Thursday, 1 January 2009

Lessons learned in 2008


2008 was a great year for us. We are not property moguls or interior design experts, so seeing our first apartment finished (and rented!) was - frankly - very satisfying.

Because of the apartment, the year went very quickly. I first visited it on 31st January 2008, and to be blunt, it looked like crap. Remember ? (cue wave-like fade effect...)
No toilet, no bathroom, lino, mould... the kind of place where you wanted to wash your hands after leaving. Signing off on it took forever (we almost gave up), and there were a few hitches with the work that had to be done, but it was finally ready in October, and since then it's been going really well!

So what have we learnt during the first few months of rental?

- if you compose a window box with 50% of plants that need little watering and 50% that need constant watering, half of them will die. All the time.
- very expensive golden coffee tables look amazing. And get incredibly scratched. Immediately.
- even very very nice guests sometimes steal things (have a nice life, little Lock 'n' Lock).
- bathrooms full of glass, mirrors and stainless steel take a shitload of time to clean.

And contrary to my fears, meeting and greeting people doesn't have to be cheesy or tedious. I genuinely enjoyed welcoming people to the apartment and trying to help them get the best out of their stay in Paris. It was the bit I was dreading, but I've found a taste for it. Call me sentimental...
So what's next? Well, I'm looking forward to adding a few things (ivy at the bathroom window for example), tweaking a few things, improving a few things. I think it's important to make an effort and keep everything looking great. It's too easy just to sit back and think that the money will just roll in. For a start, money doesn't just "roll in": there's a fair bit of behind-the-scenes work to making an apartment a success (blogging is just a tiny part of it), and secondly, anyone trying to make lots of money does not do it by renting an apartment out. For the moment we are content to be able to pay the mortgage, and any eventual surplus will doubtless go into upkeep.

Of course, we'd like to thank everyone who stayed with us in 2008, everyone who said nice things about the apartment, everyone who gave us suggestions (we're always open to comments) and everyone who said they would be back, or that they would recommend our place to friends. We've met some very laidback, friendly people, and it was a pleasure to have you!

So 2008 was the year we believed in our project and went for it. We even got away with nicknaming it 'the great apartment'! Amazing how far blind faith (and bank loans) can get you, eh?!

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