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Interview with Patricia Toohey 12 June 2017

All our real-estate agents have their own story to tell about how they started to work with Riviera Keys so we decided to start with Pat Toohey who has been with us the longest and is representing us in the VAR-district and all the way to Saint Maxime.

How did you start working with real estate, was it always a dream or?
- " It was by accident really. I had been working in travel in the UK and when I moved to France, I wanted to continue but it was difficult and so one day when I was in Lorgues on market day, a friend introduced me to a man who had a real estate agency in Bargemon and was looking for an assistant. So I went from selling holidays to selling holiday homes!"

How did you start working with Riviera Keys?
-"It was 11 years ago and I had a house for sale in Lorgues. Harald contacted me since he had clients who wanted to see the house. Some weeks later the agency I was working for was selling his agency and moving to America and Harald called me and asked me if I wanted to work for him."

How does a typical workday in the VAR look like?

- "In this job no two days are the same but I start every morning by answering emails and then I chase up potentially new clients by phone or email. I check that my mandates are up to date. I may visit a property to discuss the price with the owner and see if it is worth taking a mandate. If I have viewings I make the appointments and prepare the property details. I go to an occasional coffee morning or a lunch and I attend to receptions and try to meet as many new people as I can since you never know where you are going to find a new client who wants to buy or sell a house. Tomorrow afternoon for example I am going to a drinks party in Sainte Maxime where an agency is opening a new office."

What do you enjoy about your job?
- "I love meeting new people and the fact that you never know what each day will bring. Meeting people of different nationalities and walks of life. People who are buying or selling
houses are excited and thrilled since it is something new happening in their lives, so you can not say that it is a depressing job."

What kind of different nationalities do you meet?

-"Mostly French actually, a few Swedish and Norwegians and English as well, but the English are mostly vendors and not buyers. Occasionally and very rarely Dutch or Belge. French buyers are mostly from Lyon or Paris looking to buy a holiday home and for the smaller budgets you have the people who are already living here looking to change their house."

What kind of houses are people mostly looking for now?
- "Around 350 - 450 000 € for a villa with a pool, 3 - 4 bedrooms and close to the village - not further away then 2 km."

Can you tell us a funny anecdote from your time as a real estate agent?:
 - "Yes, I once sold a house in Bargemon to an American couple who had never seen it. Their friend saw it and took photos for them, I sent them the paperwork and they bought it through a power of attorney. Two months later they came to visit and I was so nervous in case they would not like it but happily they came up to me and said "It's much nicer than we thought it would be!"."

What would you give as an advice to someone who is looking for a house in the South of France. I mean the one thing you always wish that buyers would benefit from understanding?
- "If you really like a property, make a serious offer as soon as possible. I have seen so many buyers lose out on their favourite property because they don't act quickly enough."

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