“Don’t buy a house in France” they said. “It’s too hard”. Clearly they haven’t encountered French Character Homes. Joanne and Jean-Marc run a fantastic agency which is at once friendly and efficient. They respond quickly and from the outset understood, before we did, the kind of area that might suit us. They are very down to earth and don’t waste your time with the over sell. They have good properties and they are good at reading a client’s needs. With Joanne’s native English and Jean-Marc’s on the ground local knowledge they are a great duo.
The process for us took about 2 years – to look, decide and buy and we never got a sense of impatience from them. And once we settled, they were incredibly helpful with suggestions for tradespeople and extra help to maintain the house as well as passing on the contacts for a few new English speaking locals to help before our French becomes fluent !
The process was made so much easier with Joanne and Jean-Marc. A very happy experience. Above and beyond."
Jennifer & Michael, Sydney, Australia
"We had spotted the region around Pau where we were interested in buying a holiday home. Our first contact with Susanne was in the autumn of 2018. We described Susanne the kind property we were looking for.Right from the beginning Susanne was highly motivated to support us to find what were looking for. Apart from visiting properties during several visits with Susanne her insight helped us to get to know the region much better. Despite the long process of our search she always was very patient and understanding. After 10 months and 5 trips we found our dream house. Even after the purchase Susanne was extremely helpful in setting up the commodities and making the right contacts in the area with people who would help us to maintain the house during the time we are not there.
We especially appreciated Susanne’s direct, honest and fun nature from beginning to end. We highly recommend FCH and Susanne if you are looking for a house in the region! "
Kate Disken and Kadri Aygün, UK
"We were very fortunate to meet Susanne & to buy our first home in France with FCH.
Susanne has been superbly professional at all stages, has left nothing to chance, has been incredibly diligent & in a world where Estate Agents always get such bad press, she has been beyond amazing! Susanne has gone many times over and above the call of duty!! I don't know too many Estate Agents that help you unpack a van load of heavy furniture!!
We would highly recommend using FCH & Susanne, a totally professional service, with a fabulous 'can do' attitude!
Many many thanks "
Andrew & Niki Law, UK
"We cannot recommend French Character homes enough to all we know and how wonderfully we were supported and guided by Susanne. Being our first purchase abroad, Susanne sourced properties for us to view that met our family requirements.
We are now proud owners of a lovely bearnaise property! The invaluable support given by Susanne before, during and after purchase has been fantastic….even guiding us late at night to our property…going that extra mile! "
Cheryl McSweeney, DUBAI
"Ariane et moi-même voudrions vous remercier pour votre accompagnement dans l'acquisition du bien situé chemin Cot de Belloc. Votre professionnalisme, votre disponibilité et votre amabilité nous ont mis en confiance et contribue en grande partie à notre choix final.
Nous avons énormément apprécié que vous soyez très attentifs à nos critères de recherche et les produits de qualities que vous nous avez propose.
Nous recommanderons sans hesitation vos services a de potentiels interesses. "
David & Ariane Renelleau, FRANCE
"I bought a beautiful farmhouse in the Southern Landes through Susanne from FCH. At first, from the pictures posted on their site, I did not even wanted to visit this property! But Susanne had interviewed me with great professionalism and convinced me to look at it, and it was love at second if not first sight.
Susanne did a great and patient job at negotiating a fair price which would in the end make both vendors and myself happy. The sale was a little complex, as vendors had to improve the sanitation system and I had to obtain authorisation to build a pool, all this within a 2 month period. Well, Susanne organised and supervised all special operations with great dedication and efficiency.
The level of service at FCH is high and did not stop at the sale, as Susanne organised the electricity and water contract transfers to my name.
Trust Susanne and FCH to make you a happy buyer or seller! "
Louis Brusley, FRANCE
"After losing two properties in SW France, we finally met with Samantha and I instantly knew that we were in capable hands and would find the right property.
Her friendly, professional manner instilled confidence in us from the get go and after viewing several properties, Samantha quickly got the measure of us and our requirements.
She kept in regular contact with us and when a property we had liked online came back on the market, she wasted no time in contacting us and arranging a viewing.
Samantha supported us every step of the way through the purchase process and we cannot recommend her highly enough. She is undoubtedly, a valuable asset to French Character Homes. "
Kerry & Martin Kelly, UK
"We cannot recommend Joanne and Jean-Marc at French Character Homes highly enough. They looked after us throughout the whole buying process and indeed have helped us so much since we completed on the purchase of the property in December 2017. Initially they showed us a range of fantastic properties but we fell in love with the one we finally bought from the first day we saw it and they waited patiently for us to complete - over two years later!! I would have no hesitation at all in recommending them to others. Happy to speak to anyone directly too."
Sue & Paul Craven, UK
"We bought a beautiful Béarnaise farmhouse through Samantha Harris of French Character Homes in December 2017, having first visited it and other properties with her in August 2017. We had been looking for a French home for a number of years, in the course of which we’d had a variety of experiences with different agents.
