Cracking Up in the Marais
French Property Insider
Thursday, October 16, 2003
Bonjour French Property Insider Subscriber,
Jocelyn Carnegie, our Property Search Manager, has been showing Marais apartments to a young client who happily found the pied-à-terre of her dreams on the corner of two tiny Marais streets in a 16th century building. The building leans out in classic Marais style. The wood beams in the apartment are massive. It is solid charm, including the cracks that come with the movement of a building as old as this one and the view of the streets is out of a movie set.
Derek Bush, our recommended architect, came for an inspection and gave the building a seal of approval — the cracking is very normal and not a structural problem. Whew! The concerns were lifted, the negotiations took place and we’re preparing to sign the Promesse de Vente next week on our client’s behalf.
Meanwhile, Jocelyn has been negotiating himself with potential buyers for his own home outside Paris. Château Gabriac is a 10-bedroom family château set on the edge of a charming village in the Seine et Marne region, with its own river frontage. We’re keeping our fingers crossed, as he dealing with foreigners whose style of negotiation is quite different from his own.
Porter Scott, our renovation and antiques specialist, is busy overseeing the work at the rue de la Huchette apartment. The antique iron railing is being cut and welded and placed onto the mezzanines. The 18th century gilded mirror has been installed above the fireplace. A “vaisselier” (to store the dishes and serving pieces in the dining room) has been designed and is being built for a spot next to the kitchen. A sound specialist has started work to insulate walls between our apartment and a neighboring studio apartment and is adding double-paned windows to soundproof the apartment from the neighboring Latin Quarter gaiety. Renters arrive at the end of November, so he’s under pressure to have every detail in place and the apartment to be perfectly luxurious.
Tomorrow we meet with the owner of the apartments on sale who hold 1948 leases. For all of you who are interested in these properties, we will have more details to disclose, as these properties are for sale of half of their proper value because of the restrictions of the leases held on them. Watch next week’s newsletter for a complete report.
Editor, French Property Insider
Volume I, Issue 36, October 16, 2003
In this issue:
* Privilege, Pleasure, Profit…Your Pied-à-Terre in Paris
* They’re Crackin’ Down on Visas
* Cracks in a 16th-Century Corner in the Marais
* The British Invade the Dordogne
* A Currency Exchange Update
* Hot Property: Terrace with a View
* Property For Sale: In the Heart of Paris and the Dordogne
* General FPI Information…
THE PRIVILEGE, PLEASURE AND PROFIT OF OWNING A FURNISHED RENTAL APARTMENT IN PARIS
By Porter Scott
Paris is privilege…Paris is pleasure. Each and every one of us comes to Paris to indulge in at least one of life’s pleasures: from food to frolic. Just being in Paris is a privilege, and of course, owning an apartment in Paris compounds your joy in knowing that a piece of the city is yours.
You can come and go as you please because you have a Parisian home that is always available for you, your family, and your friends…unless you decide, in a business like fashion, to rent your apartment as a furnished flat in order to make your investment in pleasure and privilege a profitable and pragmatic one. In fact, a well placed investment in the right real estate can provide you with a very good return on your money, all the while providing you with the requisite personal pleasure and satisfaction (you decide when to keep the place available for personal use).
One of the main reasons that furnished apartment rentals in Paris can be profitable is that Paris is virtually a 12-month-a-year rental market, meaning that there is almost no off season for rentals. Furthermore, despite wars, strikes, terrorism, and the like, people continue to come to Paris, often to take their minds off of their lives elsewhere. Since France is the leading tourist destination in the world and Paris is the country’s main attraction, then it becomes fairly evident that the Parisian rental market is uniquely positioned to defy the seasonal rental phenomenon that afflicts most every tourist destination in the world.
The main trick to making money with your Parisian real estate is in finding (and creating) the right product; which, as most everyone knows, depends to a great extent on the location. You still have to appeal to the tourist trade with the appropriate product. The truth is that there is far more demand for quality products in the best neighborhoods than there is supply. I know people who have the wherewithal to buy in cash; but who have not been able to find their dream apartment for years. This problem of availability is aggravated by the fact that in many cases, when a Parisian apartment in a good building is for sale, other people in the building or their neighbors quickly intervene to buy for themselves. The good places go very quickly…and this has almost always been the case in Paris.
