Air dates/times: February 9, 2014 at 6:30 p.m. E/P Scott Baker always wanted to live in France. When he discovered a job opening in Nice, he leapt at the chance to fulfill his French fantasy. But the apartment he rents has been falling apart around him. Not ready to give up on his dream, Scott's decided to purchase his own home in Nice and is leaning on Nice-native and close friend Clara for advice and assistance from Adrian Leeds to find just the right place. Clara's eagle eyes are spotting potential pitfalls in every home, and Scott will have to decide if he's willing to renovate or spend to get the perfect property when House Hunters International goes to Nice.
FREE one-hour consultation! Guests of Parler Paris Apartments or Parler Nice Apartments who are considering the purchase of their own "pied-à-terre" for pleasure and profit, can take advantage of a free one-hour consultation while enjoying the apartment in the City of Light or on the Riviera. Simply complete the request form to book your consultation.
Bonjour French Property Insider Subscriber,
This week I went to visit an apartment that a client was 'hot to buy.' He had found it on his own through an agency, was in a fabulous location close to the Seine in the 7th arrondissement, was the top floor with lovely views and very spacious -- almost 100 square meters with the possibility of having three bedrooms and two bathrooms.
It had one major negative: no lift (elevator). Without having seen it, that had already reduced its value from many perspectives...but if the view were exceptional and the stairwell a pleasant climb, then perhaps the 100 stairs up and down would be worth it, so I agreed to visit it and form an open-minded opinion.
Views can be sexyWest Village - location, location, locationHollande's...mistressesLots of light and brightnessSpacious and openA very sexy bathroomDécor can be sexyIt can be those special, unique touches
Yes, "location, location, location" is first and foremost to investing in good real estate. It is my viewpoint that without location, a property will forever be 'mediocre' and never achieve as great a potential as one that can claim a good location. When my daughter and I were searching for an apartment in New York five years ago, many people tried to encourage us to buy in Brooklyn where values were increasing rapidly...but I declined and opted on buying in the heart of Manhattan in a historic district where virtually nothing could change its intrinsic value: The West Village.
Lo and behold, the district remained stalwart while others waned. It's still New York's most desirable district and increases in value have been substantial. It was the right move. While Brooklynites are trekking into the city on the subway or spending a fortune on taxis late at night to go home after a rousing time in the city with friends, or their Manhattan friends are not wanting to 'do riviers' (cross the border outside of Manhattan) to come visit them, we're just a block from the Christoper Street Station and it can often be just a walk home instead. Smart move, if you ask me.
But even with great location, this apartment in the 7th simply wasn't 'sexy.' After location, 'sexy' is key. And what makes an apartment 'sexy?'
Think about it. What makes a person 'sexy?' Often, it's not beauty that is sexy. Sex appeal is something altogether different from beauty, although beauty certainly contributes. Look at François Hollande, France's illustrious philandering president. In the course of just a few years, he's had a partner (French politician Ségolène Royal, mother of his four children, whom he never married, and who ran against Nicolas Sarkozy in a past election), a 'concubine' (journalist Valérie Trierweiler who is 'First Lady' even though they are not married) and now a lover (actress Julie Gayet), all beautiful and smart women. Is this man sexy or just powerful and is it his power that makes him sexy or is there an element of sex appeal we might not see on camera?
According to various authorities, "Sexual attraction is attraction on the basis of sexual desire or the quality of arousing such interest. Sexual attractiveness or sex appeal is an individual's ability to attract the sexual or erotic interest of another person, and is a factor in sexual selection or mate choice. The attraction can be to the physical or other qualities or traits of a person, or to such qualities in the context in which they appear. The attraction may be to a person's looks or movements or to their voice or smell, besides other factors. The attraction may be enhanced by a person's adornments, clothing, perfume, hair length and style, and anything else which can attract the sexual interest of another person. It can also be influenced by individual genetic, psychological, or cultural factors, or to other, more amorphous qualities of the person. Sexual attraction is also a response to another person that depends on a combination of the person possessing the traits and also on the criteria of the person who is attracted." (Wikipedia.org)
Now, let's apply this concept to a property. What makes a property a place in which you wish to spend your time? Isn't that what it's all about? So, if hiking up five flights of stairs drops you on top of the world with incomparable views, then perhaps the flights are worth it. Those who climb to the top of the Eiffel Tower will tell you it's worth it. In this case, they weren't.
