Emma Casanova works in the Lake Annecy area of southern France as a Leggett estate agent. But as well as being a property agent, Emma is a paraglider pilot, representing Great Britain at World Cup level. She certainly has the best property views of any estate agent in the area!
Before moving to Annecy, Emma lived in Paris, having moved many years before from London. She learned to ski in the Three Valleys, and eventually moved south with her family, and says she never looked back.
“Lake Annecy is a location that provides an absolutely ideal combination of beautiful environment and work. Even the work itself is varied and interesting. It’s a nature base for all things outdoors”, Emma told me when I talked to her recently.
“I really do play every day and live life to the fullest. Sport is my passion and I have to do something outside every day! I took up paragliding in Annecy when I moved here from Paris with my children, and now represent Great Britain in the sport. Annecy is in the top three destinations worldwide for paragliding because of its complex aerology and natural beauty. The views really are incredible from up there! During the competition season, I fly for a couple of hours a day.”
As this year’s competition season approaches, Emma has planned her time so that she can continue to compete and run her Leggett estate agency business. “Unless I’m showing a property, a lot of my work can be done virtually. I just have to be organised. My first competition is in mid-June in Spain, then it’s on to the Southern Alps, and ends in Macedonia. However, the summer is a busy time for property agents in this area, so if I have to drop out of a competition to attend to the business, that’s OK too. It’s all about being flexible.”
How Leggett and I fell for each other
“Since 2002, I’ve had an Alps-based rental and property management company, with a focus on the winter months. It had become expensive to run and competition from AirBnB and others made it a tough market to be in. One day, I met a Leggett agent in the area who had sold a property to a client of hers. The client was looking for a property manager. We got talking and I found myself very open to her suggestion that I join Leggett! So, Leggett found me, and I found the company a very interesting proposition.”
Emma did her training with Leggett in the summer of 2016. She then spent the next few months wrapping up her property rental company and re-positioning her locally based property management business. By August 2017 she was ready to launch as a Leggett agent. Today, Emma’s working week is three-quarters Leggett and one-quarter property management.
The place to enjoy a very high quality of life
“It’s unlikely you’ll hear the word ‘boring’ about Lake Annecy because there is only one word that springs to mind when describing this place: ‘Awesome’! Whether it’s strolling through the cobbled streets of medieval Annecy, shopping on the Rue Royals, sampling local wine and cheese, or taking part in all the outdoor sports available, there is more to do here than there are days in the year, and after living here for 15 years, I am still ‘doing’.”
“The scenery is forever changing, and with nature’s gift of predictable weather and four distinct seasons, there is an incredibly high quality of life here.”
Why Emma loves working with Leggett
I asked Emma what it is about Leggett that makes her sound so happy to be one of their agents. She instantly rattled off three benefits:
- “We have 40 people working throughout the Alps, but we are all part of a team, which is very important to me. There is great solidarity among us and we help and support each other immensely.”
- “I have great flexibility to enjoy the environment I live and ‘play’ in every day while running a professional business.”
- “The Dordogne-based Head Office team are quick to answer questions and they make me feel as though I am part of a big family.”
Keeping in touch
“Though both my children are now living and studying in the UK, it’s easy to visit them, with Geneva airport an hour away, or the TGV from Annecy to Paris and then a hop across the Channel.”
A Day in the Life of Emma Casanova it sounds like heaven (if you like heights!):
- Wake up and open the curtains to take my first view of the day of sparkling Lake Annecy.
- Drive up to meet a client selling their home and sign the mandate.
- Back down the mountain to my home office to attend to emails and other business.
- Afternoon hike up the hills, behind the apartment overlooking Lake Annecy, with my little dog Gin (as in Gordon’s!) and my paraglider strapped to my back. Strap Gin into her own harness and enjoy the 10-minute flight back down.
- Check through work emails and plan for the next day, then take my horse out for a 45-minute ride.
- Time for a last look at the lake twinkling in the moonlight…
I asked Emma, if someone was undecided about applying to become a Leggett agent, what would her number one piece of advice be that might persuade them to go for it?
“I have real estate experience, managing and renting out properties, but knowing about real estate in France is not the main key to success. Instead it is enjoying being in contact with people, being naturally curious (perhaps a bit nosey!), enjoying sharing local knowledge, meeting local people, having a thirst for research, and being gregarious and outgoing.
Lake Annecy is a new area for Leggett, and though there are several agents from other companies in the area, Emma is confident that with the Leggett approach and ethics – that is caring and supportive while providing a comprehensive professional service to buyers and sellers – she can “crack the market” and change local and international opinion that “French estate agents do nothing!”. However, Emma needs more colleagues in the area, so if you’re interested in a work-life balance like Emma’s why not join us in Albertville at the next local recruitment event on 14 June to find out how you can achieve that.
This article was sponsored by Leggett.