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Bonjour French Property Insider Subscriber,
Susan Herrmann LoomisLouviers Village Picturesque Louviers
When my landlord told me he wanted to sell the apartment I had been renting for more than two years, I went into cardiac arrest, then proceeded to find a way to purchase it. That was the year 2000. I was not as financially stable as I am now, but even so, one lending bank took the risk of providing a mortgage. That bank was Banque Patrimoine et Immobilier (BPI).
The first contact I had there was a young, good looking man named Stéphane Denner. I fell in love. Over the years, he and his "résponsable," Mary Fort, not only became good friends, but important colleagues. Over the years, the bank has provided loans to dozens of our clients and another four loans (actually equity release loans) to me personally. In fact, it was Stéphane who introduced the idea to me to take a mortgage in euros to purchase an apartment in New York when the rate of exchange was $1.50 to 1€.
That was one of the smartest things I've ever done as the mortgage continues to be less expensive in dollar terms as the dollar has grown stronger against the euro and should I sell the property in dollars it will result in more euros than it did at the time. He, Mary and BPI have been largely responsible for helping me accumulate a healthy portfolio of properties that serve me well and act as a foundation for my financial future. To them I have been forever indebted.
Stéphane and Mary spoke often about financing property at our Living and Investing in France conferences. On occasion they would have a stand at the London property trade shows and I often attended. At one that I attended, there was a book seller where the book "On Rue Tatin" by chef Susan Herrmann Loomis caught my eye and I purchased it. Stéphane, noticing the book, remarked that he had grown up in the very same town where the story takes place -- Louviers in Normandy. His remark prompted me to contact Susan to tell her of the coincidence and as a result, we have been good friends ever since.
A couple of years ago, Stéphane was diagnosed with cancer. Mary found it difficult to replace him, but he had no choice other than to take a leave of absence to fully battle the disease.
Easter weekend I visited Susan in Louviers. While we were walking the streets of the old Normandy town Sunday afternoon admiring the beautiful half-timbered houses and tranquil canals, I recounted the story about the coincidence with her and Stéphane and wondered how he was fairing. I had no news from him for a long time, but when I'm in Louviers I can always imagine his presence there.
On Monday Mary Fort called to tell me Stéphane had passed away on Sunday. Again there was that strange coincidence, as if somehow the greater forces of nature ensured that his spirit was with me at the very moment his life ended. I am not a religious person, but do believe that our lives have a 'grand plan' and that our paths naturally follow the right course, coming in contact with the people who help guide us always in the right direction. He was one of those people.
This French Property Insider Nouvellettre® is dedicated to the memory of Stéphane Denner, to Louviers, the town in which was raised, to Susan Herrmann Loomis who keeps Louviers alive for me and to Mary Fort and BPI for the hundreds of people to whom they granted loans to realize their dreams to own property in France.
Stéphane Denner will be sadly missed.
For those who wish to attend his funeral, it will take place tomorrow, April 13, at 10 a.m. at the Eglise d'Anet.
P.S. If you are interested in learning more about financing a French property, visit French Property Loan or email [email protected] so that we can assist you and liaise for you with BPI.
P.P.S. Susan Herrmann Loomis' historic Normandy home is available for rental full time as of January 2013. To see the part of the House Hunters International episode featuring the house, visit: House Hunters International Normandy Episode. And to learn more about the house and the rental offering, email me at [email protected].
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