Hélène Aubry is a property finder specialised in helping potential home buyers in the purchasing process. She talks to us about her services, the housing market in the Grenoble area, her expat background and how she came to set up her own business.
I have created Adequacium, a property finding company whose main objective is to provide a complete and high-quality service to the real estate client.
The role of a Property Finder is to search your dream home, guide you through the purchasing process, help you with the paperwork and price negotiations, and provide you with all the services you need to settle down.
Unlike a real estate agency, a Property Finder does not sell anything; we represent the buyer and work towards the client’s goal.
This kind of business has existed for over 15 years in Northern Europe and in the US, but it is still relatively unexplored in France. According to French law, being a Property Finder requires the same accreditations as real estate agents, such as a degree in law and real-estate studies or professional experience, an authorization from the police prefecture, and financial guarantees and insurance. I myself graduated in finance and real estate management from Grenoble University in 2007.
The main advantage of the Property Finding service is that by hiring a Property Finder, you will save time, secure the purchase process, save money in the negotiation, and overall undergo much less pressure. The service is for many different kinds of people, be it someone searching for a family home, a holiday residence, a plot of land, an off-plan investment or even a professional looking for commercial premises. Living far away is not an issue, as someone is working for you in your future home town. Another advantage is that a Property Finder investigates the whole market process for you: real-estate agencies, private owners, notaries, property developers and their own private network.
In order to better explain what I offer to my clients, here is a step-by-step description of the process:
- During a private interview with the client, I get their detailed requirements and wishes: what kind of home are they looking for, where, and what their budget is.
- I search the ads on the internet, in newspapers, and make use of my network, process and tools in order to find the house or apartment that fits as closely as possible the buyers’ requirements.
- I shortlist to a pre-selection, visit the properties and produce a detailed report with photos, positive and negative points about the property, and send it by email to the client. I also check the property’s area, for items such as shops, schools, communication facilities, etc.
- When the client has selected some of the properties presented to them, I plan and organize the visits.
- Finally, once a decision to buy has been taken, I negotiate the price with the vendor.
- I will then accompany the buyer during the whole process until he signs the deed of sale before the notary.
- I can also provide other services in order to help the customer and his or her family settle down.
- I have been building my website, and you will be able to find more information on it soon, before the end of February I hope.
The reason why I have created such a business is mainly because I had been an expat in California for about five years, and I know how difficult it can be to find a house for your family when you arrive in a new country. You don’t know where the nice, friendly places to live are, the market and price levels, the real estate agencies and their reputations, consumer-protecting laws, the process to purchase or to rent and the rules that may apply. Having a professional and local guide for all these tasks and questions really is a great relief.
I have lived in the Grenoble area for more than 30 years, mainly working as a project manager for a consulting company. From this first professional experience, I had the opportunity to collaborate with multinational companies in the Rhône Alpes region. This allowed me to create a good professional and personal network. I decided to create a new business on my own in 2005, and took classes at Grenoble University in finance and real estate. I graduated in 2007, started a business as a finance advisor in 2008 and then Adequacium in 2009.
The real estate field is not in very good shape compared to the period 2000–2007, but I would say recovery is around the corner. Prices rose too high during the boom (more than 100% for some properties) and the speculation kept going. The market needed to slow down. I do not believe that prices have stabilised yet, as there are still some properties that are overpriced. Vendors have been waiting to sell and buyers are still waiting to see prices go down. However, for those who need to change home, it is possible to find some good opportunities; we have negotiated prices down by 12% in some cases, something which was not possible even one year ago. It is also a good time to buy due to mortgage interest rates being fairly low with a risk of them climbing within a few months. We can say that the situation has been improving, so let’s be positive and start great projects in this year 2010.
Telephone: 06 42 58 09 08