The search for a perfect Provencal pied a terre began in May 2012 when I looked high and low throughout Provence and the Languedocfor a city-center historic flat with two or more bedrooms, at the right price point and with tons of character. It resumed in October of 2013 by casting a wider net. We scoured property for sale from the Luberon to the Cote d'Azur, heading for St. Remy de Provence numerous times. Nada, nothing, rien. Finally in February 2014, while staying near Uzes, I struck gold.
You realize that all of my IPS fractionals, until now, have been in smaller villages or hamlets. These are often more affordable and there certainly is more choice in properties.
"Hey, wait a minute!" "What about those of us who want to walk out our door and choose from a dozen different restaurants or shops?" It was that voice which drove me to spend the better part of 2 years looking for a place like St Etienne d'Uzès, our first Urban Buzz property.
St. Etienne- at 7 o'clock
Q&A: Comparing Outright Purchase with Quarter Share Ownership
Question: Why does a quarter share cost so much? Can't I buy a whole property for $200,000?
Answer: This is a complex question which I'll try to answer succinctly. The bottom line is that for $200,000 you can only purchase a "shoebox" of a flat in Uzes and probably not in the historic center. So, let's assume you find this. It probably will require some renovation money, time and expertise. Then furnishing and setting up the monthly bill payments. Don't overlook cleaning and management and taxes. Or renting it out. At the end of the day, the cost to acquire a really lovely furnished flat is likely to be significantly higher than you imagined.
After acquiring the property, there's roughly 10% additional cost for the notarial fees, real estate charges and taxes. In the case of a fractional ownership property, we estimate financing charges of about 10% per year or 30% over the course of development. Additionally we pay the annual running costs (insurance, utilities, internet and telephone, water, taxes and cleaning) of roughly 5,000 euros a year. If we estimate three years to finalize a project, can you begin to see how that adds up?
Question: Who manages and cleans our property while I'm away? Other than my estimated annual charges of 1800 euros, are there other fees and costs associated with St. Etienne? Do I just show up with my suitcase year after year?
Answer: St. Etienne has a dedicated local manager who provides cleaning, turnarounds and handyman services. He is bilingual and lives about 5 minutes from the flat. Other than your annual dues, you are responsible for leaving 70 euros for cleaning/caretaking services. Once a year there is an annual meeting to discuss capital improvement issues. Any costs are divided among the owners.
Quarter share ownership now available: $197,760
Second story walk up with only one flat below
A 2 bedroom, 1.5 bath townhome
Restored and remodeling with great attention to detail
Original 16th C stone floors and timbered ceilings
One block from La Place aux Herbes
Private rooftop terrace
Uzès is an exceptionally beautiful city thanks to its city center, one of the first in the 1960's to be classified by Andre Malraux as a "secteur sauvegardé" or protected historical site. Funding then poured into its restoration and the center of town has a wonderful mix of medieval stone houses and later townhouses. Outside of summer months, the population hovers around 8500.
Bit of History
Uzès, located at the source of the Eure River, was settled in the first century BC by the Romans as an administrative site for a Roman aqueduct which supplied water to Nimes, a good 25 kilometers away.
The most famous stretch of the aqueduct that survives to this day is the Pont du Gard, a huge bridge spanning the Gardon river. It is the tallest existing Roman aqueduct and a UNESCO heritage site, as well as popular tourist attraction.
My job is to find the ideal property at an affordable price, handle the multiple requirements for foreign ownership, and provide you with a turn-key property to use and to enjoy.