Do You Have the "Edifice Complex?"
Looking over the rooftops of le Marais
September 24, 2009
Bonjour French Property Insider Subscriber,
There is no question I have the "Edifice Complex" — a phrase coined by someone else to mean something different, but fits nonetheless in the context of our ‘disease’ to own French property. If you’re reading FPI, then you likely have it, too. Read all about it in today’s issue of French Property Insider, along with the latest account of the ongoing saga of the "Viager with a View" — now in chapter 7 with upcoming tales to tell.
Le Marais is in the spotlight today, thanks to the city’s initiatives to preserve, protect and enhance the district. For that reason, we bring you a short report as well as a few Hot Properties in the 3rd and 4th arrondissements to whet your craving for your own "pied-à-terre."
Moneycorp.com, our partner currency specialist, has news about the sterling-euro situation that may be valuable to you and there is much to learn from our associate publications which bring you articles on a variety of important issues. Financing is one — as if you consider refinancing property you already own, you can increase your investments and revenue potential with virtually no out-of-pocket investment of your own.
width=”210″ height=”152″>Editor, French Property Insider
Email: [email protected]
P.S. For all of you new to FPI or newly renewed (at the special price of $29), be sure to register for the free Conference Call, "Your Pied-à-Terre in Paris: Own It All or Just a Fraction," on October 18th. The number of participants is limited and to participate, you will need your call-in instructions. Email [email protected].
Volume VII, Issue 38, September 24, 2009
In this issue:
* "Le Saint-Tropez," the Story Continues
* A Property Complex in Paris
* France Tops Spain in Property Buyers
* The Changing Face of the Marais
* Subscription Renewal at Half Price!
* Why Refinancing May Be the Answer
* FPI Fractional Property Offerings
* A "Burning Issue" in French Insurance
* Euro Continues to Strengthen
* iPhone Has App for French Property
* Moneycorp: Take the Risk Out of Currency Conversion
* Free Consultation Offer Ending Soon!
* Parler Paris Apartments: Le Provençal
* Hot Property Picks: Magical Marvelous Marais
* Results of the Notaires’ Property Auction
* Money Matters for Women Conference in October
* Property Show in the Fall: Focus on Luxury
* How You Can Obtain a Mortgage in France
* Parler Paris Après-Midi: Back on Regular Schedule
* Managing Your FPI Subscription
* Subscribers Receive Discount on Insider Paris Guides
The "Viager with a View" is now officially called "Le Saint-Tropez" (the main apartment) and "La Brigitte" (the "chambre de bonne") as it’s no longer a "viager!" The story has been told over a period of two years, but beginning two years prior to that when I first saw what I knew in my mind’s eye would eventually become a ‘bijou’ or ‘jewel.’
For those of you who have followed the story, you may want a quick reminder to get you back up to speed and for those who haven’t, you may want to read Parts I through VI before you read this chapter. They can be found by clicking on: Part I: http://www.adrianleeds.com/parlerparis/viager.
In the last chapter (Part VI), there was a new entanglement involving the mezzanine, also known as "les combles" and one part called a "cagibi." In effect, I don’t own these parts — the "copropriété" does, although neighbors had permission to purchase the cagibi in 2001 for 10,000 francs, and paid the sum, but never passed an "Acte de Vente" and therefore never took legal title over it!
Surveyors came in
July to do the "diagnostics" (termites, lead, asbestos, energy efficiency and the "loi Carrez" (habitable square space) and I asked them to also measure the mezzanine, the "débarras" (closet in the hall) and the chambre de bonne (maid’s quarters). As it turned out, the main apartment measured about 22 square meters, the terrace 14 square meters and the chambre de bonne, 8 square meters.
At first, it seemed that the tangled web between the neighbors and the copropriété would affect the ability to sign an Acte de Vente, but in reality, not at all — as the areas in question were not owned by me at all. And so it passed — I signed the final Acte de Vente on July 24th and the Viager with a View became "Le Saint-Tropez" and "La Brigitte!"
You might recall that until the previous owner moved out all of his belongings and I signed the Acte de Vente, I had not seen the chambre de bonne, the cellars nor the débarras — having purchased the whole lot sight unseen.
