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…..or the importance of showing your house to potential buyers in the best way.


Last week I visited some vendors who are selling a house in a particularly attractive village in Lot et Garonne. I was there to discuss their marketing and as part of this we talked about the route THROUGH the house and the route TO the house estate agents had used when showing it to buyers. The owners thought the estate agents were doing it wrong and I agreed with them.

The house has two front doors – one opens into a courtyard garden which you then walk through to gain access to the house, the other front door opens directly onto a street at the other side of the house. At first glance you would assume that the best way to show the house is to use the door into the garden rather than walk straight in off the street – and this is what all of the estate agents had been doing.


The approach to a house is vital in setting the scene and if you enter the house via the garden front door you have to walk down a road on the edge of the beautiful old part of the village and you pass garages and recently build houses – all fine, but not what the village is known for.

If you enter the house via the street front door you walk through the beautiful central part of the village. A buyer would park their car in the village square bounded by a boulangerie, café and butcher (all very good) and a 12th century church renowned for its frescos. You then walk perhaps 200metres down a quiet road lined with very attractive old houses and the ancient covered market-place to reach your destination. This links the property psychologically with the old and beautiful part of the village rather than the more functional and more recent section at other side of the house. You can even see the  boulangerie if you turn round and look back down the road once you reach the front door, which is great for selling the idea of a short walk to get your daily croissant.


You then conduct your viewing of the house. People usually leave a property by the door they initially came in through. This means that if you came in by the garden front door you exit that way using the garden (which is a small but very attractive paved courtyard) as a passage to and from the house, failing to capitalise on its own value. On the other hand, if you entered the house via the street front door you finish your viewing in the courtyard garden. If it is a warm day this is the ideal moment to sit down in the courtyard with your buyers. They then have the opportunity to imagine living in a house where you are only 2 minutes from the heart of a very pretty village yet you also have a private and well-designed courtyard garden to relax in.


As they leave the house again (via the street front door) you can point out the handy boulangerie which they can see at the end of the attractive road.


Carefully planning how you present your house is essential but it is amazing how few people – even estate agents as in this case – don’t think it through sufficiently. It can make all the difference between sale and no sale and helps a buyer because they are able to imagine the house as they would want to use it.


Incidentally – the house in question is definitely worth a look if you want a village house which is ready to move in to. It is in the really lovely riverside village of Allemans du Dropt. This is not far from Eymet and is convenient for Bergerac airport. You can read more about this well presented and well priced property here:


For sale in Allemans-du-Dropt at 199 000€ 



Here is a photographs of the River Dropt as it passes under the iconic bridge leading into the village:






Save money and get your house onto the market ahead of the crowd.....


Our December promotion is now up and running - if you would like to advertise with us and you pay for one of our six month adverts in full between now and December 30th we will give you one extra month's advertising free.


Just open our "Advertise Your Property" page in the usual way, complete the property information form at the bottom of the page and send it to us. We will contact you to arrange payment - and give you that extra month's advertising - so if your advert starts to appear on December 15th then it would remain live until July 14th ensuring that your property is well publicised from the beginning of the year until, in this example, Bastille Day.


The offer applies to Gold, Silver and Bronze advertising packages which are paid for in full before December 30th. 




Sue has just started blogging for The Local Buzz - a free magazine serving the English speaking population of SW France. We advertise in the magazine regularly as it is extremely popular with visitors to the region as well as locals who like to keep in touch with what is going on in their department. You will see regular blogs from Sue, some of which will be linked to Le Blog on our own website and also to our sister gardening blog "Le Jardin Paysan" . You can see more about the magazine here via its website

The Local Buzz

And start reading the blog here:

Don't leave those leaves!





Sterling weakened against many major currencies this week, including the euro, US dollar and New Zealand dollar. In part, this is because the financial markets aren’t so confident that the UK and the EU will agree a Brexit deal in the foreseeable future as they were last week. 

This is even though the UK Supreme Court ruled that Parliament can reconvene, as Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s decision to prorogue, or suspend, the legislative chamber was declared illegal.

