About Us

Established in 2005 by Tim Swannie and Francois-Xavier de Vial, HOMEHUNTS offers a complete, professional property search service for clients interested in luxury properties in France, Monaco, Geneva, London, New York and Miami.

We are a fully registered Agent immobilier in France with our own Carte Professionelle but we act for the buyer rather than the seller. We work with all of the best selling agents, builders and private owners so that we can cover the whole property market in all areas. We do take properties for sale directly but unlike a traditional agent, we are not restricted to the properties on our books and we search the entire market for our clients.

Since the creation, our focus has been to offer the very best service we can for our clients, we have won a number of prestigious awards for our service over the years. Our team of consultants are multi-lingual, they all have an in depth local knowledge and they are all experts in the property buying process.

The success we have experienced at HOMEHUNTS is due to our exceptionally high standards and our energetic and dedicated enthusiasm for achieving the best results for our clients. We endeavour to succeed in all aspects of the business, continually improving ourselves as we find more effective ways to increase our range of services. Our ultimate goal is to exceed our client’s goals and expectations. We want to turn your dreams into real estate.

The Home-Hunts Team

Tim Swannie

Tim Swannie . Director

Tim is English and was born in Harrogate in North Yorkshire. He has 20 years experience of the property and recruitment industries across Europe with particular expertise in the UK, France and the Benelux. Tim moved to live on the French Riviera in 2003. He was drawn to this part of the world by the weather and quality of life, having been a regular visitor to the area for many years. The idea of Home Hunts was born the following year when Tim was introduced to Francois-Xavier by a close family friend. Tim is based in the Cannes area but travels extensively throughout France and overseas. As well as managing and expanding the overall business along with Francois-Xavier, Tim is responsible for the marketing and advertising for the company. He also spends a lot of time working alongside the sales team, taking care of clients both in France and London. He speaks English, a little Dutch and tries his best in French!

Rebecca Capel

Rebecca Capel . Website & Database Administrator

Rebecca left the UK for France in 1995 where she had worked for a number of years for a property builders in Cheshire. She arrived on the French Riviera and joined a boat as crew. After several years travelling the world, whilst always having a foothold in Antibes, she and her partner decided to buy and renovate a property in central France (near Poitiers). The project has been a labour of love for a number of years and is in fact, still ongoing. This process has given her first hand knowledge of the buying, selling and renovating process in France. In 2010 she decided to relocate to The Var and joined Home Hunts as the Website Administrator. It is Rebecca’s role to ensure that the website is constantly kept up to date with new properties and that the information we provide to our clients is as informative and current as possible.

Francois-Xavier de Vial

Francois-Xavier de Vial . Director

Born in Normandy and brought up in Paris, Francois-Xavier has over twenty years experience in international sales and marketing and has travelled to more than 100 countries. Francois settled in Marseille in 2002 with his wife and son, having lived in all corners of the globe and he now loves living and working in the heart of the Provence. He represented an English based estate agency in the South of France for some time before setting up HOMEHUNTS with Tim in 2004. Since this time, he and Tim have developed the business to cover many new regions and counties and his time is now split between managing the sales teams, the support team at the head office and focussing on business development. There is nothing he likes more than to be out on the field with his colleagues meeting clients. He speaks French, English, German and Spanish.

Sarah Deligny

Sarah Deligny . Customer Support Supervisor

Sarah, a natural people person, chose to work in the hospitality industry when she finished her education. After working and travelling extensively for many years, she settled in South West London where she met her French husband. In 2000 they made the wise decision to escape the city and to bring up their 2 young boys in the spectacular Verdon region of the lower French Alps, behind the Riviera. With 300 days a year sunshine, mountains and fresh air it was the best choice they have ever made. Sarah and her family have now moved to the French Riviera to be close to the excellent international schools where both of her boys are studying. She joined the Home Hunts team in 2010 to help with the expansion of the company. She is the first point of call for all enquires. Having bought 3 properties whilst here in France she has a broad knowledge of how the French buying system works.

Karen Garibian

Karen Garibian . Administration Manager

Karen is based in our head office in Marseille. She has dual citizenship - French/American, the best of both worlds! She has now been living in France for 20 years, for the past 13 in Aix en Provence and before that in Paris. Karen has a BA in French/Spanish with international relations from the University of Wisconsin. In Paris she worked for “Union de Banques Suisse” in the logistics department. When she arrived in Aix en Provence in 1998, she opened up a restaurant as she loves to cook and being around people. She then went on to managing an American program for students in Aix and did a little tourism as she loves Provence and wants to share it with others. Karen is responsible for keeping the whole team in order and offers much needed support on a daily basis. She also manages all of the internal processes, contracts and accounts for the company. She speaks French, English & Armenian and a bit of Spanish.

