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SPECIAL EDITION: It’s a Steal, And a Good…Niçois Style

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In yesterday’s French Property Insider, I reported to our readers about two property finds — “A Good Buy” and “A Steal” — worthy of consideration by those who are interested in investing in Nice. If you are not a reader of French Property Insider (and maybe you should be!) and would like to know more about these two worthy finds, then read below the Nouvellettre® (and if you don’t care, then read no further!):

I stared at the blue Mediterranean Sea on the 98 bus as it traveled along the water’s edge to the airport thinking how the time spent in Nice and along the Riviera is a welcome respite from the never-ending gray of Paris. Even as I was walking to dinner last night, in spite of my love for the City of Light, the realization hit that Paris is not gay, but gray — the stone is gray, the sky is gray and even the stairwell in my building is painted gray.

In Nice, the colors are everything but gray. The buildings are the colors of ochres, yellows, pinks and reds, with shutters that are of blues and greens…everything but gray. The sky is usually blue. Not the pale smoky blue of Paris, but blue-blue. The only thing that’s gray, come to think of it, are the pebbles…the Nice pebbles that are so characteristic of the shoreline.

One of the reasons to visit Nice this time was to look at properties that might be of interest to me personally and to you readers. Nice is a hot rental spot thanks to the tourists who come from all over the world to take in the pleasures of the Riviera. It’s here they feel really welcome…menus are written in French, English, Italian, Russian and sometimes German and other languages. The waitstaff usually can speak a few of those languages and if they can’t, they make an effort…with a smile. It’s a surprise after the caustic service one might get in Paris — even for me after all these years of speaking their language, one can still get that typically Parisian cold shoulder.

You understand. It’s not that I’m ‘anti-Paris.’ “Au contraire!” I LOVE PARIS, but loving Nice, too, doesn’t mean I’m ‘cheating’ on a lover! Nice is simply ‘nice’ — a refreshing lighthearted change from a more serious intellectual environment.

Of the properties I visited, two really stood out. One of them is a small studio and is a ‘good buy,’ but the other one is a potential two-bedroom and is ‘a steal.’ One of you needs to buy it, or perhaps you might like the ‘good buy’ — it will make a great investment, too.

Properties like this are seriously hard to find, particularly in Vieux Nice where I was specifically looking. There are four areas of the city worth considering if what you want is a profitable rental apartment: Vieux Nice, Carré d’Or, Promenade des Anglais and Old Port. If you want to read more about each of these districts (plus more) and see maps to understand the geography, visit a past issue of French Property Insider titled “Nice La Belle…District by District.”

The Studio — a Good Buy

First consider the 18.5 square meter studio that is a ‘good buy.’ Even at a high price per square meter, the size of the apartment is not the point as a small studio will rent every bit as well as a large studio given location and amenities. This one is well situated on an important corner steps from the Cours Saleya, the Palais de Justice and the ocean, with a balcony (3 square meters) and a view of the ocean on the third floor of a beautiful old building with a lift. Likable already, right?

It has one large window and a glass door to the balcony. The floors are tile. Even though a developer has whitewashed it and calls it renovated, it needs a complete rework to reverse the bathroom and the kitchen to make it really livable.

The asking price is 159,000€ and you can expect to spend about 40,000€ to renovate and decorate it to the level an American renter would appreciate. (Sure, you can do it cheaper, but we don’t advise it.) Keep in mind that closing costs are about 10% (with our finder’s fee of 3% and Notarial taxes and fees) and you can get a loan of up to 80%, therefore, your cash investment is approximately 87,700€.

Studio apartments in Old Nice rent for an average of 100€ a night and you can count on a minimum occupancy rate of 50%. Given the location and amenities, with property decor and marketing, this apartment will stay rented at maximum occupancy.

The Two-Bedroom — a Steal

You have to have imagination to see the potential in this property. Located on the second floor (without a lift) in a very old building on the north side of Old Nice, at the base of the steps of rue Pont Vieux where it meets boulevard Jean Jaurès. There is a tram stop just at this point and where the old bus station used to be — now razed and under construction is the new Coulée Verte, opening the view to the other side where you can see the Association d’Eleves de Classe Préparatoire du Lycée Massena on avenue Félix Faure.

From the seven widows, which face south and west on two sides of the building, you can see down rue Pont Vieux leading to Place Rossetti and the steps leading to boulevard Jean Jaurès. The ceilings are very high — about 4 meters. There is only one supporting wall — all between the one bedroom and the living room/kitchen and one toilet. This wall cannot be removed, however the wall now separating the kitchen and living room can be. This enables the reconfiguration of the plan to include a second bedroom and the addition of a bathroom without diminishing the very spacious living room of 26.5m2 that would easily accommodate living/dining/open-plan kitchen.

On the ground level are boutiques, no bars. Yes, there is some pedestrian street noise during the day. Yes, with the windows open, you would hear the trams, but they are more like the sound of a hiss of a snake than a bus with a horn. Otherwise, with double-paned windows, you would hear nothing.

This apartment’s only downside is that there is no balcony, but with views from seven windows, one wouldn’t care, particularly when I tell you the price: 199,000€. That makes the price per square meter 3,431€! And if you consider complete renovation, allowing 2,000€ per square meter, it’s still well under market value.

Once again, the closing costs are 10% (with our finder’s fee of 3% and Notarial taxes and fees), therefore if you took a mortgage of 80%, your cash investment would be 175,700€.

Two bedroom apartments in Old Nice rent for an average of 150€ a night and you can count on a minimum occupancy rate of 50%. Given the location and amenities, with property decor and marketing, this apartment will stay rented at maximum occupancy.

Yes, it’s twice the investment for 50% more return than the studio, but compare the per square meter values. The studio apartment, with renovation, would have an investment per square meter of 10,756€ compared to 5,431€ for the two-bedroom apartment, not including the closing costs.

For those of you SERIOUSLY interested in purchasing either apartment, we urge you to act now! Neither will be on the market for very long. In order to secure the property, an offer must be made which will hold it until you can visit the property and confirm the purchase. In the meantime, we would work with you quickly to arrange for financing and do all the necessary due diligence to ensure your investment is sound.

If this is the case, and you are a serious buyer, please email us immediately at [email protected]_Apartment and be sure to indicate in which apartment you are interested.

A la prochaine…

Adrian Nice Sept 2009Adrian Leeds

Director of The Adrian Leeds Group, LLC

(in Nice)

Respond to Adrian 


livingrm1P.S. West Village New York City studio apartment (with a perfect view of the Empire State Building) is available for vacation rental all of April for as little as $180/night, $1150/week, $3,200/month. Located in the heart of the coolest ‘hood’ in the city. “It’s super cozy, clean and comfortable.” A 50% deposit reserves your stay.

See the apartment at West Village Studio. For your reservations requests, email:[email protected]West_Village_Studio


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