To my pleasant surprise, the chambre de bonne, while small, overlooks via two good-sized windows both the courtyard of my building as well as the adjacent one, both of which are beautiful classic Marais courtyards, so the view is quite wonderful. In it was a sink and "bidet" on an extending shelf hidden under the sink!
The main cellar is enormous — a good 15 square meters, but was filled with the elderly gentleman’s belongings. The secondary cellar is being used by my neighbor, Madame B., to whom I have agreed to give it! And the débarras is just the right size to install a washing machine and dryer, adjacent to the chambre de bonne.
Much has transpired since closing day. Soon after signing, the demolition began to remove any obstructions including all the walls separating the kitchen and bath, the hand-constructed fireplace, the various levels of flooring and most importantly, the ceiling part obstructing the central opening to the skylight. There were so many questions to be answered about what we would expose that almost every inch of the apartment was tapped into to.
As a result, we discovered many things of interest. The previous owner had clearly been a "bricoleur" (handyman) himself, having patched together the most fascinating materials to create his end result. Under the flooring, we found newspapers from 1950 used for insulation. The fireplace had been created by making an indentation in a supporting wall, which was inside the apartment adjacent to a thin wall he had built in the hallway to enlarge the apartment. The ceiling on either side of the apartment was made of concrete and could not be opened, nor were the beams of a good enough quality to expose.
The work has taken a good month and many bags of broken concrete and debris. Our contractor deduced that the debris from the apartment was five times greater than that which had recently come out of an 80-plus square meter apartment and that we had gained at least one full meter (or more) as a result. Opening the central core of the apartment transformed it completely adding height and light to the small space.
All while this is transpiring, Interior Architecte Martine di Matteo was drawing plans, I was meeting with our "mosaiste" (mosaic tile designer), Veronique Husson, trompe l’oeil artist and contractor to begin putting the pieces of the puzzle together to have it completed before the end of the year. The goal is to have one of the most luxurious and enjoyable affordable vacation rental apartments in Paris — equipped with all the best conveniences (including dishwasher, washer, dryer, and even air conditioning), with large terrace for entertaining and relaxation, that will sleep up to four (by using "La Brigitte")…all in the style of the Riviera’s most elegant spot, Saint-Tropez.
To date, the demolition is done and by the end of September we will have chosen the tiles and much of the plumbing fixtures and materials. As it progresses, I’ll keep you posted of the development…
Editor’s Note: To book your stay in Le Saint-Tropez and La Brigitte now, visit
Excerpt from Parler Paris Nouvellettre®
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
At dinner with two friends who love real estate as much as I do and each do own a respectable number of abodes between the U.S. and France, jokingly called our mutual ‘disease’ the "Edifice Complex."
Of course, it’s a twist on the "Oedipus Complex" — "the desire to possess the parent of the opposite sex and eliminate the parent of the same sex." (Wikipedia.org) But, then with a little research, I discovered that the term actually exists and has little to do with our own desires to own French (or other) proper
The truth is that "an ‘Edifice Complex’ is a serious budget-busting illness that typically manifests itself on modern college and university campuses where an incoming university president will frantically and feverishly fall all over themselves to relentlessly badger wealthy donors and students for the purposes of leaving a mark with their name on it on the campus by constructing a new, over-priced, prime parking lot removing, ten-story structure post-modern eyesore whose purpose is solely to house administration, their support staff, and grace the cover of university brochures and websites." (UrbanDictionary.com)
Either way, there’s truth in the joke. And we’ve changed the definition: "A Paris ‘Edifice Complex’ is a serious budget-busting illness that typically manifests itself with North American, British, Australian and New Zealand natives where an investment-minded traveler will frantically and feverishly fall all over themselves to badger real estate agents and property consultants for the purposes of purchasing, renovating, renting and occasionally enjoying themselves a ‘pied-à-terre’ that will fund its own mortgage and appreciate well over a period of years."
I didn’t always have this complex. The blame goes to Paris.