Nicola Christinger

Nicola Christinger . Languedoc Manager

Nicola spent over 10 years working for the BBC in News and Current Affairs and later ran training courses to teach people how to handle the media. She then moved to Zurich in 2000 where she set up her own English Pre-school which she ran for seven years. As a child she lived in Paris, and then later on in Marbella and Bahrain but always knew that she would return to live in France. She has now based in the Roman city of Nîmes with her family and has firsthand experience of the property process both in France and Europe. She has extensive knowledge of that certain “Je ne sais quoi” feeling, having been the Editor of a property/lifestyle magazine about southern France and continues to write for a number of magazines published in France and Switzerland. Nicola is the manager of Provence and overseeing her team of consultants, her areas of responsibility include Aix en Provence, Les Alpilles, Uzes, The Luberon, Haute-Provence and the Provence coastline. She is also responsible for producing the Homehunts newsletter ‘The Address’.

Catherine Meyer

Catherine Meyer . Consultant – The Var

Catherine was born and grew up in England to Russian/English parents. At nineteen she studied Russian at university and afterwards went to work in Moscow. There she worked in the property business, meeting her English husband who was also working in Moscow specializing in luxury housing. In 1998 they left Moscow and spent two years in Oman before returning to England and setting up a property development business. Over 7 years ago she settled in the Var with her four children. She joined the Home Hunts team to help with Russian clients and is also responsible for the coastline from Saint Raphael to Saint Maxime and also the Fayence area in the Var where she lives. Catherine speaks English, French and Russian and has an excellent knowledge of her local area as well as the nearby Riviera.

Myriam Chabanel

Myriam Chabanel . Consultant – Provence

Myriam was born in Valence, South East of France. As a teenager, she visited Avignon and had the intuition that one day she would return to live there. Originally qualified as a Travel Agent, she initially moved to London in 2001 to learn English where she started working in Real Estate which gave her a sincere passion for properties. Myriam has 10 years solid experience in the London property market (West End and The City). She managed a wealthy, efficient and successful office specializing in high end rental properties. Now based in Provence, close to Avignon, she enjoys being back closer to her family and loves the better weather and quality of life! Her areas of responsibility include Avignon, North Luberon and Mont Ventoux area. She speaks fluent English and is still trying her best to get her French back!

Chris Moore

Chris Moore . Consultant – The Var

Chris spent fifteen years at Philip Morris International, initially at PM UK and subsequently in the Gulf and Switzerland. As founder of Karizma Marketing Services Chris designed and directed numerous sales and marketing related workshops for over two thousand participants in over 60 countries since 1991. Chris relocated to France in 2008 and although Karizma remains Cyprus based, Chris is now part of the Home Hunts team in the south of France. He has an intimate knowledge of the Var region of Provence including the popular villages of Cotignac, Correns, Aups, Villecrozes, Plan de la Tour, La Gard Freinet and Grimaud. Chris would be delighted to assist with your property search in Provence, so don’t hesitate to contact him if you have plans to purchase a property there.

Brigitte Appert

Brigitte Appert . Consultant Marseille to Toulon

Having bought, renovated and sold houses in several areas of France, Brigitte has developed a strong taste for beautiful property. After 30 years of working in technical positions (financial manager, wages and salaries adviser, equity capital provider…) Brigitte followed her husband to Marseille 7 years ago. Coming from Versailles and Paris, the change was quite tough but she soon discovered the qualities that Provence has to offer. Marseille itself is a constantly changing cirty and is entering an exciting new era at present having been awarded the European City of culture accolade in 2013. New museums and luxury hotels are opening in the city, the famous Vieux-Port has undergone a complete renovation and most importantly, the commercial port is relocating further out of town which makes the centre more appealing to the foreign visitors. Brigitte, who was introduced to Home Hunts founder, François-Xavier by friends, was delighted to have the opportunity work in the business of finding luxury homes in France for foreign clients. The area she covers stretches from Martigues to Toulon and her job is to develop the selection of luxury, charming and prestigious properties throughout her area.

