Graceful living in Italy and France...

The smell of jasmine winds its way down our 16th century cobblestone street in Umbria as I step outside to greet the day.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

My Three Criteria for Choosing a Fractional Ownership Property

International Property Shares

Romance Rules
Other people will tell you that  it’s “location, location, location” when choosing a real estate property. For me, it’s romance first, then location. I may be splitting hairs, because location is a part of the romance of choosing a property that will appeal to expatriates buying international properties. Let me tell you what I mean.

La Bruyere, nestled amongst the Dordogne sunflower fields, 
 means "The Heather"
I want to fall in love. It’s that simple. I’ve found 14 properties in three European counties to present to buyers interested in owning equity in fractional shares. I’ve learned that if I am smitten, many buyers will feel a heart tug also. Here’s what I do when I’m looking.

I start online, not just on real estate agency sites, but on websites all over the world looking for European homes for sale. I also approach owners who rent their properties to learn if they are interested in selling. My online search criteria include words such as “charming,” “historic,” “stone,” “beamed ceilings,” and “village home.” I look for pictures of flowers, balconies or terraces, windows and light, castles, vineyards and historic sites. Only after my heart has begun to sing softly do I consider location.

Once the heart starts singing, I address practical issues such as location and amenities. Is the property in a lively town with the necessary stores, a bakery, market, wine shop? Is the neighborhood appealing? Is there a lively sense of community? What about parking? Can it be accessed by public transportation? How near is it to a train station and an international airport? Is it affordable? Will it require renovations and decorating? After necessary changes, will it be a good investment for my buyers? 
Historic Gumstool Hill in Tetbury, UK
If these questions can be answered positively, then I study the town’s culture and year round activities to learn if they will be appealing to expats. Because I’m outgoing, I can learn quickly how citizens of the area respond to me and my questions. You see, I want the fractional share owners to feel comfortable in their new town, as well as their new home.

Lively Place aux Herbes in Uzes, France
St. Etienne Uzes kitchen came fully equipped. Copper pots and
pans, yogurt makers, Nespresso machine, dumb waiter to
the terrace!

Comfort is also about the amenities that fractional owners find in their international homes. When I visit a house for the first time, I am looking for a property that has or could be remodeled in a style that will appeal to the expatriate buyer, typically those from Canada, Australia, the United States, New Zealand and Great Britain. For example, my buyers want a full size refrigerator and stove, WiFi, a washer if not a washer/dryer, and newer bathrooms. For example, St. Etienne in Uzes, France had already been updated by it previous owner with an international flair, while Le Muguet in Vers Pont du Gard needed both an updated kitchen and bath.

How to fit a washing machine in space to
the left of the fridge??  Practical decisions...
Romantique, n'est-ce pas?

Casa Leone, Italy

When designing the interior of each fractional ownership property, I think of the balance between good taste and personal taste, since the properties will be owned and shared by four to thirteen different owners.
So far, most of properties I have bought are in villages and towns. I strive for a decor in each of these homes that is sophisticated; not over the top, urban sophistication but country chic. I like the charm of original floors, antiques, rugs, art and wall hangings found in my travels in the countryside, flea market gems.  In other words, romantique!

The Clockworks, England

St. Etienne, France

In a nutshell, a very small nutshell, that’s how I seek out opportunities for you. 
Happy New Year and may your journey’s be joyful!
Ginny Blackwell
For a free one hour consultation or more information, please write me at or call: 1-585-412-4904.
Recently sold: a share of Le Muguet, Vers Pont du Gard, near Avignon, France.
Currently available: see (See English, French, or Italian Fractionals)
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