Ask the agent
No one knows the area like a local estate agent. We asked Charles Smallwood, of Agence l’Union, for the inside track on Tarn
What’s the cheapest property you have on your books?
We have a handsome stone-built threebedroom village house available at the truly bargain price of €99,000.
What’s the most unusual property you have sold in the past?
We sold part of the mighty 14th-century barbican that was originally a look-out defence tower in historic Cordes-sur-Ciel. It was fully restored and offered superb elevated views.
What’s the most unusual request you’ve had from a client?
We once had a client seeking an abandoned church to create a chambres d’hôtes.
How much would you expect to pay for:
a detached property with land in good condition? From €250,000-275,000 upwards.
a three-bedroom townhouse? Approximately €175,000-200,000.
a renovation opportunity? From €75,000 upwards. All of these depend on the location and condition of the property.
Is there a typical architecture or style in Tarn?
Most houses in Tarn are built of locally quarried limestone with roman tiled roofs. Farmhouses often have an external stone staircase leading up to a first-floor covered bolet (balcony) and there are many pigeonniers and stone barns. Maisons de maître (manor houses) have a very stylish appearance with an impressive stone double frontage.
Why do British people buy houses in Tarn?
For a wide range of reasons! Tarn is the gateway to a new and idyllic lifestyle with virtually no crime, hardly any traffic, wonderful space, an excellent climate, traditional values and friendly local people.
What advice would you give to somebody who is thinking of buying in your area?
Make sure you seek to buy through an agency with the carte professionnelle which is obligatory under French law. We ask clients to present their wish list in advance so that we can recommend the best choice having seen all the properties personally. Allow at least two days for your visit to experience all the regional delights and have sufficient time to view the properties.
What are your predictions for the property market in Tarn?
The market has indeed picked up and we have made many more sales to UK buyers recently who have benefitted hugely from reduced property prices and the substantial increase of the pound against the euro. However there is still a wide choice of properties, prices have stabilised and it’s a great time to come and buy. Toulouse international airport offers regular flights from several UK airports and the A20 and A68 autoroutes make Tarn easy to reach.
What’s your favourite corner of Tarn?
There are so many attractive corners to explore but Albi offers so much culturally, has some quality restaurants and a superb golf course!