French Property of the Week: Stunning lakeside stone house in south of France

Does a picturesque lakeside property in a woodland setting in the south of France appeal? If so, our property of the week could be your ideal French home.

French Property of the Week: Stunning lakeside stone house in south of France
Photo: Leggett Immobilier
Where is it?
The property is situated near the spectacular historic hilltop town of Najac (see below) — unsurprisingly named one of the most beautiful villages in France– in the southern French department of Aveyron. 
Photo: AFP
The town of Albi, with its spectacular Cathedral, is just 45 km away and the property is also within striking distance of the small, picturesque city of Rodez (79km) and Montauban (64km).
It is also just under two hours away from Toulouse-Blagnac airport by car which offers a wide choice of flights around Europe, including flights to the UK and Ireland. 
Map: Google Maps
How much does it cost?
The property costs €985,000 or $1,150,852 or £878,817 depending on exchange rates. 
Describe the property
The house comprises 230m2 of livable space spread over three floors, with four bedrooms and two bathrooms.  
Situated in substantial, mainly wooded grounds, this property sits on the edge of its own private lake 
The lounge, which is on the ground floor, has a fireplace and views of the lake. 
The master bedroom suite (29m2) also has stunning views over the lake, as well as a balcony and a private staircase to an en-suite luxury bathroom, which has been featured in magazine photo-shoots.
Outside, the property has a swimming pool which is near completion and a covered summer dining terrace. 
Why buy it?
Estate agent Leggett Immobilier says: “With views over the lake from the lounge, kitchen and master bedroom suite and woodland views elsewhere, this is a tranquil spot for relaxing away from the hustle and bustle of a busy life.
“Many walkways have been made through the private woods on both sides of the lake. The interior is being finished to a very high standard with high quality tiling and oak fittings throughout. Really must be visited to appreciate this rare setting.”
And the pictures

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Courtier: Should you hire a broker when buying property in France?

If you're researching the French property market, you might have come across mentions of 'courtiers' - here's what they do and whether they are necessary.

Courtier: Should you hire a broker when buying property in France?

The French ‘courtier‘ is usually translated as a broker, and the Notaires Association describes their role like this: “the broker is a true intermediary in banking operations. His/her role is to negotiate the best rates for you, but not only that: they will also find the most advantageous financing conditions for the realisation of your project.”

Essentially they act as an intermediary between you and the banks, so they’re only required if you need a mortgage or a loan in order to buy your French property. 

Their job is to research the best deals for you and then to help you put together your application and ensure that all your paperwork is correct – unlike the notaire, instructing a courtier is not a required part of the process, so the decision on whether to instruct one is up to you. 

So is it worth it?

Among French buyers, around 30 percent of mortgages are obtained using the services of a courtier, and this rises to 60 percent among young, first-time buyers, who generally find it harder to access credit.

Some of things to consider are your level of French and confidence in negotiating French bureaucracy, your financial situation (since French mortgage lenders tend to be stricter than those in the UK or US) and whether you currently live in France or not (since there are extra hoops to jump through for overseas buyers).

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“Things have changed,” Trevor Leggett, group president of Leggett International estate agents, told The Local. “It’s now more important than ever to work closely with a reputable broker.

“In France it is all paper-based, very old-school and extremely bureaucratic, a different world entirely to the UK. Preparing the client “dossier” so that it will be accepted is an art form.”

READ ALSO MAP: Where in France can you buy property for less than €100k?

He advised non-resident international clients, particularly, who may not be au fait with the French system to seek the help of a broker who knows the ropes.

“The question is no longer really about savings,” he said. “It is about finding a bank that can actually lend to the client profile, interests rate are secondary. 

“It occasionally happens that one bank can be played off against another, or to shop around, but it’s a rare event nowadays.”

READ ALSO Revealed: The ‘hidden’ extra costs when buying property in France

And he had no hesitation in recommending that prospective buyers find a broker to sort out the financing.

“The lending market has tightened for international buyers and a good one is worth their weight in gold,” he said.

READ ALSO EXPLAINED: Time-frame for buying and selling property in France

In France, you make an offer on a property and then you begin the mortgage process (while in the UK it’s the other way round) so problems in getting your mortgage approved could lead to you losing your dream property.

“[Using a courtier] can be the difference between buying and not,” added Trevor.

“It’s not just any possible language barrier – but understanding the process and the different players in the market.”

How much?

The cost of hiring a courtier is borne by the buyer – but how much do they charge?

The courtier usually charges a percentage of the total mortgage amount – fees must be fixed in advance and are only payable once your mortgage application has been approved. 

Fees vary between different areas and different businesses, but the average fee is €2,000, which amounts to around one percent of the purchase price.

Many brokers set a minimum amount – around €1,500 – for smaller loans, and take a percentage of larger loans, so how much you pay depends on your property budget.