is thinking of buying in your department?Make sure you buy in the right area of H�rault, in the triangle between P�zenas, B�ziers and St-Chinian, to benefit from the micro-climate.

What tips would you give to help people settle into life in H�rault? Try not to stay solely with the English community, but venture out to the f�tes in the villages and meet the locals. The main caf� in the village is a very good place to meet people.

What are your predictions for the property market in the region? I think it is good time to buy this year as vendors, because of crisis, have reduced their prices by about 20% over the last two years and this in an area where population estimates for the future can only make the prices increase. According to official statistics, 1,000 people come to Languedoc every month so the real estate market here is secured for the future. Also when you have 300 sunny days per year and are within half an hour’s drive of the coast, rivers, lakes and mountains, what would stop the prices going higher?

Is H�rault easy to reach?The area is close to many airports serviced by the budget airlines including B�ziers, Montpellier and Carcassonne, which is in the neighbouring department of Aude.

What are the regional specialities? Oysters are a speciality of the region, and we are in a famous wine area with delicious wines at very good prices, such as Faug�res, St-Chinian, Berlou, Pic St-Loup and the Sud de France wines.

What local attractions are there in the department?There is much to see in the area, which is full of history with a lot of medieval villages. There is the Canal du Midi, and of course the Mediterranean Sea. Our region is one of the most beautiful with stunning landscapes and very low pollution. It’s a very pleasant area to live in with nature and culture activities taking place throughout the whole year.

Describe your department in five words?Views, food, sun, water, affordable.

What’s your favourite corner of H�rault?The area north of B�ziers has the most beautiful medieval villages that have remained peaceful and unchanged, despite the fact that they are in a popular tourist area with lots of attractions.

Freddy Rueda

Tel: 00 33 (0)4 67 36 34 28 www.realestatelanguedoc.com/uk.shtml