Paris is a finite entity. The city is completely surrounded by a ring road and as a result, the inner city is becoming more and more expensive, no matter what the neighborhood. As an art student and photographer, I used to roam the streets of Paris both on foot and on bike and I can vouch for the fact that there are beautiful buildings and neighborhoods in every district or arrondissement. The few slum dwellings that prevail today are fast disappearing. All of this to simply say that buying an apartment almost anywhere within the confines of the Parisian “périphérique” is a good idea, as long as the price is right. If your goal is not necessarily to make an investment that generates income a
nd pays for itself, then the range of possible purchases you can consider is far greater than for someone who wants to make an investment that is almost immediately profitable. In both cases, of course, the investor can usually make a good profit over time on the resale of the property.
Choosing the right real estate means that you to need to clearly define your objectives before leaping into what often becomes a frantic search, particularly when you come over to France to look for a place to buy in a short period of time. Once you have determined your goals and your budget, then you should proceed, in a more or less methodical fashion, to find a place to buy. By methodical, I mean trying to focus on the areas, streets, and particular qualities (aesthetic, practical, etc) that are most important to you. This is the way you avoid wasting your time and energy looking in the wrong places at the wrong products. Real estate agents have a bad habit of taking clients to see things in areas that do not fit their clients needs. Staying firm and focused will help you maintain your sanity and reach your goal.
I proceeded to buy my apartments by, first of all, choosing the neighborhoods and the very streets where I would like to own an apartment.(Just because an apartment is in the 6th arrondissement does not mean that it is a desirable apartment to own). Then I made a checklist for objectively evaluating each apartment’s characteristics on a scale of 1 to 3. After seeing dozens of apartments for sale, I was able to review what I had seen and compare the different pluses and minuses. In this way, I was able to keep a clear picture of the market and what I would be willing to accept (because the perfect product does not really exist).
EDITOR’S NOTE: Porter Scott will be speaking at the Working and Living in France Conference October 24 – 27, 2003 here in Paris. He will be focusing on the five major categories of concern that he finds essential to proceeding in a business like fashion:
I. Finding the Right Apartment in Paris
II. Fixing the Apartment Up for Furnished Rentals
III. Establishing the Rental Policy and Pricing
IV. Managing the Rentals and Marketing
V. Accounting for the Overhead
Porter Scott is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of the University of Virginia and Phillips Andover Academy who was born and raised in Birmingham, Alabama. After graduating from college with a double major in French and Studio Art (with a little architecture thrown in), he came to France in 1980 to pursue his art studies at the Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Beaux Arts in Paris, where he obtained a diploma in Painting and the Plastic Arts in 1986. During this period of study, he also took courses in the history of French furniture at the Museum of Decorative Arts in Paris and in so doing, his interest in antiques, artwork and antique building materials grew from a passion into a profession.
For a number of years now, Porter has been taking mostly American clients (dealers, decorators, and private individuals) on antique buying trips throughout France. His forte is in being flexible and adapting to his clients tastes and needs in order to help them find what they are looking for as quickly as possible, and within their budget. He is also adept at recognizing quality items at good value. His sources range from dust filled wholesale warehouses in the countryside to the sumptuous, pedigreed Left Bank antique shops of Paris. For people building or remodeling homes, Porter helps them find antique and reproduction building materials (large limestone trumeau mantels, stone door surrounds, flooring, fountains, etc) that transform a house into a distinctive, unique dwelling.
As a parallel and complementary activity, over the years Porter has involved himself in buying and renovating apartments in Paris and houses in the countryside. He is very much a ‘hands on’ owner, having done a lot of the work himself. He has been renting out apartments in Paris since 1986 and he presently has 3 elegantly furnished apartments in the central Paris 6th arrondissement district that he owns and manages. He is now handling the refurbishing and the rental of the International Living apartment on rue de la Huchette in Paris, as well.
To contact Porter Scott, email him
STOP…YOU CAN’T BOARD THAT PLANE!
By Jean Taquet
QUESTION: I have a friend who just had a problem getting on a flight with a return ticket past 60 days — do you know what the new ruling is?
