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Investments

Upfront: we don't offer here properties for sale. You find here short information on the market for investment properties on the French Riviera and the risk of these investments.

The market for investments is starting with a little apartment for rent and rising up to apartment blocks, developments and commercial properties like hotels.
The investment market depends on the amount you would like to invest, the risk you want to take (higher risk = higher return, lower risk = lower return) and if it will be a short or long term investment for you.
Apartments and villas can be bought as an investment and rented out long term or short term (seasonal letting). Which solution offers the better return depends on the type of property and location. Rental returns can be 3-5%.
When you take a higher risk in terms of location or you buy a block of apartments or commercial property the rental return can and must be higher.
Advantage of seasonal or short term letting will be the possibility to use the property yourself when empty or off season without losing much rental return.
 
Investments in properties are in general very safe but can be risky if:
- you want or have to sell within a short time (up to 5 years),
- you bought in the wrong location,
- you bought the wrong property
- the property is not correctly managed.
 
WHY YOU SHOULD NOT DO A PROPERTY INVESTMENT IN FRANCE
My personal experience is that investing in properties in France is at least tricky.
You should invest in a property in France because you want to live in here part time, full time or use the property if you go into pension.
A pure investment as a buy-to-let in a unit lower than 150.000 Euro, does not make sense because of certain reasons.
 
1. Your profits don't cover Legal Costs
The profit of your property investment does not cover legal costs. If trouble occurs you have to call a lawyer, because you don't know the legal system or the language. Trouble occurs more often with foreign investors because they have higher expectations in the market or the service ability of the service providers. The service provider (mainly the property manager) does not want to deal with small things in a language he does not fully understand, ... In the end you have to call the lawyer and the lawyer politely asks you for a pre-payment, as you are a foreigner.

2. Soft costs
The notary, bank and sometimes agency fees are eating the first year's profit.

3. Taxes
Property taxes in France are high – depending of the type of investment and contract your tenant is taking a part of the taxes on his behalf but the income tax, land tax, capital gain tax and inheritance taxes are high and need to be paid by you during the investment, when you sell or by your inherits. Please make sure that you take personal advice before you buy.

4. The Property Manager is not listening to you
Your weight in a condominium is small, and the property manager does not really want to deal with you outside his mother language. You sign a French property management contract which you didn't understand, and you don't realize that you gave power of attorney to act without your Ok for everything below a certain amount. Often this includes the rentals on a certain price.

5. Low quality of the building and bad finishing
Properties in the lower price brackets are often not renovated or renovated just to look good. The real cost of ownership occurs later, or sometimes too late.

6. You don't just buy the flat, you buy into the whole house
You buy a share of the condominium not just the flat: flat buyers are often not aware that they buy a share into the whole house, they just focus on the flat, and forget to check the roof and the cellar. But the roof and the cellar can cause major problems and damage total investment.

7. Time Pressure
Property buyers are often act or are put under time pressure by the seller or agent to close the deal. Mistakes as shown happen, but you buy second hand properties as seen without any guarantee. You have to proof that the seller/agent knew the problems, this is often time and money consume if not impossible.
 
Conclusion
If you don't speak French and if you have no understanding of the local market and of the typical problems of properties a pure property investment up to Euro 150.000 in France is nothing for you.

Exception: new built
If you buy into a new unit, either a fully refurbished or completely newly built property, the seller has to give you 10 years warranty.
This warranty is backed by insurance and the notary will prove that the insurance is in place.
Additionally it is often the case that new condos are bought by foreigners, so the language problem might be solved. Ask the seller or sellers agent about the property management company, who is typically installed by the developer/seller for the first 1 year.
 
WHY YOU SHOULD DO A PROPERTY INVESTMENT IN FRANCE
France is one of the top locations in Europe and the world.
 
Safety
France is a save country and the purchase process arranged by public notaries is save as well. You usually sign French contracts but they will be translated in your language.

Financing
Financing is available and French banks are usually happy to finance your investment in residential properties up to 80% of the market price and commercial properties up to 50% of the market price.
These are average numbers and depend on the property and your personal circumstances.

Info on the Côte d'Azur:
The French Riviera with its 120 km of coastline is since over two centuries famous for the exceptional microclimate, which has greatly contributed to the worldwide good reputation.
Residents on the Côte d'Azur enjoy almost 300 sunny days a year.
Its international stance has allowed the French Riviera to diversify its economy and to become home for many high-tech companies, whilst already enjoying world recognition as a tourist destination.

Details:
- The Côte d' Azur is max 2 hours flight away from all the major European cities and connected to the entire world
- The Alpes-Maritimes have more than 1 Mio inhabitants
- 12% of the population is foreign, 57% of which is of European origin
- Nice is the 5th largest city of France

Economy
- 19 300 jobs in the information technology
- 9 180 jobs in the life sciences and fine chemistry
- 6 300 jobs in research and development

Education
- in total the Côte d' Azur welcomes a total of 37 000 students
- more than 10 schools offer an international curriculum

Healthcare
- 19 000 professionals in the healthcare
according to the report by the World Health Organisation provides France the best general healthcare of the 191 member states

Culture
- 130 museums and monuments open to the public
- 100 workshops and galleries
- 500 cultural events a year

Infrastructure
- the airport from Nice is the 1st airport in France after Paris and one of the « top 100 » worldwide
- 38 airlines are based on Nice international airport with direct services to 59 destinations in 22 countries throughout the world
- Daily connections between Nice and New York
- more than 20 foreign banks and financial institutions are represented on the Côte d' Azur, not to mention the financial place occupied by the Principality of Monaco
- The Côte d' Azur has the highest concentration of Convention Centres in Europe
- The Science Park of Sophia Antipolis has 30000 jobs in 1300 companies

Life style
- 21 golf courses in total
- 14 ski resorts about an hour from the coast

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