Samantha and French Character Homes proved refreshingly and impressively different. First, FCH has an excellent range of quality properties in the Western Pyrenées-Atlantiques region and a deep knowledge of the local market which really helped us make the right choice of property. Secondly, we were extremely impressed with Samantha’s approachable manner and exceptional levels of customer service. Her ‘can-do’ approach helped make the whole process, which is inherently somewhat more complex than in the UK, that much smoother.
Samantha has a deep knowledge of Béarn and of the purchase process in France and really ‘went the extra mile’ to ensure we were kept fully informed at all times and had all the information required to make the right decisions on a timely basis. We’re grateful that, aside from handling the negotiations with our vendor with aplomb, providing translation assistance and seamlessly facilitating the process with the Notary, she’s been a fount of knowledge on who to speak to for various improvement projects we had in mind.
We’ve made seven property purchase processes in the UK in our lifetimes and have never experienced from any other agent before the level and quality of service that we experienced from Samantha and FCH. We’re happy to recommend their services to other buyers of character property in the Bearn."
Philip Temme and Richard Carreau-Floume, UK
"My daughters and I will be moving to Salies de Bearn in a few months and are very much looking forward to it. Susanne showed us several houses in the Pyrenees Atlantiques area and this one appealed to us the most in terms of size, amenities, location, and the charm of Salies de Bearn. Susanne made the house hunting a pleasant experience and had loads of interesting and important information about the area. She has continued to be of great help to me after the sale. She is a real professional.
Susanne also had very good rapport with the owners of the houses that we viewed. She was able to convey to me something about the personalities of the owners which imparted a certain warmth to the interactions that I had with them. "
"We recently moved from England to a village near Sauveterre De Bearn in the Pyrenees-Atlantique region through a lovely lady immobilier, Samantha Harris.
We had seen the house online some months before we were able to get away from work to view it, but she kept in touch with us during that time and set up the viewing at our convenience. Once we decided to buy the house she supported us in getting it for a very good price, liaised with the Notaire and the vendors for us, translated documents over the phone to us while we were still in England, came with us to the Notaire's office when we completed the purchase, met with a builder and the mayor on our behalf, contacted the utilities companies, introduced us to the local bank manager to help us to set up a French account and so much more. She literally held our hands through the whole process, and even though we have been here for 7 weeks now she is still answering our silly questions.
In short, we could not have asked for a better service!
If our experience with Sam is anything to go by, we would have no hesitation in recommending French Character Homes to anyone looking to purchase a house in France. "
Katrin and Mark Cole, UK
"Right from the get go, Samantha's attention to detail, honesty and efficiency was second to none. My husband visited seven properties in total with Samantha over his two visits to the Pau region. We found our dream house!
Although we are resident in France, we were grateful for Samantha's help in putting us in contact with a mortgage broker and for the smooth handover with the previous owner. No question or query was too small for Samantha to help us with, and when she was on holiday Joanne was there to walk us through the compromis de vente. Several months after completion, Samantha regularly emails us to offer her advice and help with any queries or questions about the region, I severely doubt you'll find another agency which offers the same exceptional customer service as FCH.
My husband and I would not hesitate to recommend French Character Homes. A truly top class service from start to finish!"
Luke & Julie, UK
"My wife and I had the pleasure of meeting Susanne & Samantha from French Character Homes in November 2016, we had already visited the region earlier in the year and had elected to look at the prospect of purchasing property in the South West Region of France.
Having sold our UK property in October 2016 we made arrangements to take a short-term rental near Salies De Bearn, this would give us the flexibility to view properties across a wide region whilst we became more familiar with the local area.
From the outset French Character Homes provided us with a professional and dedicated service, appointments for viewing took account of our demanding "wish list" of requirements and were always completed in a timely manner.
Having submitted an offer for a property in January 2017 French Character Homes provided advice in relation to the legal / administrative process and arranged meetings with the Notaries, once the transaction was completed Susanne & Samantha also arranged for utilities to be transferred for Electricity / Water and Insurance.
Our sincere thanks to Susanne, Samantha and Jean-Marc for making our transition to France a pleasant and rewarding experience."
Brian & Saida Smith, UK
"Whilst we rarely write these notes, we are absolutely delighted to fully endorse Sam and the team from French Character Homes. We never thought that buying could be so easy, nor dealing with such honest, helpful and wonderful people. Sam has been without a doubt the best thing about our adventure in buying property in Salies de Bearn. She has wonderful local knowledge and nothing seems to be too much trouble. She is a lot more than an agent - she becomes your property partner. We would not use anyone else and would recommend French Character homes completely."
Anthony and Tam Francis, Australia
"We have just bought a lovely farmhouse with French Character Homes and would like to say how well they have taken us through the whole process. Susanne took excellent care of us and lead us through every step of process from signing the initial Proposition D’Achat to completion. She also arranged all the other administration concerning the purchase involving opening a french bank account, transferring the electricity and water accounts etc as well getting quotes for work that needed to be done such as the septic tank.
