The Unexpected Benefits of Managing a Small Property Business in Paris


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Paris Perfect Owners Become Friends

When we started Paris Perfect, our goal was to share the joys of living like a Parisian with others, so they could see how much better it is to stay in an apartment and enjoy all those little charms of daily life. Then an unexpected surprise happened. Some of our families enjoyed living like a Parisian so much — they asked if we could help purchase a Paris apartment for them, so they could come to Paris at various times during the year while Paris Perfect managed it when they were away.

It took us a while to get used to the idea, but a few guest/friends persisted so we gave them a call when we heard about a nice property for sale.  They instantly agreed and we helped them purchase, remodel and furnish it.

Champagne Paris Perfect Vacation Rental

Our beautiful Champagne vacation rental in Paris

 

Our Second Remodel in Paris -- 1998. It was purchased from the State at Auction --'A la Bougie' -- the centuries-old custom of lighting a candle and extinguishing it when it's sold. The fabric walls had not been cleaned since the 1950s.

Our Second Remodel in Paris — 1998. BEFORE photo below. It was purchased from the State at Auction –‘A la Bougie’ — the centuries-old custom of lighting a candle and extinguishing it when it’s sold. The fabric walls had not been cleaned since the 1950s. ABOVE you see the final result – and we even managed the nearly impossible feat of getting permission from the city to transform the smaller window on the  left to a third set of French doors. Adds so much to the final design!

Finding just the right apartment in Paris can be a long and difficult process.  With over 3,000 independent real estate agents in Paris and no central listing service, you need someone on the ground who lives and breathes the search in order to grab the gem immediately. Here’s an example:

The Apartment Below Didn’t Look Like Much — but the search agent we recommended saw the potential.  They encouraged the buyers to make a full price offer immediately — and they did!

messy worn out living room green bookcases

Someone who can see the potential of an apartment and contact buyers immediately

Our recommended team of builders remodeled the apartment to strict Paris building codes. Excellent builders are a big asset when you’re remodeling in Paris.

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Watching the transformation of the Beaujolais apartment in Paris

 

1a living room gray silk curtains

Turning a Pig’s Ear Into a Silk Purse in Paris

Even if you live in Paris full time, a buyer needs someone who can jump on a listing, view quickly and get it under purchase contract before it’s too late.  Who knows how far to go negotiating the price, what to  look for in terms of hidden problems  — and help buyers avoid them.  We became acquainted with a number search agent/experts in Paris and found one small agency that we feel is the best. They live and breathe Paris real estate, possessing our own mantra of not settling for anything but the best for your money.  During a search, they’ll ask us the “Paris Perfect” evaluation in terms of rental potential and our we don’t hesitate to give our honest opinion.

pink tiled bathroom neon shower curtain bidet

What Can You Do with an Outdated Pink Tiled Bathroom?

 This is What You Can Do!

3i en suite bathroom blue mosaic and beige tiles

Use Oversize Marble Tiles in Cream and Pale Blue Mosaics from Italy to Turn it Into a Chic Modern Bathroom

 Happy Owners on Their First Visit

french parquet floors

Happy Owners Visiting Their Apartment For the First Time — They Bought Sign Unseen, Based on Photos and Our Recommendation

 

The beautiful finished product of the Alsace apartment - the owners adore it!

The beautiful finished product of the Alsace apartment – the owners adore it!

With this, a new passion was born! We helped find the perfect Paris apartment and with the design, planning and décor – including all of our top tips for buying and renovating apartments – and rules like at least 4 double sockets (8 as a minimum) in the kitchen, 4 sockets on each side of a bed, (how many times have you wanted to plug in your computer and work from bed, only to find your only lamp is already plugged into it?), must have at least 25 hooks per apartment (how many times have you tried to hang your toilet kit in a bathroom to find none — or find your partner has taken the single hook for their kit?). In the last three years, we try to find the best location for a charging station and put 8 plugs at desk level so families can charge phones, ipads, computers, cameras and more.

Depending on the needs, we’ve recommended our favorite tradespeople, builders, notaires, accountants and more. It became a labor of love, and we’re proud that we treat our owners, their apartments and the care they need as our own.

3 families of owners from both coasts of the US — we introduced them a few years ago. With children of similar ages, they all get together each year in Paris.

Our owners are all smarter than me and a wonderfully varied group with one thing in common: they love spending time in Paris as much as we do!  They come from all corners of the world – from Singapore to Hong Kong and Shanhai, Venezuela, Columbia, Brazil, Australia, the Philippines, Costa Rica, Belgium, Italy, the UK, Florida, California, Virginia, Hawaii Washington,  and more.  We are proud they referred friends who own Paris apartments to our small company and many asked us to market and manage their own places in Paris.

madelyn and ann on balcony

Winter sun with owner Ann Huff

3 warm welcome in paris

… Who Didn’t Need Our Help to Transform Their Apartment into One of the Most Beautiful Flats in Paris!

