Micki, Chris & Tom Slade - Directors of A House in Brittany Limited
Like many others before us - we bought a house in Brittany. In the process of finding just the right house we made mistakes, discoveries - met some rogues and some new and very firm friends. We've learnt a great deal and, because of a series of (mostly) happy accidents we're in a great position to pass on those experiences to you as we hope to introduce you (via our 25 associate agency offices)...to your house in Brittany or Normandy. There are appx. 1,000 houses across our two sites and our agents have more!
We bought Le Roz in 1999 and, on the way to purchasing this gem, we had such a ridiculous time dealing with unprofessional people who, I suppose, thought they were behaving in a businesslike way - but weren't, who actually, unwittingly encouraged us to say 'yes' to starting our own agency. One which introduces those seeking to buy houses in Brittany (and subsequently Normandy too) to those offering them for sale. Sounds simple enough so far...n'est pas? We had wasted at least £1000.00 on disastrous trips to view where ineptitude and false promises failed to impress. We have discovered since that others were having the same problems. So...
After a career in advertising, marketing and graphics, finding ourselves being less and less enchanted with the marketing 'game', it wasn't a difficult decision. Tom, our youngest son (left) had (eyes wide-open, having spent all of his life watching us do it) decided he wanted to go into graphics and marketing too (these kids won't be told). Being further along the technology road (and why not at his age) he put our website together whilst I nagged over his shoulder - thoroughly spoiling his fun...Just like an advertising client. (but I thought up the natty strapline - "from ooh & ahh..." etc). We started AHIB in November 2001 in a very small, but ambitious way. And, although the name suggested we offered houses in Brittany, at that time it was just in a very tiny part of Brittany. Ironically people always asked for the areas we didn't cover. So we had to grow into the name. Now, after meeting many of the right kind of people, we have most of the peninsula covered and a growing chunk of Normandy too. These days Tom (metaphorically) looks over my shoulder as I update 'his' website and he operates his own business designing websites and publicity material for others... http://www.publicitydepartment.co.ukSo, we are a small family business. Micki will be the one who answers your e-mails and phone calls and I'm the one who makes the tea and the spelling mistakes - Tom unravels the spaghetti when we have technical problems...I often joke that if the team were to get any smaller one of us needs surgery. Seriously though, we deal only with commercial agents and Immobiliers throughout Brittany & Normandy who are fully registered for the sale and transfer of property. We always endeavour to make sure that our associates in France help our clients by speaking good English (quite a few of our associates are English) but a smattering of French from your side of things will always help. And anyway you're going to learn aren't you?
Everything about Brittany is a breath of fresh air. We can't recommend it highly enough. It's close to the UK so that friends & family can pester you. It has a good climate, an education system (and school discipline) that Tony Blair must gag over (because those French kids are so well behaved)and it has a road network (with no road tax) that John Prescott could only dream about when he was tinkering with an integrated transport system.
(Happiness is discovering that a ride on mower that you have been given can actually deal with the half acre of grass that used to take two days to cut!)
We now get around 700 hits each day on our Brittany & Normandy sites which results in a steady stream of viewings and many happy clients. Our agents too are pleased with the flow of would be purchasers who we hope arrive fully versed in the procedure of buying in France and ready for the exciting part of their lives to begin! We and our colleagues in Brittany & Normandy straighten out some of the hairpin bends of French property purchase.
The purpose of our service is to offer prospective purchasers a choice across the regions of Brittany & Normandy and to introduce them to legally registered immobilieres operating in the area of their choice or, who have the houses which appeal from our website - on their books. Following the viewing of the house on which you wish to make an offer...our agents (all English speaking) then lead you through the legal processes (which are very different from the procedures you will have become used to in the UK. with the added complication of being conducted in French within the documentation). Finally our agents ensure that all services are connected as required to the property. Voila!