French Property the American Way
If you have visited our website, especially the page about For Sale Property on the Market, then you see we don’t have many listings. And the truth is that only one of the four is still unspoken for—the others are in the process of being sold and that’s why they are still on the page.
The reason there are so few is because I won’t list any property I wouldn’t recommend our clients buy. And I have a very high standard. And then, what happens is that the moment I promote it in a Nouvellettre®, such as this one, we get enough offers to sell it sight-unseen without too much trouble.
I bet other agencies wish they had this problem, but they don’t do what we do. Traditional agencies take any property they can get as a listing in the hopes they will find a buyer, any buyer. That’s how they make their money. We earn our keep very differently—by providing a highly specialized service targeted at North Americans, by North Americans, to protect these foreign buyers from making mistakes that can be very costly. The agencies that will sell any property to any buyer will also say and do just about anything to make the sale, as that’s all they have in their pocket—their own listings, unshared with other agencies because there is no Multiple Listing Service in France.
I’m not complaining, mind you. Because of this, I have a job. And it’s an important job, as well as a rewarding job. It is my “raison d’être” to first, make the dream to live in France come true, but second to protect our clients from the pitfalls that the real estate agents won’t warn them about. You might think you’re saving money by going direct to the agencies, and it’s possible you will, but it’s also likely it will end up costing you plenty.
For one thing, as a licensed agency, we have the right to share commissions with the selling agency if we bring in the client. That NEVER happens in Paris because the agencies have an unwritten pact between them not to share. In the south of France it’s way more feasible, but doesn’t always happen—it depends on how many agents are on the mandates and may already splitting the pie into too many slices. For the ones where there is a commission share, we credit our purchasing client the share we receive from the selling agency, so it could end up costing our client very little to use our services. In addition to that, as I said earlier on, we protect our purchasing clients from making costly mistakes, of which there are many unforeseen unless advised properly.
I’ve digressed. Let’s go back to the subject of listings. If you have a property in France you’d like to sell, then we can sell it fast, as long as it’s a property in which we know our market will show a serious interest. So, what are those? Okay, here is the criteria:
1. Our North American market is primarily interested in three parts of France: a) Paris, b) Nice and 3) Provence. This doesn’t mean there aren’t other wonderful parts of France in which to own property. There are, of course (all of France is pretty much fabulous), but these are the top three.
2. Paris: Apartments in districts 1 through 7 rank much higher than the others, except for a few other hotspots, like the 11th and 12th around Place de la Bastille, along the Canal St. Martin, and on a cool shopping street such as rue Daguerre in the 14th. And FYI, districts 1 through 4 are destined to go pedestrian. Wherever a street has become pedestrian, property values have risen. So set your sights on central Paris if you can afford it.
3. Nice: Apartments located in Central Nice—Old Town, Carré d’Or, Quartier des Musiciens, Quartier des Fleurs, Old Port. Villefranche-sur-Mer is another highly desirable enclave along the Riviera for our market.
4. Provence: Just about anywhere in Aix-en-Provence is a hotspot for more urban folks, rather than village dwellers or those who want a villa with a pool. Next to Provence is the Occitanie and there are certain areas that are just as inviting, such as Nîmes, Uzès and Pézanas.
5. Apartments that sell fast have certain attributes: location, location location; big windows and lots of light; great view; elevator if above 1st or 2nd floor; balcony or terrace; good bones and/or great decor. (Great decor can be created, but good bones cannot. Remember, you buy what you can’t change!)
6. Sexy. Properties that are “sexy” sell fast. What that means in our terms is some element that is “séduisant,” meaning seductive. It could be a wall of windows, or a big fireplace, or beautiful parquet flooring and ornate molding. Just about any feature can be that romantic element that touches the heart, and other less attractive attributes can then be easily forgiven or overlooked.
7. Properties that generate a revenue can be highly desirable. A property that has a proven track record of rentals appeals to a client wanting to cover their costs of ownership and possibly make a profit. That used to be very true for apartments in Paris until Mayor Anne Hidalgo decided that owners of secondary properties renting them short-term should be criminalized. In Nice, owners of secondary properties can rent short-term up to six years…so that’s a nice benefit of owning in Nice. A property we have on the market in Lourmarin, Luberon, Provence, Les Olivettes, is a very special property that fits this bill, for example.
So, if you have a property in France you are considering selling that fit any of these categories, then you might want to talk with us. If it’s a winning property for our market, then it’s possible we’ll sell it very, very fast. And most likely to a North American just like you, making the transaction super easy and fun. All you have to do is email us and we’ll get back to you with some ideas!
You can also just contact us with your questions, by visiting our Sevices page.
A la prochaine…
The Adrian Leeds Group®
P.S. Artist Richard Ewen paints landscapes and street scenes of France as well as wonderful, intricate depictions of the reflections of Paris streets as seen through shop windows. These delicate yet colorful, masterful paintings are available to purchase at WOA-Gallery.com. Images can be purchased in the US and France.
P.P.S. If you missed the author of “Demystifying the French: How to Love Them, And Make Them Love You, Janet Hulstrand, on the past webinar sponsored by the Fédération des Alliances Françaises USA, then you are NOT out of luck. You can watch the entire session by clicking on this Youtube link.