She was highly efficient and responded rapidly to emails with any question we had and was also great fun as well.
I thought buying a house in a France would be a bit of a nightmare but in fact it has been a doddle and we have Susanne to thank for making the whole purchase so easy. We are looking forward to many happy years in our new house ."
Philip & Lelly James, UK
"I recently purchased a home from French Character Homes, I especially went to them, because every house they had was indeed a home, with a lot of French Character. I was amazed at the great selection of homes they had on offer to view. Their property's are not just the typical, run of the mill homes, like you would find on other sites, they are indeed special.
I was looked after personally by Joanne & Jean-Marc , who met me in Pau to start my viewings. I saw about nine or ten property's in all, over a long weekend, and it was the last one that I saw that , literally made my jaw drop.
The property was my dream house, sitting 500 meters high on a mountain in Esquiule. The views of the Pyrenees mountains from this property, was in fact a view to die for. The house itself was completely staggering, I was in a daze, and right then, I new I had to make a commitment and buy this house. It was my dream, it could not have been any better, the house was spotless, and it was everything I wanted I a property.
Then began the process of the purchase, I had my hand literally held through every single step, from start to finish, by the lovely Joanne. She in fact made it so easy for me, that it felt like going into a shop, and saying I want that one. She made it happen, and I could not believe how easy it was. All the legalities were explained in detail, every single document was translated for me into English and again, assisted by the lovely Joanne.
So I want to say a big thank you to Joanne & Jean-Marc, who even helped me set up French Bank accounts and all my utility bills. Nothing was to much to ask of FCH, they are still assisting me today, as I hardly speak any French. The after care I would call it, is second to none. I'm so happy now, I am feel as if in am on cloud nine.
I would without any hesitation, recommend this site to anyone wanting to buy a property in France. I am 100 percent a satisfied customer. Well done Joanne & Jean-Marc from French Character Homes for making my dream come true."
Mr.Paul Rory O'Connor, UK
"Our house buying experience was a very positive one - made easier by the expertise and attention to detail of our agent Samantha Harris. Although we are no strangers to living in France, we were grateful for Samantha's help in putting us in contact with a mortgage broker and for ensuring a smooth handover of ownership on the day of sale. We couldn't have asked for more from French Character Homes!"
Martin & Deborah Ives, UK
" Moving abroad must be one of the most stressful and worrying undertakings people can experience. Let’s face it what everyone wants above all, is the security and certainty that when you make the transition everything is going to be ok and that there is help and support on hand at every stage.
It’s only when you go through a relocation that one realises how much lengthier and more complicated it is than a move in one’s own country.
Thankfully with Samantha Harris at French Character Homes we found exactly what we needed in terms of advice, support and guidance not to mention genuine care and interest in the decisions we made. No query was ever too big or small to answer, even now months after having moved in we can always turn to her for advice and help.
We didn’t really know what to expect but the process of buying our house was effortless because Samantha did all the work! "
John and Amanda MacNutt , UK
"Thanks so much Sam. We made it !!
You have made this an exciting and very efficient experience for us and we have been delighted with your professional and thoughtful support throughout. You too deserve to open some bubbly, but let’s do that together at the first chance we get to come and see our new house !
Our deepest thanks. "
Paul and Trisha O'Dwyer , UK
"What an exciting few months we have had whilst choosing and buying a property through French Character Homes !
Four months and many hudreds of hours had been spent on the internet , looking for the perfect property . At one point we would have been confident enough to identify every property in France within our specification range ! We had contacted several agents but drawn a blank.
Then one evening, having spotted “THE” house we called Suzanne , out of office hours , and she responded instantly . Within 48 hours we had flown out to see and had placed an offer on what has become our new French home.
Susanne has facilitated everything with the greatest efficiency and at the highest levels of professionalism . Her local knowledge , translating abilities , expertise in the legal field and quite the most outstanding diplomatic skills, have been a privilege to witness and be the beneficiaries of.
We would and indeed do, recommend French Character Homes to all those prospective purchasers ( and sellers too ! )who are looking for a first class professional and friendly company through which to do business.
Thank you all so much "
Neil and Ann, UK
" We wish to record our thanks to Samantha and associates of FRENCH CHARACTER HOMES, who provided extensive support and local knowledge in our purchase of a house in Arbouet Sussaute, South West France.
They followed up for us in many regards ensuring we fully understood some important local issues, and they acted very professionally in dealing with the interface between ourselves and the vendor. They were also of great assistance in understanding the French property law, and in particular in helping us in translation and dealings with the two lawyers involved (Notaires).