13 a French country kitchen with built in refrigerators under counter

The Beaumes de Venise Apartment With Country Style French Kitchen

They are experts in a wide variety of fields:  Medicine, Ophthalmology, Investing, Property Development, Pharmaceuticals, Media, Banking, Journalism, Manufacturing, Consulting, Journalism, Advertising and Law — from University Professors to a Nobel Prize Winner in Physics. The upside surprise of spending time together in Paris was completely unexpected – and increasingly the reason we feel so lucky with our lifestyle transition from banking and heart surgery to small scale property marketing, management and development.

Paris balcony

Visiting Their New Apartment Before Building Works Start…

We share a common interest, curiosity and passion — and our get-togethers are always memorable– combining good food (and long discussions about favorite places to eat in Paris), good wine, wide ranging discussions, loads of laughter.  As owners arrive in Paris throughout the year, we introduce them to  each other — and they later get together in Paris or throughout the world.

Paris Perfect Owners and Friends

Philippe, Lisa and husband Thomas in front of Philippe’s favorite boulangerie

Recently we had lunch at Café Constant on rue St. Dominique with the Taylors, a wonderful family of 5 from Palo Alto. Seven years ago they contacted us:  they had a dream to buy an apartment in Paris where they could spend vacations with their three children, helping them learn about France and a culture they loved.. Thomas interviewed several companies for the search including ourselves.  There are other good agencies in Paris, but Thomas told us he liked our openness and no-pressure approach.  Small world; we offered to introduce him to several other owners before he made up his mind — and he took us up on the offer.  As coincidence would have it, one of the owners was his Chief Resident while he was an intern at Stanford Medical School!

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Buying any Real Estate is a Serious Commitment. We Want to Offer Conservative, Open Advice to Every Potential Buyer

We located a gorgeous apartment and they purchased it sight unseen due to their work commitments. We helped them find a mortgage and an excellent notaire to complete the purchase. Since they couldn’t oversee the remodel our general manager and I stepped in to follow the works . It was one of the hardest projects yet, because the architect and builder were extremely macho and wouldn’t take input from mere women.  We basically argued for 4 straight months and beyond completion so every snag was fixed.  We had an obligation to this family, who trusted us enough to buy an apartment 6,000 miles away on only our word.   Long story short, the Taylors visited their apartment shortly before the works were completed and they love it!  Best of all, it’s near to several other owner apartments who all get together when they come to Paris. I joke about everyone retiring and hosting pajama parties between apartments with movies and popcorn like college days.

We are open and conservative in our approach to guiding owners to invest in property in Paris.  It bothers us to read promotional headlines from agents who shamelessly promote a ‘Dive In; The Water’s Fine!’ approach — confusing historic returns with projected future ones. In our minds, purchasing a Paris property is an important investment at any size and buyers should be aware of the advantages and the disadvantages.  While it’s been the right decision for ourselves and our owners — it may not be for everyone.  First and foremost, no buyer should take financial risk to invest, never depend on the income from rentals to pay their mortgage, nor settle for a property that is not the highest standard for their investment.

Never Buy a Property That Isn’t Quite What You Hoped For. We call it the 24 hour rule; if you’re not sure, wait 24 hours and see how you feel the next day.

One agent boasted that the value of their apartment had compounded at a 30% rate since purchase!  Most recently the comparables on my own apartment increased again, taking an investment of 210,000 euros from five years ago to a value of 630,000 Euros today — three times — a compounded appreciation of more than 30%. Seems shocking, but true!
I couldn’t resist; I plugged in the formula for IRR  on my calculator, and gently informed the agent the Compounded Growth rate was much lower.

In terms of investment in works, here’s an example of the wiring that goes into each remodel we supervise:  all the wires are fed through PVCcables so they are easily accessible in the walls should wires need to be added to checked.

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We’re Fortunate to Have the Best Builders We’ve Ever Met in Paris

 

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European Owners Who Love Burgundy Wine as Much as Philippe! They brought in Belgian builders to remodel their magnificent apartment, called La Comtesse!

These fun times have inspired Owner Get-Togethers! One of our owners is an ophthalmologist by profession, but his passion is food.  He convinced a group of us to go to Japan in order to compare Japanese and French Cuisine last spring.  There is a shared respect between these two countries and their cuisine, so much so that many of our favorite restaurants are equally loved by Japanese and the locals.  We were delighted to join, and are still remembering the wonderful meals and fun times together.

First Owner Trip Together! Food Research Comparing Japanese vs French cuisine…

A few months ago, we were paid the highest compliment by one of our early owners: “When we came to Paris on our honeymoon, I told my wife that one day I hoped to own an apartment in Paris — to share the joys of living in Paris with our family.  It was a pipe dream, but after we stayed with you, we vowed to become part of your Paris Perfect family. You made it happen — we purchased not one but two apartments you found for us! ‘

Fooling around in Tokyo… Watch Out for Burgundy 2015 for our next Owner Get Together!

We’ve vowed to organize an owners’ trip in July, 2015 to Philippe’s favorite wine region – Burgundy!

Watch this space for ‘Burgundy 2015’!

vineyards in burgundy france

La bourgogne — the Rolling Hills of Bugundy

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wine tasting and pate for lunch in burgundy

 

TO BURGUNDY IN 2015!

wine tasting in burgundy

We Can’t Wait to Toast Many More Good Times Together –Burgundy, 2015!

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