Property Letter

Posted by admin in Property Letters | November 19th 2008

PL79 – Renovations, Improvements and Adding Value.

Dear All,



Many people ask the same question – « Can’t you find us somewhere that needs renovation? »

The motivations are many but underlying it is always the thought that there might be an unrecognised bargain out there. Perhaps we can find the « renovators dream » and a small fortune waiting to be made. Well, there are some – they do actually exist, and I highlight possible options in some of my Property Letters.

Many of us (including Vicky and I) have identified opportunities and done the renovation, and it is exciting. But there is also significant value to be added if the property we buy has position, potential for transformation, and if the price is right. And of course, if we have the nerve to do it.

We generally have at least one or two projects ongoing at any time, and have gathered around us a team of people who have performed some stunning transformations. Builders, plumbers, electricians, carpenters, tilers, and for the final phases the interior designer and decorators to help put the icing on the cake. We have all the skills to call on.

The photos illustrate just a few examples of many transformations we have been involved in and they give an idea of what is possible – I hope you find them interesting. We have inevitably missed some good opportunities along the way because we haven’t been able to move quickly enough, but what matters are
those we didn’t miss, and those opportunities that are still waiting to be exploited.

Following the “before and after” photos below (some that we didn’t miss) are a few “opportunities
that are still out there”.

It’s never too early – and it’s certainly never too late to find a sow’s ear!

A little jewel.







….and After.

To view more photos of this apartment on our rentals website click on this link:

A heartbeat from the Palais


Before… ….During…


… and After


To view more photos of this apartment on our rentals website click on this link:

Le Suquet – a breath of fresh air..








…and After.

To view more photos of this apartment on our rentals website click on this link:

Magic in Palm Beach.





….and After

To view more photos of this apartment on our rentals website click on this link:

Some observations from “French Property News” magazine.

“Now is a good time to consider property investment in Paris (or the Cote d’Azur – Guy) as prices are holding strong and look set to rise…

Looking at the latest figures from the notaires, it seems that property owners in Paris (and the Cote d’Azur – Guy) are able to relax once again due to France’s policies on lending. And it’s more reason than ever to think about property investment and making your dream come true.

What makes Paris (and the Cote d’Azur – Guy) so different?

  1. Paris is known worldwide for its beauty – in its architecture, culture, food, drink and lifestyle.
    Foreign investment continues within the luxury sector in particular helping to keep the market healthy.
  2. Restrictions on development have kept units at a steady number keeping demand high.
  3. The borders of Paris are clearly defined with no option to sprawl into surrounding areas.
  4. Plans from developers to build upwards are restricted and kept to an absolute minimum.
  5. There is little debt within French households.
  6. Figures show that the average French household only move three times in their life. As many properties are passed down through families it keeps the market for high quality apartments tight.
  7. The above factors merged with restricted lending practices have lessened the effects experienced by many other markets.”

“Emigration from Britain is showing no signs of slowing down as more people look to France and other overseas destinations for a better lifestyle…

According to figures from AXA insurance, emigration is set to hit record highs of over 500,000 this year, the equivalent of the entire population of Leeds crossing the Channel.

Figures from the Institute of Public Policy Research show that ‘better quality of life’ tops the chart for reasons to leave Britain, accounting for 37%, closely followed by ’better weather’ with 32% then ‘Britain too expensive’, 24%.

France has long been one of the most popular destinations for emigrating Brits, and has seen a massive 103% increase in enquiries in the last year. France is a constant favourite due to its warmer climate, lower priced housing and more relaxed lifestyle.”

“Unlike in the UK French lenders are enticing new customers with favourable interest rates…

In stark contrast to the situation throughout the UK, where the few lenders still in a position to grant mortgages have failed to pass on the rate savings to their clients, French lenders are enticing new customers with increased loan-to-value ratios, longer terms and favourable interest rates.”

As always, please let me know if you would rather not receive these Property Letters and I’ll remove your address from the list.