Samantha, and FRENCH CHARACTER HOMES come highly recommended "
Patrick & Val Hughes, FRANCE
" We would like to thank Susanne Müller Seitz for her high responsiveness, patience, professionality in dealing with our request to find a property that suits our needs. the support she was giving us during the transaction and after it has been signed was enormous. We have bought properties a number of times, but it never have been so easy as with French Character Homes. "
Janis Huebner & Lada Strelnikova, GERMANY
" How amazing. Its been a long and very exciting journey. I simply can’t thank you enough for all you have done. It’s hard to image that we would have reached this point without you. Certainly not with the same ease and confidence. The time you have spent helping me both in France and from a distance has been extraordinary.
I think Jo - you understood me better than I do by the end! Your kind help with defining and refining my wish list were invaluable. As you know i went from small castle to large manor to smaller manor to …. water mill!
I can’t wait to get to know our little mill. So beautiful. What a wonderful find.
We will keep in touch and let you know when we are over and have a celebration at the mill.
Thanks again, "
Shelley Maine & Nils Koren, AUSTRALIA
"I wanted to contact you to let you know what an outstanding experience we’ve just had with French Character Homes.
We recently purchased our home in Montfort with Samantha Harris, who was so extraordinary, we now refer to her as ‘Super Sam’; there was absolutely nothing she didn’t over deliver on. Our experience from the initial viewing to the final completion was second to none. Sam’s attention to detail, prompt communication and professionalism was just outstanding. Throughout the sale we always felt we were in safe and knowledgable hands and are so happy we found French Character Homes.
Thank you so much for a wonderful experience with your company, we’re so grateful Joanne. We will certainly be referring anyone we know who might be interested in buying in France to you.
Jason & Sara SILM, AUSTRALIA
"Well we are safely installed in our new home which we really like and it is great to be back so close to our daughter. This is just to thank you and all your team for all your courtesy and efficiency throughout all the months of negotiations. We felt so safe with you right from the word go. When you stopped at the house several years ago I always knew that I wanted you to market the place for us.
A brilliant job well done."
Pat & Peter Aldous, FRANCE
"Now that the sale has gone through and begun to sink in I wanted to write to you to say thank you so much for all you have done for us with this sale. I really appreciate all the phone calls etc that you have made to ensure this went through. I know we've had challenging times for both of us, but phew!!, it's done.
Thanks to all your team too and good luck for loads more sales for you this year.
Take care, "
Jason & Julie MONK, UK
" We purchased our first overseas home with French Character Homes and found the whole process extremely smooth. The help and advice was second to none. I would have no hesitation in recommending them to anyone else.
Thank you very much. "
Sally Groves, UK
" We settled on our purchase of the above property in early February 2015 through FCH.
Samantha was our agent and we must say that she displayed a very professional and empathetic approach to our requirements.
Nothing was ever to much trouble for Samantha and in fact she went way beyond what would be considered normal expectations of an Estate Agent.
Coordinating and explaining the legal system step by step, organising building appraisals and quotes were part of the service.
A distinct advantage in her being a fluent French speaker was also a big plus. Especially when involving the role and involvement of the Notaire.
So it can be said that the purchase of our property was stress free and resulted in a seamless transition to becoming property owners in France.
We have no hesitation in recommending FCH to any prospective house hunters in what is a most beautiful part of France. "
Dennis and Jenny Jones, AUSTRALIA
" From start to finish the buying process with French Character Homes was made simple and stress-free.
Susanne has been an absolute delight to work with. She guided me through each step of the process from the moment I sent my very first email. The day of viewings that she arranged was great fun and Susanne was very honest and straight forward in her approach, explaining each property in an objective light. She really looked after us while we were in France looking at properties. She even recommended a tour of the region which gave us great insight into what a beautiful place South West France really is. This really helped me to make the right decision for me.
I have no hesitation whatsoever in recommending French Character Homes, and Susanne in particular. She has gone above and beyond the call of duty on many occasions, including translating everything - everything - along the way! "
Lynn Higham, UK
" How often when you read a glowing testimonial do you think ‘Oh really, too good to be true’? Well what follows is such a testimonial but it accurately reflects our experience of French Character Homes when looking for a new home in this lovely part of France.
From the outset Samantha took the time to listen and understand what we were looking for. She lined up some lovely properties for us to look at and if we had not wanted to run another B & B, I think we would have been happy with many of them. However, we did have a long and rather inflexible wish list, so were not going to make life too easy for her but her patience was inexhaustible.
While driving us around to look at properties, Samantha proved a mine of information and offered much helpful advice on a huge range of subjects which would or could impact on our choice of home. Most important was her gentle insistence that we looked at one property which we had previously driven past and decided was not for us. She assured us that it was much nicer inside than its rather forlorn exterior promised and she was certain it ticked all our boxes. How right she was!
Not only did she help us deal with all the legal formalities but sourced some excellent artisans, coming along to talk through our requirements with them, arranging quotes and chasing if necessary.
So here we are, delighted with our new home and happy to know that Samantha still has us under her wing should we need her help.