Meanwhile, UK economic data this week was mixed, with the UK’s manufacturing sector slowing further in September, according to the CBI (Confederation of British Industry), although the UK’s far larger retail sector exceeded forecasts.

However, although the Supreme Court’s decision perhaps makes a ‘No Deal’ Brexit less likely, it’s simultaneously stalled last week’s Brexit progress.

First, this is because, to attend the opening of Parliament, PM Johnson had to fly from the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York. Here, Mr. Johnson was meeting EU leaders such as German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron. So, the PM has had to cancel or delay those meetings.

Second, what with Mr. Johnson the leader of a minority Conservative government, opposition MPs are in a strong position to control Parliament’s legislative agenda. For example, the opposition parties have refused to let Parliament go to recess, so that the Conservatives can hold their annual party conference, as is convention.

Moreover, opposition MPs continue to turn down Mr. Johnson’s calls for a general election, until a ‘No Deal’ Brexit is firmly off the table. So, it’s arguable that Mr. Johnson is being held hostage in No. 10 Downing Street, unable to govern, yet with limited powers to amend the situation. This adds to the lack of Brexit clarity.

In addition, if Mr. Johnson succeeds in negotiating a new Brexit deal, he’ll need to pass this through the House of Commons. However, as the PM is the leader of a minority government, he may struggle to do this.

The EU knows this, which could make Brussels less disposed to negotiate with Mr. Johnson in the first place, if they think he doesn’t have the Parliamentary support to pass the agreement. This seemingly leaves the UK’s Brexit situation in limbo this week, which has weakened the value of sterling.


Get a quote from Foreign Currency Direct


First we have the rentrée – throughout France the return to school at the beginning of September is almost as important a “new year” as January 1st. Once the August holidays are over and the children are back in school the autumn work begins.


The vendange, or wine harvest, which starts in August for some grapes, continues into the autumn when the leaves on the vines turn wonderful shades of red and gold before falling to leave a wintery spider’s web of tangled branches. As the vignerons begin to ferment their grapes you may be lucky enough to come across vin bourru in your local market or supermarket. This is a slightly sparkling acidic drink which is not high in alcohol content. It is taken from the wine vat at an early stage in the fermentation process and is traditonally drunk to accompany roast chestnuts. Too much can give you terrible indigestion. When we had first arrived in France I saw a board outside a local café exclaiming “Le Bourru est arrivé!”. In my ignorance I thought the owner was telling us that he had bought a donkey.


Food and seasonal produce continues to play an important part in the calendar and in the Pyrénéan village of Espelette, in the mountains behind Biarritz, the annual harvest of the Espelette pepper takes place. The peppers (chillies in reality) are hung across the fronts of the village houses to dry.

As a rule French food is not spicy and, in my experience, the Espelette pepper is as hot as it gets. Look out for little jars of powdered “Piment d’Espelette” in good food shops.


You can read more about the village here:  https://www.espelette.fr/


France celebrates Halloween – but it is more about 101 ways to cook and eat a pumpkin than it is about Trick or Treat, while November 5th is non-existent. However, there are two public holidays. The first is November 1st, when families traditionally remember their dead. Graveyards look sensational as relatives bring flowers to decorate their family graves; some travelling across France to gather together as a mark of respect. Look out for pots of chrysanthemums on sale from early October – and don’t be tempted to buy one as a gift for a friend – they are the French equivalent of a funeral wreath.


On November 11th at 11 am (regardless of the day of the week) the French commemorate ’le jour de Souvenir’ – or Remembrance Day. In our village, which is tiny, the mayor invites us to the ceremony. Young children place a floral tribute against the village memorial, the Mayor reads out an address from the Prime Minister or other government minister, followed by the name of everyone in the village who has died fighting for their country. After each name is read out we all say “mort pour la France” and then we hold a minute’s silence. Afterwards we share a “vin d’amitie” in our salle de fete. The French wear a bleuet (or cornflower) rather than a poppy.



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