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Interview of Samantha Woodgate – local agent in Limousin

Posted by Sextant Properties on December 15, 2020

Samantha Woodgate – Estate agent in Chamberet (Corrèze department)

Samantha Woodgate joined Sextant French Property in August 2014 to continue her career as an estate agent. After two years with Sextant, she now shares with us her experiences since coming to France, how she came to be a part of our burgeoning team of representatives, and the highs of working within the Sextant French Property family.

Samantha, can you tell us what you did before coming to France and since your arrival?

I lived in Dubai for ten years and had my own catering company there. In 2006 I moved to France with my now husband who already owned a property in the Limousin. I had originally wanted to take a year off, but soon after arriving I landed a job with a local estate agency in Chamberet. I worked there for 3 years and was in charge of British clients between 2006 and 2009. This is where I met Brice and Matthieu, the co-founders of Sextant. Our estate agency had a partnership with their company, so since 2006 I’d been used to working with them and already knew how they operated.
In 2009 I fell pregnant with my first child. I happened to have maternity leave around the same time as the economic crisis hit. Because of this upheaval in the property market, the agency where I worked had to close. I was lucky in that respect; it wasn’t a difficult decision to make to stay home and look after my family. I had another daughter and they are now four and seven years old.
During this period, Brice stayed in contact and kept calling me to find out when I would start working with Sextant. He knew I was a good agent, so we kept in contact. When my youngest daughter started school, I decided to restart my career.

What were your first impressions when joining an organisation like Sextant?

The first six months were different from working in a classic estate agency. I was used to working only with clients, dealing with the needs of both buyers and sellers. A lot of the administrative duties and other areas were the responsibility of someone else, and we had a huge client list. Now, it’s solely down to me. I had to build up my list from scratch, prospect new properties, do the mandates and take photos of the houses that are up for sale. It’s been hard work but I’ve thoroughly enjoyed it and am proud of my efforts and achievements.
The other big difference is that the market is not the same as before. When I first worked as an estate agent in France it was a seller’s market. When I came back to the industry after a five year break it had completely U-turned.
I really enjoy the relationship that is initiated between the clients — both owners and buyers — and me. Now, it’s been almost two years I’ve worked for Sextant. I am very happy and very busy!

What do you like about the company?

First of all, the amiable aspect of the Sextant team attracted me to go work with them. The personnel based in London are very friendly and effective. Whenever I have a question I just send an email and someone answers me quickly. The agents’ follow-ups are very good and helpful.
Another thing is that the computer system is extremely user-friendly. We use Adapt Immo which is a real-estate transaction software with loads of practical functions such as announcing multicasting, estimations, and website management, among many other features.
As an English person, I particularly enjoy the international element of Sextant French Property. Clients worldwide are calling us to visit houses we have mandates for in France. They feel reassured when they see the company is internationally known and has agents speaking different languages.

What tools does Sextant provide that help you to work?

The marketing department makes great use of social networks. I think Facebook is one of the best because I can post my houses on it and my friends and family can share the posts in their own newsfeeds, and it’s more personal than some other platforms. Also, clients can connect with me really quickly via Facebook, it’s much more manageable than other kinds of publicity and it’s free, which is good for any business. Today, everything happens on the Internet so it’s imperative, as agents, as business people, to have a professional and accessible online presence.
Another great part of working with Sextant is that every month they provide training courses to help us improve and constantly reinvest in our own careers. I take advantage of these courses to facilitate my clients’ needs more effectively and generally be more successful in my job. They provide training on subjects like photography, for instance.
There’s also a lot of support and encouragement from my fellow agents. I can pick up the phone any time I need and speak to one of the team if needs be. It’s good just to chat about things generally, hear about how others are getting on in their areas and how the market is developing or changing. I sometimes talk particularly with Rebecca Hervieu in that respect, so there’s never a time I feel isolated, even though I mostly work on my own.

Have you got any advice for our agents or future Sextant agents?

Sextant excels in customer service, which puts you on a winning track from the start. They also offer great rates of commission (70%) where most agencies only offer 35% commission. It’s a great team to be counted in.
For those who already work with Sextant, and especially if you are a French agent, it is vital you understand what British clients are truly searching for. British mentality is very different from the French one.

A final word?

I am very happy with Sextant — 10/10!

You can find our properties for sale in Correze here


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