First of all, there’s all this beautiful architecture on which to lay one’s eyes:
– the "petites maisons" of the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries with their old oak beams, tomette tile floors and stone walls;
— the "hôtels particuliers" where the wealthy aristocrats once lived with an entourage of servants that have tall windows, large stone fireplaces and elegant courtyards;
— the "pierre de taille" stately stone buildings of beautifully symmetric design that reek of urbanity;
— the "Haussmannian" buildings that contributed prominently on the landscape of Paris as they line the boulevards like lace on a collar;
— the "Art Nouveau" buildings and structures (like the Métro entrances) by Hector Guimard and other architects;
— and then there are the contemporary buildings that remind us what age we’re really living in — such as the Pyramide du Louvre and the Centre Georges Pompidou, both of which remain controversial, but have made a strong irreversible mark on the landscape of Paris.
Venture inside, particularly to the private residences, and you discover that no two apartments are the same. When you come from the land of cookie-cutter residential sub-divisions and apartment complexes (there’s that word again — ‘complex’), where except for color and detail, the structures can be identical, the myriad of possible styles and configurations add infinitely distinctive differences to each humble abode will boggle your mind like a tangled ball of yarn…
To read the entire article go to http://www.adrianleeds.com/parlerparis/.
Photo credit: Erica Simone, http://www.ericasimone.com/.
The latest report from overseas mortgage specialist Conti indicates that more UK residents are looking for homes in France than any other foreign country. France was in second place in 2008, behind Spain, which has fallen to second so far for 2009. The report is based on the number of enquiries received from UK residents for mortgages abroad.
France, with 31 percent of all enquiries, and Spain, with 22 percent of all enquiries, take up over half of all overseas destinations, according to the report from Conti. Following them are Turkey, at 13 percent and the same position from a year ago, while Portugal is at 7 percent, and Italy at 6 percent now round out the top five and were tied at 8th a year ago. Bulgaria and the United States, both in the top five in 2008, dropped to sixth and a tie for seventh in this year’s list.
Claire Nessling, Conti’s Operations Director, said in a statement that "In the current economic climate, UK buyers are sticking to the more traditional overseas locations, especially those with history of providing good rental returns. The smart investor is no longer simply looking to where the best bargains for a swift return can be found, but to where security lies for a longer term investment."…
To read the entire article go to http://www.homesgofast.com/view_news/1727/.
Le Marais is an area of Paris rich in complexity thanks to a long history, multiple transformations and the evolution of urban life. It was literally saved from destruction by the Malraux Act of 1962 which set out to protect the historic character and heritage of France’s city centers. Until then, it had become a a virtual slum and was scheduled to be razed to make way for a more urban landscape.
Aren’t we fortunate it wasn’t? The city and particularly the "Mairies" (city halls) of the 3rd and 4th arrondissements are working together to preserve and develop this historic part of Paris. Stringent rules were instated by a Conservation Plan adopted in 1996 after more than 30 years with a goal of the year 2012 to create a vital and beautiful district designed to make it one of, if not the most, livable part of the city. The plan is called "Le Plan de Sauvegarde et de Mise en Valeur" (PSMV) encompassing the 126 hectares in the 3rd and 4th districts.
Certain buildings are protected from demolition and changes made to their interior appointments, such as stairwells, balustrades, etc., overseen by the Architecte des Bâtiments de France (ABF). Neighborhood councils are responsible for thematic working groups dedicated to enhancing of public spaces and courtyards.
This concerted effort by both the city and its residents to preserve and develop the district is just one of the many reasons we so strongly support Le Marais as one of the best investments one can make in the city of Paris.
To learn more, visit these two Web pages:
And to participate, contact the Mairie of the 3rd: [email protected].
When you renew your subscription for one more year or newly subscribe to French Property Insider at 50% off the regular subscription price (only $29 instead of $57.50 for 50 issues), you will be entitled to participate FREE OF CHARGE to a special Conference Call on Sunday, October 18th…
"Your Pied-à-Terre in Paris: Own It All or Just a Fraction"
Our very own Search Consultant, Mary Ellen Gallagher, will be on the call with me (Adrian Leeds), helping you decide what’s best for your Paris investment portfolio and what fits your needs and desires best…a pied-à-terre of your own or a fraction of one!
Subscribe or renew your subscription now!…for only $29 for 50 issues plus call in on October 18th to learn more about the differences between owning your own apartment or a fraction of one!
The strength of the euro on the foreign exchange market makes the refinancing of property holdings particularly attractive. This can be done in order to finance projects in other countries.