The long and the short of it is that French Character Homes have the most wonderful and wide ranging portfolio of properties. More importantly, they provide a service that is second to none and if any of them offer you advice, listen carefully as they really do know what they are doing. "
Magda and Richard Green, Normandy, FRANCE
" We just wanted to say a very big thank you for everything you have done to make our move here so smooth and trouble free. Firstly identifying this property as a potential for us when we were close to buying another - it suits us perfectly and we love it. Then the help with the transition and the move was above and beyond. We feel very fortunate to be here.
Thank you so much
Very best regards "
David and Sue Gibson, SCOTLAND
" Susanne was a joy to "work" with. She reacted to the initial email within hours and kept it both simple and on-the-ball. With only 3 days' warning and probably not the most detailed list of wants and needs, she'd lined up interesting properties. Then the real fun started: visiting.
Susanne is friendly, full of ideas and listens well. I had the house picked by the end of our first day! But her involvement didn't end there, nor were her FCH colleagues shy with advice and assistance. Susanne moved the paperwork along efficiently (and the French love their paperwork) while making sure we acted promptly to our best advantage. She also made recommendations for support services, arranged preliminary quotes for various work, and eventually read meters and transfered utility accounts. It took under 3 months from seeing the property to moving in (which has to be a speed record for France) and we love it!!
Thank you so much Susanne and FCH "
Tania & Scott Revault d'Allonnes-Matthews, North Carolina, USA
"We sold our home in Southwest France through French Character Homes. Of course, we thought our home had a lot of character and anyone in their right mind would want to buy it, but the market was not good at the time and we were told by most real estate agents who saw the house that it might take 1 or 2 years to find a buyer. In the end it took one week…
Leaving aside our good fortune that the right buyer came along through French Character Homes at the right time, what quite impressed us was that - unlike most real estate agents in our experience - French Character Homes is not an agency that simply puts sellers and buyers together. Rather, they help clients with myriad types of administrative and practical problems that arise in connection with buying a house and settling down in a foreign country and, in our case, selling a house and moving away. As a simple example, we had a car that we needed to sell and they had another client that needed to buy a car - problem solved to everyone’s satisfaction. I think their services must be absolutely invaluable to foreign clients unfamiliar with purchasing real estate in France - or even not having a very good command of the language and not knowing what sort of local administrative and practical issues they need to address. I only wish we had had the services of French Character Homes when we originally bought our house. Our settling in process would have been much easier."
Tom & Linda Topping (USA and Denmark)
"My husband and I have recently sold our Basque farmhouse through French Character Homes and we cannot praise enough the enthusiastic performance by Susanne Muller-Seitz.
We had previously tried to sell the property through another well known agent and after 18 months of visits from prospective purchasers we had no success. We, therefore, put the property with another agent for a year and in that time, the agent made no visits at all. However, an Irish friend had recently sold through French Character Homes and told us how fantastic they were. So we contacted the agents and Susanne came and viewed the property and immediately said it had great potential, in a calm and tranquil setting and yet not far from commerce. She knew exactly what she was talking about and said she would try and find a purchaser who matched the criteria.
Wow - within a week, Susanne was back and the viewer was smitten. Susanne advised reputable artisans for all the necessary tests to be carried out quickly and efficiently. She was e-mailing and 'phoning us and the purchasers on a regular basis keeping us all up-to-date. Nothing was too much trouble and we cannot thank her enough for all the help and advice she gave us."
Steve and Lyn Jelf, FRANCE.
"Having just spent our first summer in our holiday home in South West France, we couldn't be happier with the house, the location, and the expertise and guidance from the team at French Character Homes.
We feel extremely fortunate to have come across the French Character Homes website, and to have had Samantha's help every step of the way. Samantha really took the time to get to know us and what we were looking for, and made the whole process of buying a house from long-distance (we live in Malaysia!) much easier than we could have anticipated. She even came with us to translate at the initial meeting with the bank manager, and is still in touch now helping ensure the smooth transition of all utilities and services for the house.
The service and professionalism of Samantha and French Character Homes is second to none, and we can't recommend them highly enough."
The Galvin Family, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
"French Character Homes, and specifically Samantha, were the best we could have found when we were investigating the south west of France for our little pied-a-terre.
The properties they have on their books seem to be the best that are on the market at the time, and one week in January this year was all it took for me to find our toe-hold in Acquitaine.
Samantha made the purchase as easy as it could be - conducted as it was from the Middle East - and is even now still holding our hand and helping us with various bits and pieces!
I could not recommend them highly enough. "
Lesley & John Durston, Qatar, UAE.
"I write to express our sincere thanks to Joanne, for finding what is now our dream retirement home in the south west of France.
Even though we had an apartment in BIARRITZ for 9 years, there were many things we could not have achieved without Joanne's aftercare service.
The house was a preferred choice for a number of reasons and after two months of living in this most beautiful part of the world my wife and I could not be happier. We most certainty would never have found such a gem without the professionalism of FRENCH CHARACTER HOMES.
