Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Comfort Food & Real Estate

When you're trying to go down a new path, and you don't know if the road you're taking is the right road....or if you'll ever get to your destination, for that matter, it can feel a little unsettling. Trust me on that. It's how I've been feeling lately.

Today I did something to see if I should "be turning right", instead of left, so to speak. The last road I took wasn't working out like I had hoped. That's been the unsettling part, seeing as I had invested a lot of my time trying to go down that road.

"Turning right", to continue my little analogy, is to re-consider if I should work for myself after all....but this time in a professional kitchen outside our home. This line of thinking is what brought me to the office of a commercial real estate agent who specializes in "locaux" (spaces for rent).

Here's what I learned: it's pretty difficult to actually buy a property outright in Paris (called "les murs", or walls). I was told by the realtor that very few go on the market and it's a waste of time to even look for such a thing. What you buy instead is called a "fond de commerce" (business), and you own it, but then you also pay a monthly rent...to the person who actually does own "les murs". I initially struggled a bit with this concept, partly due to the french, but also because it's just a bit foreign. And I can't tell you how funny this conversation played out in french with the realtor (a true Laurel & Hardy "who'se on first" kind of moment, I kid you not). Eventually, he understood my confusion, saying, "yes, we are more a latin country. We don't do it like the anglo-saxons do". And then I stopped getting hung up on the word "vendre" (to sell), in the "normal" context of what I'm accustomed to. As the agent further explained, "that's OK, this is the system. And when you go to sell it to the next person, it all works out".

I am pretty much a novice at this - it's the first time I'm looking to buy a business in a major European city. (Or any major city for that matter.) And it's only the 2nd business we've looked into buying - the other was in Staunton, Virginia a long, long time ago. Anyway, the realtor gave me two local addresses. One was just off of Place Saint Michel and it was so miniscule & such a tourist trap that I discounted it on the spot. The other one is just down the street from us. This one looks like a possibility. Now it's time to ponder it all, and to do my "due diligence". Is this the road I should be taking? Good question. Where is that magic-8 ball when you need it?

Meanwhile, I made some brownies to help me think this over. A little American comfort food never hurt anyone!

Deep dish brownies with peanut butter swirl & walnuts
(every bit as rich & chocolaty as they look)



Anonymous said...

It was very interesting for me to read the post. Thanx for it. I like such themes and anything connected to this matter. I would like to read a bit more soon.

Anonymous said...

Keep on posting such stories. I love to read stories like that. By the way add some pics :)