French Property Insider Volume XVII, Issue 10 Thursday, March 7, 2019 • Paris, France
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SPECIAL MESSAGE TO ALL OUR READERS:
To the Expat Community in Paris...we are sad to inform you of the death of our dear friend and colleague, Patricia Ann Laplante Collins.
We would like you to join us in the celebration of her life. The ceremony will be held at 1 o'clock, Thursday, March 14th, 2019 (please arrive by 12:45 p.m.) at the Crematorium of the Cemetery Père-Lachaise, 71 rue des Rondeaux, 75020 Paris.
You are equally invited, the next day, March 15th at 2 p.m., when Patricia's ashes will be scattered in the "Jardin du Souvenir" of the Crematorium Père-Lachaise - Paris, 71 rue des Rondeaux, 75020 Paris.
Flowers are welcome. Please join us for a drink after the ceremony March 14th.
An electronic condoleance book will be set up and we will provide you with the link.
Our search clients from California fell in love with the second apartment they visited in Nice, even after seeing another 20+ within two very rigorous days of visiting properties. They came to Nice with an investment property in mind — an apartment that would cover its own expenses in rental revenues, perhaps profiting a bit, but also something they could enjoy from time to time and even grow into as their future lives in France progressed. But, they wanted to be practical about it, make the right decisions, and be financially sound. Being rentable was key.
View from a Nice penthouse terrace
We visited properties in the Carré d'Or, Quartier des Musiciens, Quartier des Fleurs, Old Town and the area around the Old Port. The closer to the seaside, the better...for rental purposes, as tourists want beach access first and foremost. If the homeowner regulations didn't allow "furnished rentals," we took it off the list. Some of the properties were recently renovated by a professional ("marchand de bien") and others needed complete renovation. Prices ranged from 4,500€ per square meter to 8,700€ per square meter, depending on location and quality of the renovation and finishings. (You might notice that prices in Nice are about one-half of those in Paris!)
We obtained quite an education and became more and more critical as we added notches to our belts, particularly about those apartments that had been renovated by a professional. I find that the professionals aren't as professional as they think. They second-guess what a buyer might want in an apartment, assuming that it will be a second home and likely a rental property. They make really dumb mistakes because they don't really know much about what makes a great rental property, or how functional and livable a property should be. They don't hire designers or take advice. They just do what they know or think and cut corners wherever they can and then hope they can make a quick buck. Sadly, they often find out that they can't sell it as fast as they thought, or for as much as they thought.
Why install a full-size dishwasher if the kitchen has two stove burners and no oven? If they aren't cooking, do they really need to wash a family-load of dishes? The fridge might be oversized, too, for no good reason. I've seen kitchens that have no electrical outlets. Can you imagine that? Sometimes they put the dishwasher next to the sink so that when the door opens, it blocks the sink and you can't get to the dishes to fill it.
The order of things just doesn't make sense. They install the stove in an area that has no exhaust, but put the sink where there is one? And then forget to include a washer/dryer? Or install a washer, but no dryer. But, you know for sure, new owners will need and want laundry facilities in the apartment.
Ancient fresco next to blinding spotlights
For God's sake
A two-bedroom apartment that should have been a one-bedroom
View from the 4th floor (apartment #2)
Another view from the 4th floor
What's with the trend to fill the ceiling with spot lights...and not on a dimmer!? Have you ever tried to live with a blast of bright lights like that, or try changing the bulbs in 2.5-meter high ceilings without killing yourself? They tend to do this particularly in the kitchen areas, then forget to do under the cabinet lighting that illuminates the work surface. That would have been a whole lot less expensive and a whole lot more appealing, if you ask me.
Can someone explain to me why they forget to add storage? Are they just cutting costs by not including closets? Don't forget, there are brooms, mops, vacuum cleaners, ironing boards, etc. that all need storage. And in Nice, you need a place for your beach chairs, mats, umbrellas, suitcases, etc., too. Rental apartments need storage for tons of linens, and it all needs to be accessible. What about an owner's closet that locks? Wouldn't that be convenient?
I constantly see bathrooms that are arranged in a way that you see the toilet immediately from the door — instead of a lovely sink and mirror — when it didn't have to be that way. (And then when you see photos of the apartment, no one bothered to lower the toilet seat cover before taking the photo!) How about bathroom sinks that have no rim or space to hold any of the zillion things you need for brushing your teeth, washing your hands, putting on your make-up or combing your hair...not even a shelf nearby? In today's world, the new contractors remove the tubs and create big walk-in showers. They claim that's what the new buyers want. Have baths gone out of fashion? Not in my world! Why not have a tub with the shower in it so that you can have the best of both worlds? The first thing I'd have to do to a "bath" room with a shower is tear it out and add the "bath" back.
In one newly renovated apartment in Old Town — with a beautiful centuries-old fresco in the ceiling — they had erected a wall to create a bathroom. When you opened the door into the apartment, this massive Roman god's head on that wall hit you right in the face, making it difficult to actually even enter the apartment. In that apartment, we wanted to remove every wall and start over.
What what were they thinking? Or were they not thinking at all? It's best if you purchase a property that needs complete renovation. Instead of offering up a profit to an unthinking marchand de bien, do the thinking yourself and have it done to your specifications. This way, you're not paying for someone else's mistakes!
It's often the case that the first properties we visit are the best of the lot and become the benchmark for every property that follows. Property #2, a complete renovation, struck right at their hearts and for good reason. Visiting the others were more for confirmation of their first instincts, than for finding something even more alluring.
"Alluring" is what it's all about, too. It's what I call "sexy" — when the property hits the heart, not the head, even if the goal is based on intellectual, logical thinking. If there's something about that property that you can't get out of your mind, then you know you have a winner, even if it doesn't "tick all the boxes."
And that's what ultimately won out — how their hearts reacted; not their heads. The moment we all walked into this particular apartment, we went "Wow!" It wasn't located next to the beach, it didn't have a balcony or outdoor space, but it had fabulous views and lots of character. It hadn't sold quickly because it needed complete renovation. Lots of buyers shy away from the work and the expense. In the beginning of their thinking, this apartment wasn't at all what they had in mind...at least with their heads...but it's what they wanted with their hearts and as result, realized that in fact, it was the intelligent decision to make.
We did the numbers, of course. We compared the practical, logical, non-risk property best-of-the-bunch with this one we called "Wow." It would make a fine rental, but maybe would not be as well-rented as the "practical, logical, non-risk property best-of-the-bunch." But more importantly, it could become a real home. With the second visit, in which our designer/contractor offered up opinions and ideas, it became even more apparent. This would be an apartment they would love for a very long time to come.
The bottom line is that there is way more to life than making money...you have to have fun while you're doing it or it's not worth doing.
SPECIAL NEWS BULLETIN:
Airbnb won the first legal battle against the City of Paris. The City of Paris attacked Airbnb for publishing illegal ads — announcements for properties unregistered with the city by their owners. Airbnb's legal representatives argued that the European Commission might have a different point of view and in this first round, the city was slapped with a fine of 5,000€ to pay to the French subsidiary of Airbnb and to its head office in Ireland.
P.S. I will be filming another House Hunters International the week of March 11th in the beautiful region of Champagne, near Epernay. We are seeking comparable properties in which we can film: single family home, or village house, with character and charm, with three-to-four bedrooms, furnished, rentable for about $1500 to $2500 a month (but, it doesn't need to be "for rent"). If you have something or know of a property that meets these specifications, and are open to letting a small film crew in for about four hours, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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