ANSWER: If this friend is French, there is now a regulation that states that beyond 60 days there is a risk of staying in the US illegally. On the other hand, if it is an American living in France without papers, if he buys a round trip with dates far apart then there is a suspicion of fraud.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Editor’s Notes: Jean Taquet is a French jurist and associate member of the Delaware Bar Association, specializes in civil, criminal and commercial law. He frequently gives courses about the legal system in France and will be speaking at the upcoming International Living Working and Living in France Conference in Paris October 24 – 27. He is also well known for his informative Q and A columns in past Paris Free Voice magazines, which can now be purchased in one document as “The Insider Guide to Practical Answers for Living in France”
ATTACHED TO THE 16TH-CENTURY CRACKS
By Adrian Leeds
One of our readers has been apartment hunting this week with the help of our Property Search Manager, Jocelyn Carnegie. Her sights were set on the 3rd arrondissement (the northern part of Le Marais) after falling in love with rue Charlot where she is renting an apartment for the week. This isn’t surprising to me in the least, as a resident of the “quartier” and a complete devotee of this “petit coin” of Paris.
The oldest house in Paris is here in the 3rd — built in 1407 at 51, rue de Montmorency. It is the “Maison du Haut Pignon,” that was owned by Nicolas Flamel, the most famous alchemist of the Middle Ages. With his wife’s help, he succeeded in transmuting lead into gold. They were owners of many fine houses in medieval Paris and generous people, too, as they used to welcome and offer meals to the homeless. This house was a haven for many. Today it is the restaurant “Auberge Nicolas Flamel.”
Another one of Paris’s oldest houses it at the corner of rue Volta and rue au Maire at number 3 that is totally unmarked as historic and houses
a Vietnamese restaurant of Soup Pho. Many argue that it is older than the Flamel house. This tiny corner, a part of the a small Asian enclave, is rarely passed by tourists and is easily missed. I pass it often on the way to one of my favorite Chinese restaurants, Chez Shen…on rue au Maire just at the corner of rue Beaubourg…authentic and very inexpensive.
Property in the 3rd arrondissement has seen tremendous increases in prices over the last three years (about 13% appreciation each year) and is still on the way up as a desirable part of Paris to live and own property.
In their search for a pied-à-terre, they had the luck to discover another one of Paris’ little treasures…a corner apartment in a 16th-century building in the same immediate area as the Maison du Haut Pignon and one long block from rue au Maire with the characteristic angled facade, all recently renovated. The street where one enters is very narrow and pedestrian, therefore quiet, and the other is also narrow, but lined with wholesalers that shut their doors at 6 p.m. leaving it tranquil for the evening. The views from the corner “salon” are stunning of these narrow Marais streets. The ceilings are beamed, nothing is at right angles and the floor tilts. It’s all part of the charm.
Today, our expert architect, Derek Bush, came for a look to verify the structural quality of the building, as there are small fissures around the apartment. He reassured our client that a building of this age, built of wood, and with some concrete (later poured), that moves and settles with time, isn’t in fact going anywhere, at least not for a long while. The cracks on the walls in my own apartment (17th-century) are constantly reappearing and with every one, I get a little more emotionally attached. I’m sure she will, too.
“DR. DEREK’S” ARCHITECT’S ADVICE AND SERVICES
If you have basic questions concerning apartment and home renovation, contact our resident expert Derek Bush by visiting http://www.adrianleeds.com/frenchproperty/insider/services.html
THE BRITISH ARE COMING…TO THE DORDOGNE
By Richard Bond
Now, with the extensive television programs in the UK dedicated to owning a second home or perhaps starting a new life overseas and the growth of the budget airlines that operate to most areas, France has never been more popular.
The Dordogne region has been a favorite destination for the British for many years and continues to be, although property in many other areas of France offer more for your money.
The British are generally interested in old (give or take a few hundred years) houses or farmhouses, many of which are transformed into “gites” (vacation cottages) as well as family homes. Increasingly, barns are becoming very sought after and can sometimes be transformed into quite wonderful properties.
I am in the process of buying is an old Perigordine farmhouse with several outbuildings and about two acres of land with apple, peach, and fig trees, and of course grape vines. It is one of a handful of houses in a small hamlet in a gentle valley just north of the Double Forest within easy reach of Bordeaux and Bergerac airports. It is in need of total renovation and for that reason is fairly well priced, but these types of property are becoming few and far between.
Local estate agents who sells mainly to the British and Dutch market expect there to be only enough of these properties for another three years, but there are still a few bargains around if you are prepared to look. Prices have been on the increase steadily by between 5 and 10% each year.
TODAY’S CURRENCY UPDATE
Rates as of 2003.10.16 08:42:31 GMT.
