This case study is about a French property which was sold in tenths by a regular yours2share advertiser Ginny Blackwell of FrenchPropertyShares.com. Ginny advertised shares for sale in Maison Bleue in Quarante, Languedoc, France in 2007 and 2008
Maison Bleu is a three storey, three bedroom, three bathroom village home in Quarante, a small historic village with all services, only 30 minutes from the Mediterranean beaches and near the Canal du Midi. Narbonne is 30 minutes drive and it is 45 minutes to Carcassonne, with easy connecting flights to London.
Maison Bleu has an open living room/dining area, a fully appointed kitchen and an outdoor terrace. The house is furnished with a combination of French antiques, wicker and pine furniture, firm beds, unique lighting, fully equipped kitchen and many decorative items. It also includes satellite TV, telephone, washer and dryer and all dishware and linens.
Each 1/10th share cost approx 45,000 Euros and provide five weeks use per year.
Ginny: “An email popped up on my computer screen in December 2009 – “You are invited to our 2nd Annual Maison Bleue meeting at the home of Chris and Cheryl in New Jersey on January 18th and 19th” 2010.”
The story of Chris and Cheryl’s venture into fractional home ownership in their wonderful three bedroom village home in the south of France is one of Ginny’s favourites.
Ginny: “Chris, whose roots are in South Africa and has a lovely English accent, contacted me early in 2008 to learn more about FPS and shared ownership in general. Our correspondence continued for several months and, typical of many of my newsletter readers, I think Chris was enthralled with France, the way of life there and very much wanted to be a part owner. In the meantime, his wife Cheryl, was more sceptical of the concept and probably found it all “too out there for comfort!””
Ginny: “Nonetheless, November 2008 rolled around and Chris finally convinced Cheryl to take a three-way phone call with me so that we could include her in our discussions. Cheryl had a long list of questions that took me through the wringer! “What is the legal structure? Was parking available? Who cleaned the house after each visit? Can we resell our share later on? This went on for about an hour.”
When Ginny didn’t hear back from the Chris and Cheryl for a couple of weeks, she figured that ownership in France in 2008 was probably not in the cards for this family. Chris confirmed this in a later email.
Ginny: “However about 10 days before Christmas, I got a discreet phone call from Cheryl nervously explaining that although it scared her to death to buy something sight unseen, Chris really wanted to own this home and “well…”she hesitated, “I just really want to do this for Chris and surprise him on Christmas Day.” I was thrilled with the idea. How romantic! How adventurous!”
Ginny: “On January 18th 2010 as I sat in Chris and Cheryl’s living room for the annual meeting, these memories were resurfacing in my mind. Here I was with owners from New York, New Jersey, Georgia, Michigan and California and five other owners joining us remotely via Skype (New Zealand, Australia, Ohio, Texas, and California). Wow!”
After a review of the budget, booking procedures, and house goals, which were accompanied, “bien sur”, with great hors d’oeuvres and Languedoc wine, the group headed to a great local restaurant. Talk turned to shared adventures at their home in Quarante. Lorraine and Gary wondered who among us had eaten at “Auberge de la Croisade” right near the Canal du Midi, where the owner Bruno is such a hoot. Cheryl and Chris showed us incredible photos of the lively Quarante village tradition of running the bulls from one end of the town right to the other. Karen mentioned how lovely it was to simply “veg” and not move an inch from Maison Bleue. “How about the daily market at Narbonne?” added Marion.
Ginny: “It is a marvellous group of owners who are truly friends now.”
Chris: “People ask me how I could ever make an investment in something like this when we could surely rent each year. I tell them that this is an investment in something I get to enjoy every year and down the road, if we ever decide we’ve had enough, we’ll sell our share and move on.”
Lorraine: “The best investments are those where memories are made.”