Welcome to our series where we highlight a different vacation rental owner and their experiences when they purchased. If you would like to be featured in an upcoming post, please send us a message here.
This week we’re talking to Maria from Boston, MA. She and her husband own two beautiful vacation rentals in Cannes, France.
Why did you choose to purchase in Cannes, France?
My husband is from Dublin, and we travel a lot. For my birthday, he asked me where I wanted to go for my upcoming birthday, and I said Cannes in France. I was curious and always wanted to visit. It’s known for the film festival, but there’s so much more to it. We went and absolutely fell in love with the area! The people, the climate, the lifestyle – it’s just magical.
We were already looking to invest in property somewhere, so we thought that we should look there. We specifically wanted to purchase in the older section of Cannes – the Suquet. After attending a few market seminars in Ireland about purchasing in France, we finally connected with a local real estate agent in Cannes through a friend who owned property there.,
When you purchased the property, was it already a working vacation rental?
No. The first apartment we purchased was in the Suquet area of Cannes, on Petite Rue Saint-Antoine. It is just above the world-renowned restaurant, Le Manoir. We set it up as a rental on our own. Later, we bought another smaller apartment, but it had an issue with mold, so we sold that and bought a bigger apartment on Rue du Barri in the same area of Suquet.
Has your experience as a vacation rental owner been a positive one?
Overall, yes. Rentals in Cannes have been consistently good, and we have had many repeat guests.
When you purchased your vacation rental, did your real estate agent help you evaluate the best options for your needs?
Not really. We knew the area we wanted, but it would have been nice to get more guidance on a few things in general, such as avoiding first-floor apartments (they can have mold problems!) or financing options.
What more could the real estate agent have done to help you with your decision to purchase your vacation rental?
There are many things I wish we had known beforehand about purchasing vacation rentals in France. A few things stand out: Be sure to research your financing options in advance, as you may need to purchase the property in cash. Also, make sure the property you purchase has a syndic.
What is a syndic?
In many regards, it is similar to an HOA in the US. A condominium in France is organized by either a professional body, like a management company, named a syndic, or by the individual owners themselves, or syndic bénévole (volunteer).
Do you use a vacation rental management company?
Sort of. We use a local property manager who checks guests in/out, handles the cleaning, linens, etc., and oversees small repairs. I oversee the guest communications and handle all the bookings and advertising.
Do you use any software to manage your rates?
I utilize the rate software available through VRBO and Airbnb. It allows rates to be automatically adjusted based on supply and demand.
Does your property have its own website?
We list the properties on VRBO and Airbnb. We also have listed with local real estate companies in the past but without much success. We had our own website, but it was not effective, so we decided to discontinue using it.
What has been the most challenging part about owning the vacation rentals in Cannes?
It has been very hard to find qualified people to do repairs. By networking with Irish and American expats, we’ve been able to do more extensive renovation work to the property, but it would be nice to have resources to assist in finding skilled people more easily.
You mentioned that you are considering selling one of your apartments later this year. Will you list your property on HighFlyRE?