The current environment is full of opportunities, particularly with regard to the refinancing of property holdings.
The definition of the refinancing of a property holding is a mortgage taken out on a property which has capital value in order to make use of the capital tied up in it. The obvious advantage is that the property is retained while additional income is obtained, which can be invested anywhere in the world. It also provides an opportunity to restructure and reorganise existing property holdings.
This arrangement is particularly attractive for properties located in France. There are two reasons for this. First of all, the French property market has declined less during the last two years than other countries, such as t
d Kingdom, the United States or Spain. Secondly, the euro has strengthened against a number of other national currencies, including sterling and the dollar.
To read the entire article go to http://www.investmentinternational.com/news/property/refinancing-of-property-holdings-an-underused-lever-to-raise-capital-2976.html.
If you are interested in traditional fractional ownership properties currently offered by our Fractional Ownership partners, see below:
LE PALACE DES VOSGES
CHEZ LA TOUR
LE PETIT TRESOR
NOTRE MAISON DANS TOULOUGES
To see our latest Fractional offerings go to http://adrianleeds.com/frenchproperty/fractional/fractional_offerings.html
Reading through French house insurance policy details is a task that many property owners skip when taking out a policy, especially when it is written in a foreign language. Not only is there the issue of not understanding what is actually covered, there are also policy conditions and exclusions that could leave you uninsured.
A “burning issue” that many French property owners are unaware of, is the requirement of some French insurance policies that properties have chimneys swept once a year. Homeowners face the risk of being uninsured following a chimney fire, if they can’t prove that chimneys are swept annually.
To avoid being uninsured, it is essential to check if your French insurer has this clause in your policy. If so, its important to get a valid “certificat de ramonage” from your chimney
sweep, as it is likely t
hat the terms of your policy will require it to be produced following a fire.
Although there are diy sweeping products available, these are likely to be unacceptable by some insurers.
As winter approaches and fires are used as the main source of heat throughout France, the risk of breaching your insurance policy should be taken seriously. Read your policy, understand what your insurance covers and identify exclusions that could leave you underinsured…
To read the entire article go to http://blog.schofields.ltd.uk/682/chimney-sweeping-in-france/.
Economic data released yesterday by the German Centre for European Economic Research announced a rise in the ZEW index to its highest level in more than three years. This index is a gauge of sentiment among finance professionals and is a leading indicator of economic health in Germany. On the back of this positive announcement, the euro has strengthened against the major currencies.
In addition, sterling has weakened following some negative comments made by the Governor of the Bank of England (BoE) with regards to UK banking policy. It appears that Mervyn King is looking in to lowering the remuneration deposit interest rates (the overnight interest rates that banks charge each other for leaving investments on reserve). Although the decision by the BoE was taken with a view to increasing liquidity in the economy, this has prompted overseas investors to sell off their sterling investments.
The immediate effect has been negative for sterling. Today’s interbank rate is around 1.12, providing euro sellers with beneficial rates not seen since May 2009, and could potentially fall further.
For clients wishing to buy or sell euros, it is more imperative than ever that they discuss their currency transfers with a foreign exchange and international payments specialist.
Contact: Rudolf Kilchherr, Key Partnerships Team
Phone +44 (0)20 7828 7000, email: [email protected].
Leading French property portal seloger.com is the latest to reveal an iPhone App.
The company already claims a 70% audience share in all regions of France and says that the iPhone App will offer over a million listings to property seekers on the move.
The app includes the usual google maps, alerts, and users can take advantage of note taking, scheduling agency appointments, saving searches, photos or share offers by e-mail.
According to Le Blog iPhone seloger.com claims it has created the first real estate app to include “push notifications.“…
To read the entire article go to http://www1.propertyportalwatch.com/2009/09/seloger-com-pushes-iphone-app/.
The Moneycorp MasterCard Prepaid card can be loaded with euros or US dollars, by the main cardholder using a debit or credit card.
There is no line of credit with the card so you can only spend what you have loaded – helping you to stay in control of your money.
You can use your Moneycorp Prepaid Card to make purchases wherever the MasterCard Acceptance Mark is displayed– that’s over 26 million locations including 1.2 million ATMs worldwide.
It’s easy to manage your money with the Moneycorp Prepaid Card and account.
