Though we looked at a few different properties, the one we eventually bought was one we’d seen while we were still planning to buy a house. We were initially attracted to it because the photo on the realtors’ site showed the Îlets de Pigeon – quite simply the best view from this part of Guadeloupe. We made an appointment with the agents, a married couple, Paul and Céleste, who insisted on making a day of it and showing us several other properties as well. As is the custom here, we had to sign a bon de visite attesting that they showed us these properties.
The only one we were interested in was the original: a triangular property of about 2200 square meters, separated from a smaller triangle, also for sale, by an old, overgrown road. The land, covered in thorny acacias and a magnificient tamarind tree, slopes gently to the bottom point of the triangle, which is 50 meters from a rocky beach and about 200 meters from some of Bouillante’s famous hot baths. The bottom third of the triangle as well as everything between it and the sea is unbuildable. We eventually decided to make an offer on the larger piece, with hopes of buying the other in a year or two in order to end up with a square of about 4000 meters total.
There was a lovely view of the sea from our future property, but bizarrely, the Îlets were nowhere in sight. When I asked about this, Paul explained that he hadn’t had a chance to take pictures for his site, so he’d used a “similar photo” from another island! This, needless to say, made us doubt the professionalism of these agents, and we were hesitant to purchase the land through them.
As we recommenced searching, it turned out that not only did our original agent Anny-Claude have a listing for the same property (we’d never noticed it because it was the photo of the îlets that got our attention in the first place), but the starting price was considerably lower. The couple had it listed for 73K, Anny-Claude for 63K. So we discussed everything with her, explaining that we’d visited the property with this other agency and had signed a bon de visite but that we’d much rather buy it through her. She assured us that this kind of thing happens all the time and that she’d take care of it.
We made an offer of 58K in late December and the seller accepted it just after the first of the year.
Note: Guadeloupe is an overseas French department, and up until 2015, 90% of its tourists were from mainland France. This means that French is the official language and English is not widely spoken. To make the most of your trip, I recommend that you learn some French.