Estate agent interview: Ille-et-Vilaine
No-one knows the area like a local estate agent. We asked Micki Slade, of A House in Brittany, for the inside track on this diverse area of France
What’s the cheapest property you have on your books right now?
We have a pretty one-bedroom stone cottage on the market for €86,800 that would make an ideal holiday home with a lovely garden, in the Dol-de-Bretagne area.
What’s the most unusual request you’ve had from a client?
I was shocked when a client insisted on buying a property without actually viewing it. This has happened twice in 12 years! Once it was to a property developer and the second was someone who simply fell in love with a bit of a bargain on the internet but couldn’t find the time to visit. Thank goodness they loved it when they actually visited after buying it!
How much would you expect to pay for:
A detached property with land in good condition?
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Prices vary greatly according to how close they are to the coast or large towns, how many rooms they have and of course how much land. But I would say €150,000-180,000.
A three-bedroom townhouse?
I would say around €120,000.
A renovation opportunity?
Again depends on land and location but €29,000 upwards to around €100,000 for a really interesting project.
Is there a typical architecture or style in Ille-et-Vilaine?
The architecture in the area varies quite considerably from timbered (colombage) townhouses to stone cottages, and from handsome stone manor houses to majestic castles.
Why do British people buy houses in your department?
Whatever the style/size of property in comparison to the UK the prices are keen. Plus the proximity to the ferry ports, the coast and the UK remain a major draw, and of course a warm welcome from the Bretons.
What advice would you give to somebody who is thinking of buying in Ille-et-Vilaine?
Go for it! Better to live the dream than regret not doing it. But, plan for your retirement and make sure that your funds will cover your requirements.
What tips would you give to help people settle into life in the area?
Do some research on the area. Will you be happy in the location you fall in love with? Think about the harsh winter months – will you be happy in an isolated cottage in harsh weather? Do you need to work? If so think about where/how etc.
What are your predictions for the property market in your area?
I think this department will remain in favour. It is very sought after due to the proximity to the UK, ferries and major towns, such as Rennes, the capital of Brittany. It is also ideal because of the variety of its attractions.
What are the regional specialities?
The lovely coastal resort of Cancale is renowned for oysters and there are mussels (with the obligatory chips and a beer), crêpes, galettes, cider and Kouign-amann, a lovely butter cake that is wonderful with a blob of crème fraîche.
What local attractions are there in Ille-et-Vilaine?
How long have you got? The Paimpont and Brocéliande forests, museums, châteaux (Vitre and Combourg for example), Rennes cathedral, the walled city of Saint-Malo and the aquarium, the medieval centre of Dol-de-Bretagne, markets, the lovely coast…
Describe your department in five words?
Historic, legend, emerald coast, seafood!
What’s your favourite corner of Ille-et-Vilaine?
I love Fougères, but would like to spend more time exploring the area.