Please have a look at our website – comments would be welcomed:

With kind regards,



·       The prices quoted are asking prices only.

·       The selection offered in the Property Letter represents a few properties chosen from many, so if what you are looking for is not here, we can tailor-make our search for you.

Please remember that if you follow the links you will be able to read about the properties, look at a gallery of photos, and look at the position of the property on a map. It’s worth the visit to the site. On the site you will also find all my old Property Letters and articles that I have written from time to time.

Palm Beach – Jean Cresp.

Studio apartment to be a One Bedroom apartment.

Renovation opportunity.

·       38m² of living space

·       14m² of terrace.

·       2nd floor of 7.

·       Aspect south and west.

·       Wonderful view of pristine gardens, sea and hills.

·       Asking price – 265 000€

·       (Psst – make an offer)

Here we have an opportunity to make an offer in a bid to own a little piece of real estate in one of the top suburbs, top streets, in the top city in France. If you scroll up to the before and after pictures of “A Little
Jewel” – the first renovation I highlighted above – you’ll get the idea.

The building is one of the grand mid 20th century buildings that make the Croisette of Cannes and the desirable suburb of Palm Beach what they are. They are wonderful, solid, well managed residences, always with a guardian, beautifully gardened and maintained. They are classy and sought after property.

The apartment itself is on the 2nd floor and looks out over the quiet gardens leading down to the Croisette, the Port Canto, and the beaches of the Bay of Cannes. Beyond the Bay the Estorel Hills are visible from the balcony and it is behind these that the sun dips in the west.

The apartment needs total renovation, knocking out of some walls to create a new small bedroom, and the complete replacement of the bright blue bathroom (see “A Little Jewel” above which was also a studio with a blue bathroom) with a modern one, and a new kitchen. The 38m² of living space offer every possibility to achieve this with lovely and valuable results. The balcony is remarkably spacious, and a valuable asset. Sea view from a spacious balcony is highly sought after!

The position overlooking the Croisette is magnificent. It is not in the busy heart of Cannes but no more than a ten minute walk to the centre of it. This is also a very good rental prospect.

Lacour. Two bedroom apartment.

Renovation opportunity.

  • 65m² of living space.
  • 12m² of terrace.
  • 1st & 2nd floor of 8.
  • Aspect south and west.
  • Open view of well treed street and other apartment buildings.
  • Parking collective for residents
  • Asking price – 300 000€




This attractive duplex apartment is on 1st and 2nd floors of a good block in the suburb of Cannes just behind the Hotel Martinez. We have quite a number of apartments in this area and whereas they are not as easy to rent for congresses as the apartments in town, they are nowhere near the price. They do well on medium and long term (residential) rentals.



The apartment needs a light renovation because it is painted in very bright colours and they are unlikely to please anyone other than the past occupant! (Forgive me if you love it!) I think it would be advisable to add a second toilet upstairs, and redo the kitchen. This is an apartment that one can add value to by doing a good renovation. (The price is very attractive)

Cannes Centre – Three bedroom apartment

Renovation opportunity.

·       92m² of living space.

·       2nd floor of 3.

·       Construction – 1900.

·       50m² of roof terrace!

·       Three large bedrooms.

·       Living room, separate kitchen, separate toilet.

·       Only one bathroom to date.

·       Views – the pedestrian street below and nearby buildings.

·       Cellar.

·       Asking price – 795 000€.

·       (Psst – make a low offer!)



This high ceiling apartment in a well maintained 1900 building has fabulous potential. It is right in the heart of Cannes amongst the shopping streets and restaurants, but quiet because it is on a pedestrian street. Remarkably it also has no vis-à-vis, meaning that no buildings look directly at or into it. There is both quiet and privacy. It is a short two minute walk to the Croisette and the Palais des Festivals.


Most unique is the private 50m² terrace! No building overlooks this terrace which will be an absolutely perfect venue for entertaining groups of guests and business associates. Entertainment space is in high demand and this terrace is perfect. Old awnings require to be replaced, and the terrace can accommodate a
marquee tent for functions.