Jane Lees

Jane Lees . Consultant - Var Coast

Before moving to France in 2000 Jane lived in London where she ran her own publishing company, producing guides and magazines for among others, Heathrow Express, Eurostar and BAA. Jane fell in love with the Var coast between Le Rayol and Hyeres whilst holidaying in 1999 so much so that she sold up and moved there to the beautiful village of Bormes les Mimosas in January 2000. Still in the same area today she has built up an extensive knowledge of this beautiful coastline and its villages. In England, Jane had a passion for property investment and renovated many houses and apartments. This love moved with her to France, where she has created several beautiful homes from \'run down ruins\'. With a natural flair for \'what could be possible\' and a learned knowledge of her local area, Jane will be an enormous addition to your property search, helping you identify that perfect home or investment assuring you of the best attention and access to the most important agents in the area and finding the best range of luxury properties available at any one time.

Herve Levy

Herve Levy . Manager – Paris

Brought up in the Paris area, Hervé has 15 years of international sales, marketing and management experience while working as Sales Director Europe for a key U.S company in textiles. With his wife and 3 children Hervé lives in a beautiful, historic village close to Versailles. He dedicates his time to taking care of Home Hunts international clients. Herve loves a challenge and with his extensive local knowledge and international background, he is very well placed to help buyers to really search for properties in Paris or one of its many beautiful suburbs. Hervé speaks French, English and German.

Amy Bault

Amy Bault . Manager – French Riviera/Monaco

Born in Hong Kong but moved to Biot with her French Husband 8 years ago, Amy has been working for Home Hunts for more than 7 years and she is very knowledgeable about the buying process in France. Amy has a banking background in Asia and France. Besides speaking Chinese (Mandarin and Cantonese) fluently, she has also mastered French, English and Japanese. With more than 15 years’ experience as an expatriate in many Asian and European countries, Amy understands very well the expectations of our clients trying to find their dream property on the Cote d’Azur. Whatever you want to know about living in France as a foreigner, ask her, she can tell you!

Valerie Innes

Valerie Innes . Consultant – Languedoc

Val has had a lifelong association with France and the French people. She lived and studied in France, Spain and Switzerland and worked throughout Europe before returning to the UK in the mid-seventies. Her long sales career in the UK involved working for international household names (like Procter & Gamble, J&J, Rank Organisation) and travel further afield to Australia and Canada. Having moved house numerous times both in France and the UK, working as an independent estate agent, translator and hotel manager, Val settled permanently in France in 2006. She is very familiar with the bureaucracy and cultural and social changes one goes through when purchasing a property in France. She knows Languedoc and Midi-Pyrenees especially well and is based near Limoux, Aude. She is interested in art, history and architecture and, finds the more relaxed pace of Mediterranean life very appealing. Val thrives on meeting new people and encouraging them to benefit from such a lifestyle and more sunshine in Languedoc Roussillon Val speaks English, French and Spanish and gets by in German and Italian.

Albert van Creveld

Albert van Creveld . Consultant – Languedoc/Aude/Hérault

Albert was born in The Netherlands, but having lived in many different countries, Albert can be considered a world citizen. After high school in The Netherlands his international aspirations began through university in Belgium and after that an MBA degree in the USA. He successfully started and later sold his own business in The Netherlands, after which he moved to Switzerland, Belgium and the US, where he has lived for 13 years. In early 2010, he and his family decided to fulfill their dream and start a B&B in the beautiful Languedoc region, in between Narbonne and Carcassonne. He and his wife thoroughly enjoy meeting different people from all over the world as guests in their B&B. His experience in international business, the hospitality industry and his personal record of moving 27 times in his life, can be very valuable in helping Home Hunts clients find their ideal property in the Languedoc. Albert speaks Dutch, English, French and German.

Kirsten Pollard

Kirsten Pollard . Manager – South West France

Kirsten Pollard, BA Hons, studied French Language and Literature at University College London. A natural linguist, Kirsten has also studied German, Italian, Spanish and Dutch, and always taken every opprtuinity to study, work or travel abroad. She has lived in France, in the Dordogne, since 2003, where she is happy to be bringing up her three children as bilinguals. Kirsten is keen to listen to the needs of an international clientèle and will do everything she can to help and guide them through the intricacies of the French buying process and bureaucracy and enable them to live the French dream.