1 U.S. Dollar equals Euro 0.852664 (0.855461 Euro last week)
1 Euro equals U.S. Dollar 0.861169 (1.16121 last week)
1 U.K. Pound equals Euro 1.43777 (1.41828 Euro last week)
1 Euro equals U.K. Pound 0.695521(0.705078 last week)
SEEKING A MORTGAGE IN FRANCE?
The International Living Paris Office can help you secure a mortgage in France with interest rates as low as 3.35%.
* FOR SALE: FPI HOT PROPERTY OF THE WEEK
We are constantly looking at properties for sale to offer to our subscribers only. Each week we will be bringing you one or two properties we believe are especially worth your consideration. As a subscriber, you will have an exclusive first look at these.
Properties sell very quickly in Paris. The best way to find the apartment or home of your dreams is to allow us to do a preliminary search before your arrival so that you visit only the best of the properties and can make a decision quickly.
To learn more about our property search services, visit: http://www.adrianleeds.com/frenchproperty/insider/propertyconsultation.html
– TERRACE WITH A VIEW OF THE EIFFEL TOWER
1950 building, 17th arrondissement, 9th floor with lift, 46.1 square meters, very bright east/west exposure, one-bedroom with 9 square meter terrace and a beautiful view of the Eiffel tower and Sacré Coeur. Large Living room, open kitchen, hardwood floors, lots of closets and windows. Guardian, digicode. Needs some renovation.
Asking Price: 245,000 Euro
Serious Inquiries Email: 17th_with_Terrace
* FPI PROPERTY LISTINGS – SALE
All of the following apartments are for sale by owne
r. There are no agency fees incurred with the exception of a finders fee we place to connect you with the owner and assist you in the purchase. We have chosen two very high level properties and two very low level properties, but both in very rentable areas of the city, should you wish to make your investment profitable.
The prime rental neighborhoods are the 1st – 8th arrondissements, but each depending on location within each arrondissement. The most requested is the Ile Saint-Louis, second the 6th, third the 4th. The most expensive property in the city is the Place des Vosges in the 4th, Ile Saint-Louis (also 4th) and the 6th arrondissement.
– RUE TIQUETONNE, 2ND PARIS
For sale by owner…Recently renovated 32.4 square meter one bedroom apartment on the 4th floor with a lift, wood beams, open American style kitchen, lots of light and a great layout in the heart of the Montorgueil market area.
Asking Price: 215,000 Euro + 2% Finders Fee
Serious Inquiries Email: Tiquetonne
– NEWLY RENOVATED ON ARQUEBUSIERS, 3RD PARIS
One-bedroom, 41 square meter apartment on the ground floor entirely renovated with exposed stones near the Saint-Sébastien Froissart Métro.
Asking price: 215,000 Euro + 2% Finders Fee
Serious Inquiries Email: Arquebusiers
– SARLAT, DEPARTMENT 24 DORDOGNE
For sale by owner: In beautiful Périgourdine stone, at the edge of the town, 130 square meters with a large salon, stone fireplace, 3 bedrooms and two baths, toilet, office, equipped kitchen, cellar, garage. An upper level possible for a second 70 square meter home. Perfect for gite or bed and breakfast. 700 square meters of land surrounding the home is planted with trees, two independent entrances, 500 meters from the town.
Asking Price: 228,000 Euro + 2% Finders Fee
Serious Inquiries Email: Sarlat_Gite
PARLER PARIS APRES MIDI MEETS TWICE A MONTH
NEXT MEETING: October 28, 2003 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. AND EVERY SECOND AND FOURTH TUESDAY OF THE MONTH
This is your opportunity to meet twice a month, often with local professionals who can answer your Working and Living in France questions. You are invited to come for drinks and share your questions and comments about what it takes to create a life here, own property and enjoy what France has to offer. It is also an opportunity to network with other Parler Paris readers.
For a detail description of the past meeting and for more information about Parler Paris Après Midi, visitb http://www.adrianleeds.com/parlerparis/apresmidi.html
Don’t forget that with your FPI subscription you are entitled to a discount on the purchase of any Insider Paris Guides. You’ll find details of the guides at http://www.insiderparisguides.com. When ordering, a box will pop up allowing you to enter the following username/password
Order more than one guide at a time and you will receive an additional discount!