Lots of things make a property sexy, and view is certainly one of them. Views of the Paris monuments, of the River Seine, overlooking a park or just a row of beautiful buildings can send one's heart a flutter.
In Paris, having lots of light is another major sexy factor. CNN reported that "Even a gray day in the beautiful city of Paris is one of the brightest days of a traveler’s life." But I can tell you that day after day of gray after gray can become terribly depressing, so having light and a dose of Vitamin D is essential to a person's health and well-being. Finding an apartment in Paris with light usually means going up...higher to have more sky...and often higher means stairs, just in the case of the apartment in the 7th. Large windows helps, long lines of sight and directional views all contribute to better light sources.
In an online forum about this topic, the best response was: "Northern light is heaven for a painter. West is excellent for bedrooms, as this is nearly the warmest place in the afternoons, and warms the bedrooms for the coming night. East is great for kitchens and breakfast areas. South would receive the most cooling winds in the Spring and Summer. Make this house a geodesic, and solve the Four Directions' problem!" All my France properties are south-facing and while the sun does not directly stream in, the sun is visible from morning to night. I am not complaining!
Space can be a 'sexy' factor, particularly in the right places. Like a well-proportioned body, the way the rooms in an apartment are proportioned and the way they flow can be a very important factor. I once visited an apartment that one might have called a 'railroad' apartment. It was long and rectangular. One hall went straight down and all rooms were accessible from this one hall through each of their doors, by analogy to compartments in passenger rail cars. There was nothing 'sexy' about this apartment! All I could imagine was going in and out of the small rooms, up and down the hall, feeling trapped as in a train, but going nowhere.
But take an apartment that flows in a circular motion -- even small, it will always feel spacious. Or an apartment that is open and inviting, particularly if the central space is the living space where everyone will convene. And if the ceilings are high, the illusion of space will be very 'sexy' indeed. In fact, space is a key factor to being 'sexy'...but size is not what counts! It's how it's proportioned that makes the difference.
Bathrooms can definitely be 'sexy,' as can kitchens depending on what activities 'turn you on.' Chefs love great kitchens, but spa junkies love bathtubs and steamy showers. Show me a big bath tub and I'll show you an apartment I can love! Or ever see an oversized rain shower head and think, "Boy, could I ever be happy in there!?"
One thing for sure, the surface aspects of a property have nothing to do with being 'sexy' -- because the 'smoke and mirrors' can be added for affect. Décor can turn a not-so-sexy property into a bombshell. Add molding, fireplace, great colors, luxurious drapes, beautiful lighting, sumptuous furnishings and voila, you have 'sexy!' Our designer, Martine di Mattéo does it daily -- takes a caterpillar and turns it into a butterfly. Even the most horrendous apartments can be converted into drop dead gorgeous inviting and sexy spaces, just with the help of good craftsmen and creativity.
And price never makes a property sexy. Just because a property is a bargain, is not a reason to own it. Ever be seduced by that dress or jacket on sale for half price and then never wear it? So, take price out of the equation completely. If a property is 'sexy,' than you will always pay dearly for it and so will someone else!
So, the bottom line is: "If it isn't sexy, don't buy it."
P.S. Enjoy the colorful, festive Carnaval in Nice and save with this special offer! Book your stay at the luxurious La Côte du Paradis two bedroom apartment from February 14 until March 4, 2014 for less than the regular high season rates -- only 130€ per night for stays of 4 nights or more, and the weekly rate is only 117€ per night. Book now!
Money Matters for Women 2014 Saturday, February 8, 2014
Take control of your finances! Book your spot at Money Matters for Women 2014 presented by WICE at the American University of Paris.
French Property Consultant Adrian Leeds, seen on House Hunters International, will be speaking about "Property Investments in France."
Other topics include:
Plan Your Financial Future
Make Strategic Investments
Start a Business in France
Maximize Estate Planning
Calculate for Retirement
Date: Saturday, February 8 Time: 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. Place: American University in Paris Cost: €55 Early bird rate - open to all, €65: General rate