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The Dollars and Cents of Buying Property

Mar 1st 11
By Claire Griffiths

To own a small corner of God's country is an obsession that dates back to the Ice Age. And even if crewmembers' lives are spent at sea, buying and renting out a property is solid proof that survival instincts to find shelter are still in working order.


According to Dockwalk's financial columnist, Peter Brooke, the old adage rings true: location is paramount. There are several factors to consider when deciding on a location. For tax purposes, carefully choose the country in which you'd like to own property. Next, you must choose the city or town, then the neighborhood. You may be offering beautiful home for rent, but if the area surrounding it is in shambles, chances are it won't generate much interest. Property in the right place will always be an excellent investment, but Brooke warns, “Buying property only really makes sense if you get a loan, put down as little as possible and get someone else to pay the loan, i.e. a tenant.”


The average investment portfolio costs about two-and-a-half percent per annum to run; owning and letting out a property incurs charges and taxation. “In France, you need to make at least 13 percent of the purchase price, plus any loan interest to make the venture viable. You will hand eight percent of the purchase price to the ‘notaire’ when you buy and five percent to the selling agents when you sell. Maintenance charges and taxes (for example, taxe fonciere) are going to round up into a pretty sum,” says Brooke.


Crew should consider what will appeal to tenants when purchasing a property with the intent to rent it for income, says Rod Mitchell of financial advisers Mitchell Johnson. Good layout, a view, outdoor space and at least one bedroom are ideal attributes of any property. “I recommend people invest some money in the property because it makes them more committed to the project,” says Mitchell. When you purchase a property, there will always be maintenance and upkeep expenses; however, you must decide if you want to spend more money on the purchase or the restoration of the property. “One could argue there will be a better and steadier return from a more expensive property in France than a distressed purchase in somewhere like the U.S.,” adds Brooke. If you find an incredible deal, be sure to find out why the property is so cheap. Mold, fire, water or other damage may have lowered the purchase price. When preparing to buy a property for rental, set a figure that you intend to spend on restoration, upkeep and maintenance. Anything above and beyond that number will significantly cut into profits.  


Due to the fact that vessels travel so often, it is good advice to use an agent to manage the rental property as most crew will not be in town to deal with renters and rental issues.


Many yachties choose to buy and rent out. Chef Jane of M/Y Sarafsa bought a studio in Antibes last year that she rents to a friend on a long term lease. “Using the yachting world network helps” says Jane. “There are plenty of English speaking property rental agencies in Antibes.”


For more information and advice on purchasing property and renting it out, contact Peter Brooke at or Rod Mitchell at

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  • talk to me like i am three........
    Posted by John Doe_1 03/03/2011 05:16:14

  • I am being masturbated hard by the French after I agreed to buy a house in 2006. After I shook on the deal and went back to England to pack up my stuff, for 2 months someone built a factory with smoke and noise 24h day right by my house, without permit nor permission. My house is now unsaleable according to local agents. This is nothing short of cocksucking as far as I am concerned, because I am not French we have been getting nowhere for 5 years. Total losses as we cannot rent the house either, around USD 1.65m France no longer the safe and friendly country for property investment. See more at and watch the buggers smashing up my house as they obviously do not like my complaint. Hopefully by disseminating the word we will affect these people where it hurts, in the pocket. Goddam this is alot of dough.
    Posted by Capt Edward P 02/03/2011 18:18:07

  • gotta say that although there's nothing wrong with wanting to buy a place anywhere in the world even if you're not a legal resident, what makes me sick is the thousands of foreign nationals - who had once gained work illegally in the industry while in south FL and also while discriminating against citizens of the US - have made more money than American counterparts...enough to attain more opportunity to buy property in places like the States...I find it sickening and well as wanting to kick every damn fraudulent American recruiter, cpt, owner, broker etc in the face.
    Posted by makesmesicktomystomach 02/03/2011 01:43:17

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