With unspoiled panoramic views , Stunning house , and a location to die for, we feel as if our new home were taylor made to suite , having only viewed a handful of properties FRENCH CHARACTER HOMES took the time to listen to our wish list and understood us as people, too often forgotten by most agents when a sale is imminent ! We can highly recommend all what FRENCH CHARACTER HOMES has to offer in the search for a new home.
A big thank you to all staff for demonstrating such excellent aftercare, and a massive thank you to Joanne for helping to find our idyllic country home. "
Richard & Susan Sutton, UK.
"Having given quite some thought to buying in South West France, I had the good fortune to stumble across the French Character Homes website.
Immediately responsive, Jo started the way she was to go on, nothing was too much trouble. She and Jean-Marc listened, then guided me through the whole process, arranging viewings, providing a taxi service and once the selection had been made, negotiating a great deal.
If you want to buy a home in South West France I strongly recommend that you phone Jo or Jean-Marc. "
John Kersley, UK.
"I was a little sceptical of the positive testimonials and feedback about house purchasing experiences on property websites. Whilst we had wanted to buy a property in the right part of France for some time we were nervous about not knowing the process, not speaking the language and what we might be getting ourselves into. It is hard enough doing it in the UK and estate agents in the UK sometimes have a reputation for being a bit sharp.
I can assure you this is definitely not the case with French Character Homes. Having spent a long time looking on line, trying to research the process, and looking for the right property we eventually bucked up the courage to contact a few agents including French Character Homes.
Honestly, Samantha Harris could not have been more straight forward, more helpful with explaining the process and more attentive. She showed us around properties that we wanted to see and was understanding of our requirements. In addition to what one would expect from a good estate agent she helped us to translate, find a suitable trustworthy notary, checked out queries with the local council, helped us organise property insurance and utilities, and even attended meetings at the bank and notaires so that she could translate for us. It was almost like having your own consultant. It was really reassuring. Even now that the sale is completed she is still offering help and helping us to connect with people or services.
We are pleased to have bought our property. The whole process was actually relatively straight forward and we are very happy and grateful to Samantha at French Character Homes. "
Luke Cobbett, SCOTLAND.
"French Character Homes took our challenging property brief and successfully sourced us the most wonderful character property as well as providing us with unparalleled support not only throughout the purchase process but after we acquired the property.
Jo and Jean-Marc worked tirelessly to ensure that all our requirements were met and introduced us to key contacts to help us understand the implications of setting up a business in France as well ensuring the sale went through smoothly. They were there every step of the way and still provide assistance post completion.
French Character Homes offer a service that no-one else can in SW France and we would not hesitate to recommend them to anyone thinking of buying in the region, whether it’s for a holiday home, or a primary home and/or with business requirements, we do not know of anyone else who is more capable of providing excellent insight and support. "
Mel & Dave Walker, UK.
"Dear Joanne, Sam and Jean-Marc,
As you know we are truly delighted with our new home. Living in Australia and trying to buy a property in France was both exciting and daunting at the same time. When we contacted your agency we were struck by the amount of support and assistance you all gave us at every step of the process. This allowed us to feel totally secure during the purchase and afterwards. Despite all the research we had done prior to contacting you, nothing had really prepared us for the process of buying, French Character Homes made it all so easy as you were there at each step explaining everything - and translating!! Accompanying us to all meetings to translate and assist was invaluable to us personally.
Not only did you do all this - you were so enjoyable to deal with at all times.
I think the most impressive part has been the assistance given after the purchase, initially helping us with setting up utilities and still - 3 months on - you are happy to answer questions. We really never expected a Real Estate Agency to be so honest and straightforward whilst at the same time to be such fun to deal with!! You gained our respect within minutes of our first meeting.
We look forward to our visits to France now, not only to see our beautiful house but to catch up with you all - and hopefully one day purchase another home!! "
All the very best
Lucy and Scott Quibell, AUSTRALIA.
"Nous avons été heureux d'être accompagné par Joanne et Jean Marc pour l'achat de notre maison.
C'est sur le site Internet de French character Homes que nous avons trouver "la maison de nos rêves".
Joanne et Jean Marc nous ont accompagné tout au long de ce projet d'acquisition, y compris en nous conseillant sur les écoles des enfants.
En effet, nous arrivions de Paris et ne connaissions pas la ville de Pau. Aujourd'hui, nous sommes installés dans notre béarnaise face aux Pyrénées, nous apprécions les vignes, le jardin... Un petit paradis. Un grand merci à eux! "
Valérie & Philippe Ballet, FRANCE.
"In March 2013 my family and I were living in the US, but with the intention of moving to France later that year. Having perused multiple web-sites we contacted French Character Homes having seen a property in their portfolio that we were interested in viewing.
From the outset we were struck by Joanne’s professionalism, but also her kindness and consideration, as she helped us through the process of visiting properties, undertaking various surveys, arranging estimates and ultimately acquiring the property. I should add that Jean-Marc was also very helpful and provided us with excellent advice and guidance.