Take the Risk O
ut of Curren
If you’re buying a holiday home or investment property overseas, when you trade your currency is crucial. The euro exchange rate is constantly fluctuating, so trading at the right time will mean your money goes a lot further. Adrian Leeds Group LLC and Moneycorp are working together to ensure you make the most of your Dollar or Sterling when buying a property in France.
For the latest exchange rate use our currency converter at http://www.adrianleeds.com/frenchproperty/loan/moneycorpconvertor and learn more about moneycorp here:
If you are a guest staying in any one of our luxurious Parler Paris Apartments, and would like to consider having your own "pied-à-terre" for your pleasure and profit, contact Adrian Lees for a FREE one-hour consultation while you’re enjoying the apartment in the City of Light. Visit http://www.adrianleeds.com/parlerparis/apartments for more information or email me at [email protected].
Parler Paris Apartments Welcome to your home in Paris. Home is how you will feel in a private apartment in Paris that has the "seal of approval" from Parler Paris Apartments and me, Adrian Leeds. Parler Paris Apartments offers high quality accommodations to make your stay in the City of Light as enjoyable and memorable as possible.
We at Parler Paris know each and every apartment owner or manager personally, and stand behind the quality of those we represent. We understand your needs and desires, all the small details that make a rental apartment a warm and welcoming home and a much better alternative to an impersonal hotel!Parler Paris Apartments is administered and serviced by the same great team as Parler Paris, French Property Insider and French Property Consultation. You can trust that Parler Paris Apartments and all those with whom it is associated will do heir best for your 100% guaranteed satisfaction.
SPOTLIGHT APARTMENT(S): Le Provençal
3rd Arrondissement, Le Marais
Large Studio, Sleeps 2
"Le Provençal" studio, located on the quiet courtyard of a very charming 18th-century building in the heart of Le Marais, is the pride and joy of owner, Adrian Leeds, editor of the Parler Paris and French Property Insider newsletters. There isn’t an apartment in Paris more charming and cheerful…ask all who have had the pleasure of staying here. Le Provençal is completely equipped in spite of its size! Complete with a king size bed that converts to twin beds when desired, a Siemens brand washer/dryer combination, espresso maker, microwave, toaster-oven, two-burner ceramic stove, refrigerator, high speed Internet, flat screen TV, DVD player, stereo, and free(!) long distance phone service, this delightful and cozy studio makes a perfect Parisian home for one or two.
Each week French Property Insider features a range of properties which we believe are on the market at the time of writing. These properties are featured in order to give readers a sample of what is currently available and a working example of prices being asked in various regions of France and districts of Paris.
This week we focus on some interesting property opportunities found in the third and fourth arrondissements of Paris, le Marais.
*** Marais, 3rd: One-bedroom, approx. 37m²
Magnificent two-room apartment located in a 17th century building in perfect condition. The apartment has exposed beams and stone from the period and is completely renovated and full of charm. There is a spacious living room with open, fully equipped kitchen. The bedroom faces a quiet courtyard and has an ensuite bathroom. All the historic charm and located in the heart of Paris.
Asking Price: € 294 000 + 2.5% Finder’s Fee
*** Marais, 3rd: One-bedroom, approx. 66m²
Nestled between the Montorgueil and Arts et Metiers districts, this lovely one bedroom apartment is awaiting its transformation. The apartment is located on the second floor of a Haussmanian building with elevator, digicode and Interphone. The carpeted staircase leads to the apartment with a small entry, double living room, bedroom, bathroom, kitchen and powder room. The apartment has ornate mouldings and hardwood floors. Renovation work is necessary, but can be easily transformed into a stunning two bedroom apartment. Close to the Pompidou Center, shopping, restaurants, galleries and cafés.
Asking Price: € 466 000 + 2.5% Finder’s Fee
*** Marais, 4th: One-bedroom, approx. 64m²
Located in the heart of the Marais near the Pompidou Centre, Hotel de Ville and Notre Dame. This one bedroom apartment has all the charm of Paris. The apartment has mix of original details from the 18th century including Point d’Hongrie parquet floors, tomettes, exposed beams, fireplace and a pleasant view. The apartment is located on the third floor, has a southern exposure. There is a separate bathroom with bathtub and WC. Near plenty of shopping, restaurants and cafes. The building has digicode and Interphone security. Perfect as a pied à terre or rental investment.
