Archive for the ‘Jardin Saint-Paul’ Category

The 7 Questions You Need to Ask Before Buying a Fractional Ownership

January 5, 2009




1.  Who is the Developer?
Before you entrust your money to someone, check out their experience and track record.  It may sound like common sense, but many people are swayed by a slick website with fancy graphics and photos, without a clear understanding who they are dealing with.  Does the developer have the legal, technical and financial strength and experience to complete the project as presented?  What is their track history?  Do they provide the ability to speak with past clients?  These are important questions to ask.
2.  What are the annual costs of ownership?
As a part owner, one would reasonably expect that annual operating costs would bear a close relationship to the annual assessments. Of course, if concierge and hotel-like perks are part of the package, this can raise the annual costs dramatically.  Look at the true per diem cost of ownership (annual fee divided by number of days use) to determine if this is truly a good value. See if these costs are disclosed publicly on their website.  If they aren’t, there may be a reason.
3.  Who manages the property and at what cost to the owners?
Some developers encourage and train the owners on self-management; others have a management contract with sister companies.  This is profitable for the developer, but not always a good deal for the owner.  Find out ahead of time what the annual costs of management are, and whether the management contract is able to be canceled or renegotiated.
4.  How much markup does the Developer charge?
Most developers do not like to disclose their profit margins, sometimes for good reason.  It is not reasonable to expect a Developer to work for free, nor to expect that a fractional interest of a property that has been completely renovated and furnished, is somehow the same as the market value of the same apartment times that percentage.  It costs a lot of money to find, acquire, renovate, furnish, market and complete a fractional project.
Having said that, Paris property prices per m2 are published every quarter and are well known in the local industry, down to each neighborhood.  Anything over 140%  of current market value divided by the number of shares is, in my mind, excessive. Some developers have a markup in excess of 300%. (4 times market value). What can I say, except that, when it is time to sell, knowing this information before you buy can mean the difference between enjoying a profit and taking a major financial hit.  The real estate market is not kind to overpriced property.
5.  What is the legal structure of the Project?
Ask this question upfront if it is not disclosed.  Buying a property in a foreign country is fraught with risks and complexities. A simplistic legal structure may be easier to understand, and inexpensive to form, but could be extremely costly down the road.  Remember, France is not particularly friendly to foreign companies as a general rule, and foreign companies that do business in France without the annual filing of required disclosures and payment of any requisite taxes are dealt with particularly harshly.
6.  Does the Developer offer a rental program for unused time?
This is a harmless question if the property is located in the US, but a deadly one if the property is located in France.  All I can say is, if the Developer is not aware of, or ignores French law pertaining to rental of property, it is the Owners that will pay the consequences.  See my commentary in the FAQ section of this site.
7.  Can I reasonably expect to use the time that I have purchased?
The whole reason behind fractional ownership is that you can purchase just the amount of time that you would reasonably expect to use.  Don’t buy more time than you need, and never buy excess time for the possibility of rental income.
Some developers require that you take your time in 2 different time periods each year (usually high season and low season).  This is fine if you expect to travel to Paris twice each year.  Otherwise, factor in the additional cost to travel to Paris just to be able to use that extra time.
If you get the answers to these questions and feel comfortable with the answers, then you have done your homework.
Reprinted from the Paris Home Shares website at Questions.html

TWTWTW – This Was the Week That Was!

May 16, 2008

I am probably dating myself, but a long time ago, there was a TV show called “That Was the Week That Was”, a parody on the week’s recent events.

Well, for me, this was the week that was, and simply because of the convergence of two articles regarding our company, Paris Home Shares LLC, and what we are trying to accomplish with fractional ownership in Paris. It was mind-boggling.

First, our company was highlighted by longtime journalist and Paris newsletter publisher, Adrian Leeds, on her weekly newsletter called Parler Paris.  She focused on our development of an apartment in the Marais, which coincidentally, her property team had found for us 8 months prior.  With the renovation of the apartment complete, and only a few shares remaining to sell, she said many nice things about us to her readership, and we were barraged by e-mails expressing interest in the property.

The next day, Wednesday, the NY Times ran an article on Paris Home Shares LLC, again doing a photo feature on the same property, which we call Jardin Saint-Paul.  Instantly, my e-mailbox gained 50 pounds, and the barrage became a steady avalanche of requests.  Clearly, there is a lot of pent up demand for quality property at a reasonable price, particularly in this economic climate, and especially in high priced cities like Paris.

It is now Friday afternoon, and my ears feel like cantaloupes and my fingers are sore from responding to all of the inquiries.  Yet, this weekend, I feel a little happier that a lot more people know and like what we are trying to accomplish.  On top of that, Jardin Saint-Paul is now sold out, with 12 happy Owners, and Chez La Tour, our newest project, rapidly appears to be heading in the same direction.

If you would like to read the NY Times article, just click here.

Now, I am waiting for the next shoe to drop, as our company will again be featured in the top British travel magazine Homes Overseas in their June issue.

Jardin Saint-Paul – Renovation Complete!

January 23, 2008

Finally, after months of hard work commencing in August, all of the niggly details that go into renovation of a home have been handled, and our work is done!  In fact, 95% of the work was done early in December, when the first of our Owners decided to give it a go. Our only major delay was for the granite counters that would replace the existing counters in the kitchen.  After weeks of waiting for delivery, we learned that the granite company was on the verge of bankruptcy! So we hastily pulled our order and started all over with another company.  Fortunately, they delivered the product as promised, and the new countertops were installed this past weekend, even while Owners were staying in the apartment! 

