French Property Blog: Our Voice from France

Chinese investors looking for some good red and a little drop of Cognac


Leggett Immobilier has quietly become one of the leading names in the sale of French vineyards and is forecasting a strong international demand for 2014.

Heading the Bordeaux wine team is Leggett expert Chantal Nollet, based in their Saint-Emilion office, 45 minutes east of Bordeaux. She comments:

“Since 2013 Leggetts have been seeing a buoyant and dynamic vineyard market with considerable interest shown in Bordeaux, Cognac, Provence and Languedoc Roussillon regions. Vineyard prices are still attractive, with land in lesser known appellations around Bordeaux available for as little as 5,000 Euros per hectare, but in regions, such as Cognac, we are seeing property prices increase significantly”.

So what about Chinese interest? Chantal says:

“Demand is high and we have Chinese clients ready to purchase properties up to 50 million Euros. This Chinese investment in French vineyards was supported recently by statistics from SAFER (the French Land Agency), who said that during 2012, a total of 712 vineyards in the Gironde were sold, which equated to almost 3,500 hectares of vines, for a sum of €533 million euros. Chinese buyers were responsible for purchasing 27 of these properties, representing 15% of total sales and involving an estimated 525 hectares of vines. However, serious French investors remains focused on buying well-established vineyards in the more prestigious appellations”.

Currently, Leggetts are offering an a 20 hectare Château vineyard (60 hectares total) set in a beautiful location bordering Saint-Emilion; this superbly maintained estate producing award-winning wines, has a price tag of 6.36 million Euros.

According to Chantal, “the climate and lifestyle in Provence also attracts regular enquiries for vineyards in that region – we have for sale one of the largest and most beautiful wine estates in the Luberon; the property offers 73 hectares of vines, over 8 grape varieties and two registered appellations in full production. Together with its 8 bedroom Maison de Maître offering 1500m2 of accommodation, this would certainly be an opportunity to live the dream”!

For something on a smaller scale, the Right Bank of the Gironde Estuary produces extremely good wines and this beautiful estate is no exception: 8.7 hectares of vines (10 hectares land total) AOC Còtes-de-Bourg, with a traditional Girondine house, is new to the market this week at 1.028.000, Euros.

Chantal sums up by saying:

“Leggetts have always enjoyed an established reputation amongst international buyers for giving an unrivalled quality of service, but it’s their professionalism and attentiveness towards vendors too, that ensures they are recommended by word of mouth amongst the vines, keeping a constant supply of beautiful and commercially important vineyards coming to the market. Is it really any wonder they were awarded Best Estate Agency in France last year”?

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Selling your house in 2014? Here are a dozen top tips from the Leggett team….


With economic comfidence returning to many European countries we are forecasting that sales of French houses to international buyers will rise substantially in 2014. So if you are thinking of putting your house on the market here are a dozen tips to help you sell:

1. Price it sensibly – the market is coming back but buyers are still looking for a bargain. Your house needs to stand out on your agents website & on the property portals and you really should put your personal involvement to one side and listen to your agent.

2. Make sure that your agent takes great photos – if you can persuade them to make a virtual tour of your property so that international buyers can get a real feel for your home then all the better.

3. First impressions count – the first 30 seconds are vital. Take a look at your property through the eyes of a stranger and tidy your garden/entrance and add a splash of colour.

4. Don’t just tidy but clean too – we’ve all seen the TV experts talking about de-cluttering your house but go one step further and make sure it’s clean too. “One careful owner” works for houses too!

5. Your house should smell nice – lucky you if you have time to bake bread & put on a fresh pot of coffee but even if you don’t then make sure there are no noxious odours and add a few scented “plug ins” in discreet locations. Don’t go over the top though!

6. You might love your cat/dog but not everyone will – animals make a mess, particularly around their food bowls and litter trays. Clean it up and try and make your favourite pet scarce.

7. Kitchens are important – there’s no need to show dirty crockery in the sink and the remains of last night’s “Coq au Vin”, no matter how delightful. Keep your kitchen in pristine condition so that it feels welcoming.

8. Bathrooms are too – OK, it’s not going to be the most important room in the house but dirty towels on the floor or toilets that need flushing can undo a lot of hard work that has gone on before.

9. Bedrooms – as a minimum you should make the beds and tidy up. If your bedroom has a great view of the countryside then make sure visitors get to see it fully.

10. Add some colour – there’s a good reason that canny property developers fill their show homes with fresh flowers. They create a warm & friendly feel so if you have a chance the get in the garden and cut a few fresh flowers.

11. Fix all the little “niggly issues” before you put the house on the market – don’t give buyers the opportunity to beat you down on price because of dripping gutters, leaking taps or peeling wallpaper.

12. Let your agent do their job – OK they may not know every nook & cranny as well as you do but they will know their buyers and they will be able to focus on their “hot buttons”.

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Come and join us at The France Show, 17-19th January

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Once again, we invite all of our clients and friends to come and visit us at The France Show in Earls Court, London.

We will be taking two stands within the French property exhibition section so should be easy to find (look for stands 155 and 189 if you get lost). You should also mark our “property seminars” in your diary as they are always standing room only – you can hear our thoughts on the different regions of France at the foillowing times in the Living France Property Theatre:

Friday 17th, 14h15
Saturday 18th, 13h15
Sunday 19th, 11h15

The show is full of colour and brings a real flavour of France to the UK with the best of food, wine, property, travel tips and even a petanque arena.

We will have agents from all over France, ready and willing to share their individual experiences and local knowledge. We’re a friendly bunch so do come and say hello!

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Leggett Immobilier appoint new Chief Executive

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Leading French estate agency, Leggett Immobilier, is delighted to announce that Graham Downie will be joining the practice as Chief Executive from January 1st 2014, with high profile owner Trevor Leggett moving into the role of Chairman.

Mr Leggett comments:

“Our business has seen huge expansion over the last few years and we certainly have exciting plans for the future. Graham has over 25 years international property experience at the very highest level with blue chip agencies such as Savills, Jackson-Stops & Staff and Chesterton International plc as well as direct experience in the French property market. He will be tasked with ensuring that our growth continues in a planned and professional manner while I look at how our brand can be used to tackle new markets.

We now help one in ten UK purchasers of French property – from derelict barns with planning permission to some of the finest chateaux in France and were recently voted “Best Estate Agency in France”. We are thrilled that Graham will be joining us at a time when confidence seems to be coming back to the market and are cautiously optimistic that the overall number of international buyers in France will increase next year.

We are a family business, where clients come first, and look forward to 2014 and beyond with confidence”.

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Meet the Ski Property expert at the London Ski Show

Earls Court 2 hosts the London Ski & Snowboard Show this year and you can meet our regional manager for the Alps, Heather Byrne, on Friday November 1st.

The Leggett Alps team has over 500 ski and lake properties for sale and Heather will be meeting with both buyers and sellers alike to chat through their property needs. Leggett Immobilier was recently voted “Best Estate Agency in France” and the team in the Alps has over 20 years experience of the French market – this is your opportunity to find out what makes us different from other agents.

If you would like to meet Heather at the show you can contact her directly at and you can see our full portfolio of ski property for sale at

Leggett Immobilier – local knowledge you can trust.

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