Asking Price: € 515 000 + 2.5% Finder’s Fee
*** Marais, 4th: Two-bedroom, approx. 72m²
Ideally situated steps away from the Place des Vosges. This four-room apartment is located on the fourth floor of beautiful historic Marais building from the 18th century. Situated on rue des Francs Bourgeois, home to chic restaurants, galleries, boutiques and cafés, the apartment has a double living room with fireplace, exposed wood beams and period hexagonal tile with a view of Place des Vosges. The open kitchen is fully equipped. The apartment is completed by two bedrooms which face the courtyard. Rustic charm in the heart of the Marais.
Asking Price: € 750 000 + 2.5% Finder’s Fee
Notaires de Paris
Place du Châtelet
12 avenue Victoria
Additional information on Les Ventes aux Enchères des Notaires can be found on the Web site at www.encheres-Paris.com. To read Schuyler Hoffman’s article about the property auctions in Paris, click on: adrianleeds.com/frenchproperty/insider/
|The following properties were auctioned off September 22, 2009 (next auction takes place on September 29, 2009):|
Editor’s Note: If you look at the properties on the Notaire’s site (www.encheres-paris.com), when you click on the information for a particular property there is also a link to Google Maps to show you exactly where the property is located.
If you’ve never benefited from financial coaching, this is the place for you!
Come hear Adrian Leeds enlighten you on "Property Investment in France" 2 p.m. to 3:15 p.m.!
MONEY MATTERS FOR WOMEN is a half-day conference held in Paris, France for today’s global woman who wants to understand her current financial situation, plan intelligently and take proactive steps in managing her money.
The conference features:
- A dynamic keynote speaker
– Nine concurrent presentations and discussions with professional financial information
– A closing session for all conference attendees and a networking cocktail reception to end the day
This conference recognizes that women have unique financial goals and challenges which must be addressed. So invite your daughter, friend or neighbor to share in this empowering experience and walk away with more confidence and the tools to own your financial uture.
The Money Matters for Women 2009 conference is presented by WICE and hosted by The American University of Paris. Special thanks to Smart Women Products for their continued support of this conference.For more information and to register, visit http://www.moneymattersforwomen.org.
* Luxury Real Estate Trade Fair Loves Paris in the Autumn *
Not everyone can afford a private island or a fancy penthouse on New York’s Upper East Side. Still, for those who can, an invitation to the Luxury Real Estate Trade Fair will be just the thing to make the autumn seem brighter. And where better to promote high-end property than Paris, the world capital of chic? This elegant ambience will be further enhanced by the venue, Paris’s famous Musée du Louvre.
On the 27th, 28th and 29th of November 2009 Prestige-Paris will celebrate its third birthday with the assistance of France Convention, a specialist in niche and luxury trade fairs. This year’s gathering will be required both to meet the visitors’ very demanding expectations and outdo last year’s exceptionally successful event.
The recent recession has failed to affect the luxury sector as much as the rest of the economy, in fact the latest figures have revealed that the Parisian real estate market has improved. It seems that the most beautiful and luxurious homes never fail to find a buyer, a thought that will encourage participants in this most prestigious property exhibition.
When you make a purchase as important as a piece of real estate in a foreign country, you ant to know that you can trust the people you are dealing with. Adrian Leeds has developed a network of professionals that meet only the highest of standards. With the expertise and experience of Adrian and her team, you can depend on getting the best advice and support to feel completely confident that you are making an informed investment decision.
Let us help you secure a mortgage i
HELPFUL CONVERSIONS FOR REAL ESTATE
1 square meter = 10.7639104 square feet
1 hectare = 2.4710538 acres
For more conversions, refer to: www.onlineconversion.com/
The second Tuesday of every month, Parler Paris and French Property Insider readers gather at La Pierre du Marais for a drink and a "schmooze" –It’s an opportunity to meet and chat with other like-minded people and a great way to make friends! Costs nothing except your drinks. Don’t miss the next gathering Tuesday, October 13th, 2009 from 3 to 5 p.m. and every second Tuesday of the month (except August).
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