We have bought a number of properties both in the UK and US over the last 30 years and whilst we have invariably received professional service, we had not previously been the beneficiaries of such excellent care - French Character Homes went far beyond providing support for a property transaction, indeed they could not have been more helpful and accommodating."
Anne & Robin Simpson, Massachusetts, USA.
"Heureux acquéreur d'une splendide demeure, merci à toute l'équipe de French Character Home et à M Labardacq pour sa disponibilité, ses conseils, son professionalisme et son carnet d'adresse riche en artisans efficaces. Nous avons particulièrement aprécié le suivi toujours assuré après la signature. Merci beaucoup. "
A Billaud, FRANCE.
"Dear Samantha and the team at French Character Homes
Liz and I would like to thank you for making the process of buying our new French home such an enjoyable and relaxed experience. With moving from Australia we found your communication and attention to detail very reassuring. We also really valued your help in organising electricity, water and even the internet for us so it was all working from day one.
Thank you once again and I would have no hesitation in recommending French Character Homes to anyone buying or selling a home in southwest France."
Nigel and Liz Barker , UK.
"After two weeks of intensive house viewing in the South-West, we spent our last day in Pau and immediately felt that this was the place for us. This was in no short measure due to the warm welcome from Jo and Jean-Marc of FCH. They have a great selection of houses on the website and we returned two months later for a more detailed tour of the area. Their advice and assistance were invaluable in finding the right property, introducing our fantastic neighbours and in helping with the practicalities of daily life, schooling, house maintenance etc. A big thank you to both. I unhesitatingly recommend FCH"
David & Florenda Boyle, HONG KONG.
"Joanne, before too much time passes, we want to take a moment to express our gratitude for your help in buying our new home here in Salies. You, Jean-Marc and Samantha have redefined what ‘realtor’ means in our minds – from real estate specialist and trusted advisor to caring, helpful and supportive friend. As you know, relocating from the San Francisco Bay Area to the Southwest of France was a major transition for us on many levels. You consistently ensured that, what could have been a daunting experience for us, was manageable, stress-free and fun. Your team was right there at every step along the way – from area and property selection to the negotiation, documentation and move-in processes. Your knowledge of the local community and culture as well as French laws and policies was invaluable; your diligence, responsiveness and personal commitment without equal. You’ve helped make our dream a wonderful reality. Thank you! We recommend you to others in the sure knowledge that they’ll quickly come to value your competence, professionalism and friendship as much as we."
Dave and Suzanne Lewis, USA.
"We recently sold our property in France through FCH , with help from Joanne and Jean-Marc. They have guided us with professional experience through the long and difficult bureaucracy and process required under French Law. Their guidance and support through the whole selling process have been very honest, reliable and highly professional. Being Norwegians, the translations of documents have been invaluable. They have taken every concern and every question we have had seriously with immediate response, and we feel that they have been very open minded and honest to both parts in the selling process.
Their service is truly unique and we cannot recommend them high enough for both sellers and buyers of properties in France. We wish FCH a prosperous business and for sure we know who to contact if we ever should be back on the house market in France."
Elisabeth and Trond Johansen, NORWAY.
"We have bought a beautiful house in southwest of France, and being a foreigner and with no experience at all in purchasing property in France, it was a blessing to have done this with French Character Homes, I got first in contact with Samantha Harris by phone, explaining to her my needs, she was extremely welcoming, perceptive and understandable of our requirements, it didn't take long we have found what we need and the whole buying experience was clear, effortless and pleasant thanks to Samantha & FCH."
Nihal and Christian Hess, SWITZERLAND.
"We had a simple dream – a home in France for our children, family and friends to enjoy year round: We have been so fortunate to be introduced to the lovely team at French Character Homes who from the very beginning took time to understand the specifics of that dream, to listen to what would make it come true for us including things like schools, proximity to beaches, skiing, French country markets, airports and local artisans to help with the renovations and maintenance of the property while we are still working overseas. We have already had the most memorable Summer, Easter and Christmas vacations – precious times with so much more to look forward to; I can’t recommend more highly the professionalism, the brilliant connections and the on-going commitment to our dream that we have received from French Character Homes!"
James & Linda Stanbridge, SINGAPORE.
"We would recommend French Character Homes without any hesitation: everyone at the agency was exceedingly helpful and generous with their time and knowledge of both the properties and the processes required under French Law. Our agent, Samantha Harris, guided us through the sale with both patience and ease and has continued to provide assistance and advice long after the sale was complete, we cannot praise the service of this company enough."
Wendy and Richard Barker, BELGIUM.
"The whole experience of buying our beautiful house in France was completely painless as all the hard work was done for us by Joanne and Jean-Marc. They understood exactly what we wanted and combined this with their own knowledge of the area to ensure that we found the property to suit. We also had a lot of fun during the process! They continued to offer us advice and support well after the purchasing process had been completed and we would wholeheartedly recommend this agency to anyone contemplating buying a property in France."