The apartment itself needs moderate renovation and the creation of a second bathroom. In its simplest realisation it should become a three bedroom, two bathroom apartment with a separate guest toilet and a kitchen, large living room and of course the very valuable terrace.

Cannes Centre – Pradignac.

A « Foot in the Door » Studio Apartment.

  • 25 m² of living space.
  • Balconette.
  • 1st floor.
  • Aspect west.
  • View of the street leading to the seafront.
  • Asking price – 200 000€

This studio is in a very good building with a guardien and a rather attractive interior courtyard. It is on the first floor and from a narrow balconette looks down the narrow street about 100m to the Croisette and the sea, with the Palais des Festivals diagonally opposite. It is in the middle of the restaurant and shopping area, Rue d’Antibes being 50m away, in the other direction.

It is being sold furnished and ready to rent and its position is ideal. One needs do nothing at all to it, but if some improvements are undertaken either right away or in the future they could include modernising the kitchen, partitioning off the sleeping area making it more comfortable and private, and allowing the creation of a separate and comfortable living area. In the immediate time frame though, I would only recommend some improvement and updating of the furnishings to add to its appeal and its rental appeal.

The apartment is air conditioned and double glazed – making it quiet if one wishes to exclude the sounds from the street at night.

This is an ideal and affordable little working unit with which to start. It is with just such an apartment that many of us who have invested in Cannes have started, and the position guarantees long term growth.

An Original House and Shop.

Original house and Shop

Original house and Shop

The House in the heart of Old Town Mougins.

  • 78m² of living space.
  • Fully restored.
  • 12m² of top floor terrace.
  • Aspect – east.
  • Panoramic view across the Old Town and valleys to snow capped mountains.
  • Style – original stone house.
  • Two spacious bedrooms.
  • Two en-suite bathrooms.
  • Asking price – 690 000€.


This charming village house on four levels is in the heart of the Mediaeval Old Walled Town of Mougins. It is one of the most famous and adored traditional hilltop Provencal villages that ranks with St Paul, Eze and a select few others. Mougins is particularly famed for its exceptional gastronomic restaurants, and galleries.

The house is located in a quiet pedestrian street at the heart of the town, two minutes walk to excellent restaurants, bars, shops and galleries. It is only a short drive down to the beaches of Cannes and the Croisette, 25 minutes to Nice airport, and 10 minutes to three of the best known golf courses on the Cote d’Azur. Italy, Monaco and world class ski resorts are all within easy access.

The house has been carefully restored to retain all of its original charm, but equipped with up to date fixtures and equipment to meet every need of modern life. The original wooden beams, stone walls and Provencal terracotta floors have been carefully preserved.




The narrow street is quiet and without any bars or restaurants although they are only a couple of minutes away. Free parking is available in the village car parks.

On the lower ground floor is a lovely big living room with an open fireplace.

On the ground floor is a twin bedroom with shower and toilet en-suite.

On the first floor is a double bedroom with a luxury bathroom and toilet.

On the second floor are a spacious modern kitchen and a dining area opening directly onto the sunny terrace which is spacious and begs to be used for as many meals as the weather permits. The view is spectacular and very French! The rooftops of the Old Town fall way to the rolling valleys and hills, and beyond are the snowy peaks of the mountains.

The owner has run a website and has achieved holiday rentals from delighted guests to the value of 18 779€ in 2008, 13 370€ in 2007, and 17 975€ in 2006. So holiday rentals are a very real option.

The Shop below the House.

Asking price – 250 000€.




Through a separate (adjacent) entrance one descends a few steps to a quaint and lovely old stone walled shop (now empty). It is perfect for a gallery of which there are many in Mougins because it is so well known for its art, and many renowned painters and sculptors base themselves there. The gallery comes with its own separate toilet and wash basin, and plenty of floor and wall space in two rooms. The one room has natural light through the glass entrance door and the other through a window to the street.

The shop can be bought with the house, or may be sold separately.

Leave a Comment