To understand why Avecoeur was created it is important to understand what preceded it, namely "Leapfrog Properties". Leapfrog Properties was formed in 2005 by Nick Dowlatshahi to cater for international buyers who wanted to buy a property in France. This developed into only selling new build developments and then onto becoming a master agent for developers. It involved taking charge of all aspects of legal, tax, administrative, marketing and sales aspects of new developments plus managing and training a network of sales agents around the world. In 2010 Leapfrog Finance was created to offer clients not only the best mortgage rates suited to their needs but also a seamless sales process in English/French according to their needs. Then in 2015 a French property development company SARL Avecoeur was created in order to better satisfy the property and service demands of international buyers. The goal being to create high spec residences with hotel services, concierge and on-site facilities whilst returning excellent rental investment returns combined with the flexibility of personal use as and when required. This meant that people could buy a hands off investment, holiday home or both or even live in it permanently with nothing to do in terms of maintenance, security or rental.

The investment angle here however is key. Typically a developer will build purely based on the sales price he believes he can achieve and what the market wants. They often overlook international buyer’s needs and will build purely for the French market with international buyers being a nice addition. Unfortunately for international buyers this means that their requirements are usually ignored. Requirements like having bigger properties, a bath/shower room for each bedroom, luxuries like a private pool or Jacuzzi on the terrace or concierge services are just not catered for. The short term rental market also barely comes into the picture and if considered is just a footnote in any marketing material. Developers in France also rarely build classic freehold ownership properties with a management company on site ready to take care of the maintenance, security, rentals and to provide a concierge service. As such usually the only option buyers have for a second home/rental investment is to buy an apartment or villa in a touristy location and then either handle the rental and management aspect themselves or hand it over to a local French agent to do it for them. The problem with managing it yourself is that you have to upload and maintain adverts, handle enquiries, arrange cleaners, key holders, check-in check outs, linen/towels, repairs etc all by yourself and usually from hundreds of miles away. Not only that but you won’t have access to many of the best tour operators or websites that only work with professionals. As such the rental income achieved will be lower than if done with a professional management company with its much wider and efficient marketing team and will be a lot of hassle. The other option is to use a small local agency but it will be difficult to find a reliable one that provides all the services required and they also will be unlikely to have the marketing reach as they only market a mixed bag of individual properties so also won’t have access to the big tour operators or professional marketing platforms.

You can find managed residences that can resolve the management issues highlighted but usually those residences are run under the “leaseback” scheme that locks the owner into a commercial lease for 20 years and either offers a fixed rental income with highly restricted personal use or a commission share system with no way of backing out if the management company does a bad job. The properties are also fairly small and of average standard and don’t have the onsite services expected by increasingly demanding international clientele. Avecoeur has been set up to deal with all of these issues and provide a property investment that is both profitable and sustainable but also will become a fantastic place for the family to spend their free time.

There are 4 main areas that the group covers:

•    Building of high spec gated resort developments with hotel services
•    Marketing & sales of these developments
•    Securing finance for clients through French mortgages
•    Managing the residences