A 360-Degree View on Nice and the Future
It happens almost every day, or at least with almost every consultation. I am booked daily to speak to clients who are considering moving to France for retirement or purchasing a property here. They come to me because I don’t (and won’t) just say, “Sure, we can help you do whatever you want,” but instead, I say, “Tell me what you’re thinking, and then let’s discuss what really will work best for you.”
There’s a big difference between these two statements and is the biggest difference between us and other agencies willing to find property for their clients or assist them in their quest to set up a new life in France. I am not a “yes man,” so if that’s what you’re looking for, don’t bother contacting us. In place of that, however, we will open your eyes to the REALITY of your dreams, some of which could turn into nightmares if you’re not careful or forewarned. It’s my job to make sure you embark on this adventure with your eyes wide open.
Last Wednesday, when I was in Nice, a couple in their early 60s came for an in-person consultation, with their two pups in a baby pram. Their usual home was Hawaii. I could sense that it was the wife’s idea to consult with me. The husband was unsure of why he was spending the money on a consultation with me since they were already fairly far along in their quest for a property on the Riviera. They explained that they had put down a deposit (fully refundable) on a new-build property in Eze, but that the project was delayed by one year, and now they weren’t sure it was something they wanted to do…or wait for.
That’s when I started to ask why did they want to be in Eze? Why did they want to create a situation where they must have a car? Why would they not want to have some independence from one another by living somewhere with public transportation so that they could each do their own things apart from one another? Why wouldn’t they want to be somewhere they could walk the dogs, or walk a short distance to get their morning baguettes? Why would they want to be so removed from the community at large where they can make tons of new friends? Why wouldn’t they want to be in the heart of everything where access is fast and easy to travel all over Europe and the world by train or plane?
They hadn’t considered any of that. It’s so normal for Americans who are used to living in their cars, what I call their “bubbles,” to go from one place to another. It hadn’t dawned on them that they were simply reproducing the life they had on the island, rather than taking the opportunity to change their lives for something better and more interesting.
I pointed out that in about 10 years, they might not want to be driving as much as they do now, and as they got older would want or need to give it up altogether. By giving up the car, not only would they save a lot of money, but they would get natural exercise, and live a healthier life that would prolong it. None of that meant they couldn’t own a car if they wanted it, but that it wouldn’t be necessary on a daily basis.
Their heads started to spin, but in the right direction. Their eyes were rolling as their heads were nodding.
“We leave on Monday. Is it possible to see some properties between now and when we leave?”
Yikes! “Not likely, but not impossible,” I answered.
Normally, we need about one week’s advance notice to do the research and set up the visits. Not only was this only a few days before their departure, but the weekend is (normally) off limits—agents in France don’t work nights and weekends like their American counterparts do. Sometimes we can score a Saturday visit, but never on Sunday.
In an email that first afternoon, after our meeting, the wife wrote:
Thank you so much for your time this afternoon. You gave us so much to think about. We did a pros and cons of both and it became so obvious we should be in Nice, now!
We would like to proceed with next steps before we leave. We leave on Monday at 6 a.m. and would like to engage before then.
When should meet again to finalize? We are so excited. You made it so clear.””
I was leaving Nice mid-Friday, but was tied up all day on Thursday. I was able to arrange a meeting for them with my Executive Assistant, Patty Sadauskas, and our lead Niçois Search Consultant, Ella Dyer, the next day. Patty had printed out our documents, and they went over them before signing them. They had written a wish list for their dream apartment on a napkin over coffee at café.
Ella was able to arrange for a viewing of a potential property on Friday, located directly on the Promenade des Anglais. It was not perfect, but a good attempt. Meanwhile, Patty discovered another listing of interest and Ella scored a viewing on Saturday. It was perfect! They made an offer, the offer was accepted, and by the time they got on the plane on Monday, they had a done deal on a property of their dreams.
Here’s what the wife wrote in an email to me on Saturday:
“We couldn’t be working with a better team. I am in shock how fast it’s all happening.
– Wednesday: meet with AL, dump Eze
– Thursday: meet Patty and Ella
– Friday: view a Prom. apt., decide it’s not for us. During debrief, Patty sends over VH [Victor Hugo]
– Saturday: Ella works her magic and gets a weekend appointment and we fall in love and make the offer.
Dreams do come true!”
The apartment was under their budget giving them room to renovate and decorate it, it’s a blank slate. The “Marchand de Bien” (developer) and seller of the property had “whitewashed it” and prepared it for their own renovation plans, so it wasn’t officially yet on the market. Sure, he was making a good profit “flipping” the property so quickly with a limited amount of work, but they are aware of it and it doesn’t matter—it still fits their wish list and budget, and is not overpriced for the market.
Described as a 3-room apartment, on two levels (“duplex”) of 96 square meters on the top floor (penthouse) of an Art Deco building with a 30 square meter balcony and a terrace of 147 square meters…it’s even way more than that from the potential it offers.
The location in the Carré d’Or district on one of the most desirable streets, boulevard Victor Hugo, steps from the Alsace-Lorraine Tramway #2 station, makes it ideal. The view from the terrace is 360 degrees of all of Nice, with views on the sea and the mountains. A walk to the Promenade des Anglais is five minutes and the neighboring boulevard Gambetta offers every amenity possible.
The Marchand de Bien had architect’s plans for a reno/deco, but in my opinion, they lack a lot of potential possible by designers as talented as Martine di Mattéo or Laura Poirier. There is no question that out of the 96 square meters, they can achieve three bedrooms (or two bedrooms and an office), a spacious living room/dining room/kitchen, two or more bathrooms, and turn the balcony and terrace into wonderlands.
The wife’s final remarks, before boarding their flight back to the U.S. was, “I love women on the ball that know how to make things happen.”
The moral of the story is two-fold:
First off, I am very proud to say that we have an amazing team of professionals who are willing to go to great lengths to make things happen for our clients, who can be completely trusted to tell the truth, and who only have our clients’ best interests in mind. They all know that this is my mantra. This is never about lining our own pocketbooks or saving us time. Anyone who ventures outside of that moral standing can kiss their job goodbye (I’ve let a few go over the years for this very reason, who are now our competitors, so beware of who they are!)
Secondly, watch out for those rose-colored glasses that aren’t giving you a clear picture of your future in France. This is where we can really help you see the light. I have strongly held opinions about what works and what doesn’t because of the years (20) of working with clients…just like you. I’ve heard just about every story and I know who’s happy and who’s not and why. We know a lot about France and a lot about North Americans, from a cultural standpoint and otherwise. We know how to take the dream and turn it into reality. We do it every day.
You can take or leave the advice, but there’s nothing to lose by hearing it and ultimately making your own decision. At least you’ll make it with the knowledge you need for it to be the best decision for you, and no one else.
If your ideas are whirling around in your head and not landing concretely, then it’s never too early to schedule a consultation with me. From the very beginning, you’ll learn how to separate the dream from a nightmare and create the reality you really want.
To get started, visit our consultations page now!
A la prochaine…
The Adrian Leeds Group®
P.S. Are you considering retirement in France? Don’t do it lightly. Let us help you make the smartest decisions to ensure you create the best retirement plan you can. We can expertly advise you on a variety of topics you’ll need to consider. Contact us to learn more.