RENTING AN APARTMENT IN PARIS OR HAVE AN APARTMENT TO RENT?
If you are seeking to rent a furnished apartment for a week, a month or a year or you have an apartment you wish to rent, there are a couple of ways we can be of assistance. Click here for more information: http://www.adrianleeds.com/frenchproperty/insider/forrent.html
THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW
- FPI Website: To access any password protected pages, the username is: fpiuser and the password is: paris1802. If your computer utilizes cookies, once you log into a subscriber only section, the login information will remain active for seven days, after which you will have to login again.
- Past issues of FPI are available on the website. You will find the “Past Issues” link on the left under “Subscribers Only” or by going to http://www.adrianleeds.com/frenchproperty/insider/subscribersonly/archives.cfm
- To receive your free French Leaseback Report or the Paris Property Report, click on http://www.adrianleeds.com/frenchproperty/insider/subscribersonly/reports2003.cfm and download the pdf versions.
- Instructions for upcoming conference calls are on the FPI website. You’ll find the link under the “Subscribers Only” section on the left of any page.
- Get In On The Discussion: Care to weigh-in on current HOT topics of discussion on France? Get in on or start your own thread on our bulletin board at http://www.agora-inc.com/forums/index.cfm?cfapp=15
Elegant, Tasteful, Calm at Saint-Germain-des-Prés, 6th arrondissement, one bedroom apartment, sleeps 4. Amenities: Fireplace, Phone, Cable TV, Full Kitchen, Microwave, Refrigerator, Cooking Utensils provided, Linens provided, Washer & Dryer, Bathtub with Shower.
For more information, visit: http://www.adrianleeds.com/frenchproperty/insider/rentals/scott.html or contact Cherche_Midi
Total Elegance at the Doorstep of Notre Dame and the Famous Shakespeare and Company…in the heart of the Latin Quarter on rue de la Huchette… This is another of International Living’s very own Paris pied-à-terre in the finest location possible. You’ll find yourself just right at Notre Dame, Kilometer Zero (from which all distances in France are measured) and one-half bloc
k from the famous Shakespeare and Company bookstore (where Sylvia Beach and English literature in Paris all began) in the heart of the Latin Quarter. The RER station from Charles de Gaulle and Orly Airports is just at the next corner — Place Saint-Michel. For more information, visit the site or contact Huchette
FALL PROMOTION WITH PARIS MARAIS — 20 to 30 % off weekly rentals!
* Florentin studio available October and November, 500 Euro/week
See Florentin for details.
* Medieval suite available October 11 -24 and all of November, 700 Euro/week
See Medieval for details
Stay in your own 17th-century pied-à-terre in the heart of Saint-Germain-des-Prés, Paris, by the week or month. Sleeps 4. Newly furnished and redecorated. Totally charming. From $150 per night. Visit http://www.adrianleeds.com/frenchproperty/insider/rentals/mazarine.html or contact Rendez-Vous à Paris
== FOR SALE ==
DUPLEX ON THE LEFT BANK
Paris Left Bank — 13th arrondissement bordering the 5th, duplex on the 3rd and last floor plus a loft, total 87 m2 with 71m2 Loi Carrez (above 1.8m2). Quiet, sunny, lots of character (wood beams, traditional staircase) with stairs from living room to loft. Main bedroom downstairs overlooking east courtyard and living room overlooking rue Pascal. Two rooms upstairs, living room 27m2, toilet/shower/bath separate, equipped kitchen, storage room, cellar, double glazed windows and pine wooden floors. Rental history 1850 euro per month.
Asking Price: 445,000 euro
Call for private sale: +33 (0) 6.74.98.08.27 or Email: Duplex_on_the_Left_Bank
2 lovely apartments in the 1st arrondissment across the street from the Tuileries Gardens, 3 minutes form the Place Vendome. Available for rent by the week or longer term: 6 months to 1 year. 2-3 bedroom duplex w. 2 baths/ Tuileries view. OR 1-2 bedroom same building. Both are elevator accessible, non-smoking and no pet properties.
To check them out and for reservation and contact information go to http://www.youlloveparis.com.
HELPFUL CONVERSIONS FOR REAL ESTATE
To convert square meters to square feet, multiply 10.763 by 3.281 and for more conversions, refer to:
SUBSCRIBE TO PARLER PARIS
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Copyright 2003, Agora Ireland Publishing & Services Ltd.