We ask agent Trevor Leggett of Leggett Immobilier, an estate agency covering the Charente and Dordogne departments, for the inside track on his area…
What’s the cheapest property you have on your books right now? Our best bargain at the moment is a little property on the market for €19,000 (�17,645). It’s a stand-alone property, which has a recently replaced roof, good solid walls, and a water and drain system already in place. It also has a garden.
What’s the most unusual property you have sold in the past? The most unusual was the holiday home of Henri de Gaulle, the father of General Charles de Gaulle who holidayed here as a child. We also had a property where an original Rembrandt was found in the loft.
What’s the most unusual request you’ve had from a client? We had a 77-year-old client who wanted a stage in the garden so she could perform concerts. We thought string quartets – it was actually for pop and techno music!
How much would you expect to pay for:
a detached property with land in good condition? If you’re looking for a decent property which is in liveable condition, expect to pay around €200,000 (�185,740).
a three-bedroom town house? Again, if it’s something that you want to move in to right away then you’re looking at about €150,000 (�139,305).
a renovation opportunity? If you’re willing to take on the most challenging project then we have properties starting from around €20,000 (�18,574).
Is there a typical architecture or style in your region? Because of the regional variety, it can vary from white, cut limestone through to granite. There are some beautiful Perigordine-style buildings in the area too, although the main part of our properties are old farmhouses, which are made from stone.
Why do British people buy houses in your area? There are a grand total of seven airports which means easy access for holiday homes or friends to visit; all within an hour to 30 minutes’ drive. We have good summer weather, lots of space and no traffic. It is also a beautiful part of France with rolling hills and lush green landscapes.
What advice would you give to somebody who is thinking of buying in your area? It’s important to research your area, as you would when buying in your home country. Spend some time in the region and make an effort to meet the locals. Drive around and check that the villages are open all year round, as although it is a draw for many, a lot of people find it a bit of a shock adapting to a much slower pace of life.
What tips would you give to help people settle into life in the area? Above all, learn the language! Even a little bit of effort can go a long way – it’s a matter of common courtesy. Respect your new environment, invite your local maire for an ap�ritif and attend all the local social gatherings. This will broaden your circle of friends from all nationalities – in addition to the local inhabitants there are also lots of Dutch, Belgians and Brits.
Is your area easy to reach? Yes – in addition to the aforementioned seven airports, there are also a multitude of TGV stations. For those who prefer travelling by car, it’s even more of a pleasure thanks to the beautiful scenery and little or no traffic.
What are your predictions for the property market in your region? With regards to the British market, we are pleased that it seems stable at the moment. The Charente and Dordogne departments have always been popular, and this doesn’t seem to have dwindled. It’s a sought-after area so a good place to buy.
What are the regional specialities? If you’re into your food you’ve come to the right place! The area boasts fantastic foie gras and duck, as well as the local drinks, pineau and cognac. There are also local weekly brocante fairs from April to October.
What local attractions are there in your region? Popular attractions include the distilleries in Cognac, wine-tasting in Bergerac, the botanical gardens at Terrason, and Brant�me – the Venice of Dordogne.
Describe your region in five words Sunny, green, historic, immaculate, French!
What’s your favourite corner of the area? Personally, I find the border of Dordogne and Charente, 24kms south of Angoul�me, the most beautiful bit of all. It has rolling countryside, open views and fields and fields of sunflowers. It’s fairly close for amenities yet it’s a very peaceful place – like turning back the clock.