Hilary and Clive Hamer, UK.
"After a three year fruitless search for our special home in South West France, we contacted French Character Homes in October 2011 to see what they had to offer. We needed to find something quickly as we had sold our UK home, and our buyers wanted in!!
Joanne took a detailed brief from us and within a few days had provided us with a picking list of not less than 11 beautiful homes. A couple of days later we arranged a viewing trip, and after a few days had found our new home. Throughout the whole process Joanne, together with her partners Samantha and Jean Marc provided invaluable guidance. Professionally and thoroughly advising us through the buying process, which includes many mind-bending technicalities!
We have no hesitation in recommending French Character Homes. The team are honest, trustworthy, demonstrate a high degree of professional integrity, and perhaps most importantly have been reliable and responsive to our needs. It has been a real pleasure working with them."
Elizabeth and Len Selby, UK.
"We recently purchased a property through French Character Homes, the deal was negotiated by Samantha Harris, and we could not be happier. From the very first telephone conversation with Samantha, we were impressed. She was knowledgeable, honest and most importantly she listened. We explained our situation and our needs and told Samantha what we wanted. When we arrived in France, Sam had arranged for us to view four houses that day. At each, Sam discussed with us our feelings about the properties, and we liked the way in which she moved us to the next property if she gauged one wasn't for us. We bought property number three, which was different from what we thought we wanted, it was so much better! And Sam held our hands every step of the way. In fact we feel that Sam went above and beyond the call of duty, and we are incredibly grateful to her for that. We couldn't recommend French Character Homes and especially Samantha Harris highly enough."
Jenny & Simon Marsh, UK.
"I would have no hesitation in recommending French Character Homes to anyone interesting in buying French property. They have a good handle on the market and know what is available. They showed us a number of interesting houses that matched our requirements, including the one we fell in love with.
What is more impressive however, is their commitment to getting the deal done. As we wanted to buy some of the farm land surrounding our house, our purchase was complicated. Joanne and Jean-Marc worked tirelessly for a whole year to make it happen, and they guarded our interests throughout the negotiations.
Finally, Joanne and Jean-Marc were immensely helpful after the property became ours. We think of them as true friends and very much hope to see their business prosper."
Grenville Byford & Orit Gadiesh, USA.
"French Character Homes (FCH) provided a complete service, holding our hand from the early search stages through to setting up our utility bills after the acquisition was complete. The daunting paperwork involved in buying a property in France was made infinitely easier by Jo and Jean Marc, who were always on hand to guide us through the purchase. The service provided was professional but had personal touches which instilled trust in the relationship, giving us peace of mind as we sat 4,000 miles away.
FCH gave us a comprehensive list of excellent properties that met our vague requirements. Jo was able to home in on what was important for our needs and desires despite us not knowing ourselves. Jean-Marc’s technical knowledge and creativity help us visualize what renovation could be done to a property and for what cost. I would have no hesitation recommending FCH’s unique service."
Rachael & James Grafton, HONG KONG.
"French Character Homes, made my French Home buying experience very simple. I set the impossible task to find my perfect retreat in 2 days, and they nailed it. Moreover, FCH negotiated hard on my behalf and then made the completion procedure very easy to understand and execute. One year down the line, my family feels less a client of FCH, but more a friend. Help and advice is just a call away, and that means the world, when the house is a 14 hour flight away! One big thank you."
Sarah & Jason Yates, SINGAPORE.
"As first-time, non-French speaking investors in French property, we were very fortunate to work with French Character Homes. Joanne and Jean-Marc worked strongly in tandem to ensure that our buying experience was pleasant, well-organised and ran smoothly. They were incredibly responsive to our every query and concern, and their after-sales service was impeccable. They delivered on all their promises to hold our hands throughout the entire process and in fact, went out of their way on several occasions for us. Thank you, French Character Homes for helping us find our 18th century pride and joy, the most beautiful home we have ever owned."
Ralph & Winnie John, DUBAI.
"Great Service, over and beyond our expectations. Nothing was too much trouble. We could never have coped without Joanne’s help with translation. We would recommend any prospective purchaser contact Joanne & Jean-Marc to view available properties.
A year later, we still look at the French Character Homes website and recommend it to friends and contacts in Australia who are considering purchasing in France."
Valerie & Ian Robinson, AUSTRALIA.
“Unlike many Estate Agents, the world over, who simply want to sell you their inventory of houses, French Character Homes started right by trying to match our requirements and what we wanted with what they could find in our preferred area of France. They followed up, by accompanying us all the way along the sometimes arduous and sometimes heartbreaking process of purchase, and then marvellously continued to help us when settling in to our new home. Theirs was always a charming and efficient service, which we felt gave us one of our happier experiences of house hunting.”
John & Twinkle Carter, UK.