New Granite Kitchen Counter

Today, we finally worked the kinks out of our Wifi connection with the help of a company technician, who admitted that the problem lay with and not us.  Fancy that.  Of course it took over 30 calls and 2 months to get a technician to come out and fix the problem.

All that remains is to find 3 more Paris lovers who would like to call Jardin Saint-Paul their home during their stay in the City of Light.  And then, we can put out the “SOLD OUT” sign for our 2nd successful fractional ownership project. 

Pending Price Increase – Jardin Saint-Paul

November 18, 2007

Our current fractional offering in the Marais, Jardin Saint-Paul, is nearing completion of renovation, which is on target for December 1st.  At that time, prices for the few remaining fractional shares will be increased to 92,000 euros per share. One of our current owners will actually be occupying the apartment starting that day. If you are not familiar with the project, I encourage you to visit our website at

 If you have been thinking about joining us, don’t wait too much longer!  Here are a couple photos of the new look of the apartment.

New Bathroom with Italian Marble Master Bedroom Working Marble Fireplace

Back From Paris – A Grève Survivor!

November 18, 2007

As you may have guessed from my last post, we have been in Paris for the last 2 weeks tending to the completion of our latest apartment, Jardin Saint-Paul.  Sue and I worked around the clock, scouring stores for drapes, artwork, dishes, and the various little items in which to furnish the apartment.  In addition, I helped the crew with the final stages of construction, cleaning and getting the apartment ready.  Unfortunately, there was little time to play the role of tourist, although we did have a chance to visit some close friends in Saint Denis for a couple hours one Sunday.

 greve-gare-du-nord.jpg  While there, we experienced firsthand the French transportation strike (le grève) that started on November 14th.  The city was extraordinarily quiet, it seemed, that first day, as many shopowners were unable or decided not to open that day.  The highways were a total mess, and every taxi and available bicycle was in use all day.  The Metro system was barely functional and always jam packed and running late if at all. We had plans to treat ourselves to a ballet at the Opera Garnier on the 15th, but found out that day that the ballet was canceled because that union also went out on strike. Our last encounter with the effects of the strike came on our departure home, when we learned that our airline crew went out on strike in sympathy, leaving us to board a sardin can of a rented private charter.  Other than that, Parisians tended to groan a lot and otherwise take everything in stride. All in all, an interesting experience!

Update – Jardin Saint-Paul

October 24, 2007


This post is for those of you who have been following the renovation work at our current fractional development, Jardin Saint-Paul, in the Marais.  I am pleased to report that work continues to move along on schedule, despite the recent strikes in Paris.  There is even a fairly good possibility that Sue and I can stay there on our next trip to Paris, coming up in about a week.  Here is the status report:

1.  All of the marble has been installed in the bathroom and water closet room.

2.  The new hardwood floor installation begins tomorrow, and should be complete by Monday morning.  The flooring is massif Ipé vernis.  I had never heard of Ipé before our trip to Paris, and my understanding is that it is a rich fine grain Brazilian hardwood.  “Vernis” means that it is already prefinished, in this case with 3 coats of polyurethane finish.  “Massif” simply means solid wood, in this case 15mm thick, which equates to about 5/8″ thickness.   Once installed, I believe that the transformation to the apartment will be astounding.

3.  Our new wainscoating has been installed along the entry corridor to provide some character and depth to this long wall.

4.  The final coat of paint has been applied to the bedrooms and hall corridor.  All that awaits is the hardwood floors at this point.

5.  Bathroom cabinets, mirror and marble counter have arrived, and will be installed by Friday.  This will complete the bathroom renovation, provide an entirely new and fresh look, with much more counter space and functionality.

6.  The existing bathroom sink and fixtures have been modified and fitted into the water closet room, adding an additional sink area where none existed.

7.  Boxes of goods continue to arrive daily from France and Denver, with all of the little things we will add to the apartment to make it truly a spectacular pied-a-terre.

I have been promised photos by Saturday by our crew, and I think everyone will be pleased with how things are shaping up.

If you would like to learn more about our project, our about fractional ownership in Paris, visit our website at and click on the link for “Available Properties”.

Jardin Saint-Paul Owners Meeting

October 21, 2007

JSP Meeting 

    Yesterday, Sue and I hosted the first annual Owners meeting for Jardin Saint-Paul, our fractional ownership apartment in the Marais.  The weather was spectacular; blue skies with bright sunshine all afternoon.  The owners came from both coasts of the US to attend, to meet each other, and to enjoy some fine food and wine together. We decided to hold the meeting outdoors, because it was so nice.

 The first part of our agenda was drawing for the months of use for each Owner, and everyone was eager with anticipation.  It went quite smoothly, and the climax was when I was able to hand out the keys for the apartment to each of the Owners.  Check out these smiling faces!  This is the part of my work that makes it all worthwhile!

getting-keys2.jpggetting-keys1.jpgKeys to Their new Pied-A-Terregetting-keys3.jpg

As part of the meeting, we ratified our budget for the coming year, talked about the neighborhood in which the apartment was located, and shared our common experiences about Paris.  Everyone had a great time, and now we are all planning our next trip to Paris in our very own apartment!