Agent of the month – Suzanne Bullerwell in the Gers
My Husband and I have been living in the North part of the Gers in Gascony for 8 years now and could not be happier with the beautiful surroundings and blissful tranquility. The area I represent is often referred to as “Le Triangle d’Or Gersois” ( Golden Triangle of the Gers) located between the towns of Lectoure, Condom and Auch often with its own microclimate.
The Gers (pronounced le Jez by the locals) in the heart of Gascony and the home of D’Artagnan and the Musketeers is also the land of healthy living and good food and drink as well as Sunflowers, Sunshine and Armagnac. In addition to the many culinary riches of the area, there is plenty of architectural and cultural heritage amongst the fortified hilltop villages nestled within the rolling hills in the open countryside.
The beautiful and extensive views of sunflowers and maize are often set against the backdrop of the snow-capped Pyrenees. We are also lucky to be within driving distance to the stunning Atlantic Coast with its soft sandy beaches and unspoilt seaside towns, the ski resorts of the Pyrenees and many northern Spanish towns for something a little different.
For a great day out or for the life and culture of a larger city we enjoy going to Agen, Toulouse or even Bordeaux which all have great international transport links too.
There is a range of styles of property available from character stone, beautiful townhouses with period features to more modern style bungalows. I have recently been joined by my colleague Andrew Jackson and so between us we are able to offer clients a tailored search for their ideal property at no extra charge. We are also recruiting currently in the area so if you think this role may be for you please get in touch for a chat to find out more.
What does a typical day as a Leggett agent entail?
I wouldn’t really describe any day as typical and that, in my opinion, is the beauty of the job and running my own business. I try to arrange my diary to suit my clients and vendors and by having this flexibility, I am able to offer a different service and support to both. Saying that, I do try and keep one day per week, usually a Friday, to do administration and routinely check emails and messages each morning to keep on top of any urgent requests that have come in overnight. With a Global clientele, often there are time delays in correspondence so I welcome the flexibility this role offers for me to manage my own time. This also allows me time to incorporate my own personal life and events around my work but the two often overlap which is also a great benefit.
What is your favourite place in the area you cover? What do you like most about your area?
I guess the answer to this could be biased as to where we have chosen to live, which we do love. We are based just outside the pretty village of St Puy, which has retained many amenities, including local store, medical centre, fire station, hairdressers, boulangerie, pizzeria and a fabulous restaurant run by a French family who we now count as great friends. It has an active community all year round to which we have integrated and been made very welcome, with many local fetes, evenings, clubs, and events.
In addition to this, there are many other favourite places we love visiting like the weekly markets of Lectoure, Fleurance, and Auch where you can often find a familiar and friendly face of many nationalities to share a coffee or an aperitif when approaching midday. We are very spoilt with local farms and vineyards selling their produce direct together with some excellent local restaurants. We also enjoy going to Fleurance Rugby Club now in Federal 1 which has a great ambiance. The vibrant town of Condom also has its own ski club (which sounds like a title of a ‘Carry On Film’ !) they provide a coach transfer every Sunday through the season to different resorts and with lift pass and equipment included all for under 35 euros it is a great fun day out.
What is the funniest / weirdest request you ever had?
I don’t have too many of these, although thankfully, all people’s wants and needs are different, and I just strive to match the buyers with the sellers and usually that brings the best result.
I do have a couple of interesting stories, one when, during a consultation with my local doctor, I left with my prescription and a mandate to sell his house which I duly did. He is now a great advocate for recommending me to any of his patients which is great!
On another occasion I was invited to take on a new property and arrived to take details and photographs, the owners, unfortunately, had not had time to tell their neighbours and friends that they were selling up after a long tenure and so asked me to pretend to be someone else doing a quote for some work and not take any photographs. Needless to say, I kept the appointment brief and said I would come back another time.
What were you doing before you joined Leggett?
When we first came to live here I spent most of my time managing the renovations of our house whilst my husband continued to commute back to the UK to run his business. I have done some English teaching here with a TEFL qualification I did in Toulouse and we have welcomed French students into our home for immersion courses. I have also helped out waitressing and cooking in our friends’ local restaurant which is great fun.
Prior to this, however, I had a very successful and enjoyable career for 15 years in the UK in various Sales and Marketing roles within the medical devices industry. This experience does translate well into this role as I often needed to find a solution to a problem or need for a patient, doctor or even whole hospital trust. Now I need to find a solution to a buyer’s wants and needs whilst managing the expectations and needs of the sellers. In my previous roles, my success was mainly down to building successful relationships through great communication and support for my customers. I intend to carry this mantra into this role as so far it seems to be working well.
What is the most unusual house you mandated?
The most unusual property I went to visit was one which I can’t really tell you about other than it was for a very famous celebrity. It was very surreal meeting them and seeing all the memorabilia in the house, including many awards and signed photos from other celeb friends. I have to say though they were some of the nicest people I have ever met and it was a pleasure to work with them. In the end, they decided not to sell for the moment as they fell back in love with the property when they came to meet me there. However, I am hopeful that when the time is right, they will come back to me.
What do you like best about your job?
I think what I like best is that it is not ‘a job’ as such, it is running a business and being my own boss whilst having the support of a great team both in the field and at head office. I enjoy the flexibility of managing my own time and controlling the pace of growth. The potential and opportunity in this area is excellent but I am conscious I want to manage the speed of the growth so that I maintain the work-life balance I strive for. I would very much like to recruit more agents around the area and grow the team here so that Leggett becomes the number one go-to real estate agent known by all nationalities here.
I enjoy the variety the work entails and the fact I am always learning aspects of the job, from legal matters in conveyancing to new French words but most of all helping people to realise their dream. I enjoy meeting people from all nationalities and walks of life. My most recent sale was to an Australian couple who purchased their dream holiday home and will, I am sure, remain friends of ours when they visit.
Closing a sale has always given me a buzz but the day of signing in the Notaires office when everyone is happy and the keys and money exchange hands gives me an immense feeling of satisfaction, of a job well done.
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Please click here to see Suzanne’s portfolio of properties.