Sue Li

Sue Li . Consultant – French Riviera

Sue was born and brought up in Shanghai, China but decided to move to the French Riviera in 2000, looking for warmer weather and a healthier, outdoor way of life. She has a masters degree in finance which she obtained at a French business school and has experience of working in a variety of sectors including communications, customer relations and luxury property. Sue lives with her husband and daughter in the Antibes area has an excellent knowledge of both Antibes and Cannes, the areas in which she works. She is both professional and a great listener who loves meeting new people. She speaks English, French and Mandarin and is here to listen, understand and help you find your dream home!

Chris Leder

Chris Leder . Manager – Geneva/French Alps

Having worked in music marketing in London in the late 90’s, Chris decided to take a break by spending a winter in Meribel, and never went back. After a second winter in Courchevel, he then moved to Tignes, where he spent 8 years owning and running a successful bar restaurant in Val Claret which he sold to spend more time with his family. He joined the Home Hunts team early 2011, and hasn\'t looked back. He knows the Alps from Mont Blanc to Briancon like the back of his hand, mostly down to the fact that if he’s not at work, you’ll either find him fly fishing, paragliding or skiing his way around the mountains, depending on the time of year. Chris is based in Vuiz en Sallaz, ideally situated between Geneva and Chamonix, and after and years of living and running a business in the Alps, he is more than happy to share his knowledge of the mountains, Alpine real estate, and the often complicated French system. Half English, half American with a French daughter and partner, Chris obviously speaks the language like a local.

Brian Cubbidge

Brian Cubbidge . UK Director

Brian heads the London office and is based at Stratton Street, Mayfair. He has more than 20 years experience in the property and financial services sectors, providing investment advice to high net worth clients. He first started working with Home Hunts when he moved with his family to the French Riviera in 2007 and instructed us to find him a house. We have remained in close contact ever since and were delighted to work together to launch our service together in the UK in 2011 Brian is married with two children, he is a keen golfer and a committed West Ham fan.

Jeremy Coates

Jeremy Coates . Manager - Brittany

After various seasonal jobs in French resorts Jeremy decided to return to the UK and continue his education. Upon finishing a degree in Hotel Services Management in Edinburgh he returned to seasonal work as a resort manager in both winter and summer resorts in France and Spain. Unable to give up the French lifestyle in 2000, Jeremy decided that it was time to work for himself and this led to him buying and renovating a piste side bar restaurant in Tignes. Eight successful years later, the bar/restaurant was sold so that he could spend more time with his wife and three children. Still not wanting to leave France, the family moved to Southern Brittany where they bought a large gite with a rundown cow shed. The first clients staying at the gite arrived three days later, but it took two years before the total renovation of the cowshed was completed and it became the house that the family still live in with the obligatory dog, cat and chickens. Having bought five and sold four properties in France and having completed the extensive renovation of his current home, Jeremy has experience of both the legal and practical issues involved within the French property market. He also has an excellent knowledge of the beautiful Brittany region as well as speaking fluent French and English.

JAMIE IVEY

JAMIE IVEY . CONSULTANT - PROVENCE

Jamie left the UK in 2006 to live in the Luberon. Since then he has published four books about life in the south in France. He has also authored the Luberon section of the Time Out Guide to the South of France. In 2009 Jamie purchased a plot of land and built his own house, an experience which gave him plenty of insight into the complex world of French estate agency and working with local tradesmen. He lives with his wife and three daughters who all attend the local school. Jamie loves the Luberon and is determined to help buyers find their dream home. In his spare time he publishes an online magazine about the region www.provenceguru.com

Rory Ramsden

Rory Ramsden . Consultant – Aquitaine

Having worked at the top end of the interior design world first in London, then the middle east and finally in the Channel Islands for 20 years, Rory decided on a complete change of pace to indulge his other passion… Sailing. After staging a major championship in Guernsey, his organisational and marketing skills lead him to stage Olympic windsurfing World and continental championships world wide for the next 20 years. Rory has lived in France since 2007. First in Paris, where he learned to cook at the Cordon Bleu. Then in Provence, where he wowed guests and their friends with his cooking at a 600 year old Mas. And now in south west France, where he has settled down amongst the rolling hills of the Dordogne to enjoy the French lifestyle with his wife Lizi. Rory is keen to introduce you to the area and help you find the property you really want with the minimum of hassle. He will do everything he can to help guide you through the French buying process so you too can live your dream.

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