Searching for your new home can be exciting, frustrating, exhausting, but ultimately, extremely rewarding. Sometimes an apartment can be found by word-of-mouth, but it is extremely rare.
Real estate agents will list their properties on-line and in newspapers. The on-line sites are extremely user-friendly and allow you to input your criteria for a list of apartments that meets your needs. You will then have to contact the agent to ask more about the apartment and schedule a rendez-vous (meeting). Still, if you like to leaf through pages, try:
- The Tuesday issue of Le Figaro is known for its rental listings, as are the weekend editions
- La Semaine Immobiliere comes out on Thursday
- J’annonce is available Wednesday mornings
- http://www.seloger.com This site lists rental and purchase properties and has an English version.
- http://www.explorimmo.com This site provides the same search criteria as Seloger, but only in French.
- http://www.logic-immo.com This site has a large number of furnished apartments in addition to sales and unfurnished rentals, only in French.
- Century 21, http://century21.fr – Many offices throughout Paris; check website for locations where you are interested in living.
- Paris Attitude, http://www.parisattitude.com – Agency specializing in furnished apartments.
- At Home in France, http://www.athomeinfrance.com – Agency specialized in furnished short and long term apartments.
Owners place classified ads in the popular publications listed below. The obvious advantage is that you avoid the broker’s fee. The apartments tend to be slightly more expensive:
- De Particulier a Particulier is an extensive tabloid that comes out Thursdays; they also have a website, http://www.pap.fr
- FUSAC (France USA Contacts) has real estate listings mostly in English and comes out biweekly; they also have a website, http://www.fusac.fr
Relocation companies can also assist greatly in the search for housing. They do a lot of the legwork by contacting numerous agencies to find apartments that fit your specific needs, and they are expert price negotiators. They are expensive, but the fee they charge covers more than just housing. They also help with work and resident permits, car registration, insurance and information on daily life from schools to hooking up utilities. Many times, companies will absorb the cost of relocation services to assist in your move. Check with your company.
- Cosmopolitan Services Unlimited, 89 rue La Boetie 75008, 01.44.90.10.00,
- A Good Start in France, 8, Rue Exposition 75007, 01.45.50.25.30, http://www.agoodstart.fr
Real Estate Agents
Real estate agencies are plentiful in Paris; just walk the streets of a neighborhood that interests you and you can window-shop apartments, both for sale and rent, that are posted in their windows along with photographs. You can contact any of these agencies and will most likely have to contact many more than one, as each agency has a limited number of properties. These agents charge approximately the equivalent of 1 month’s rent for their services. Remember, it is in their interest to rent the apartment; they represent the landlord/owner, so they may not point out any negatives.
In viewing apartments with a neighborhood agency or one of the agencies oriented toward expatriates, listed above, you should keep in mind that French companies regard this as a service to, not for, you. You will be expected to make your own way to the apartment viewing(s) and will be asked for quite a few documents as normal procedure. In general, French agencies prefer to rent to someone whose income is at least triple the monthly rent of the flat in question.
French landlords are extremely particular when it comes to tenants. Often they prefer to let the apartment sit unoccupied than to take a risk on a tenant they feel is not reliable.
Since the rental market is so competitive, it is advisable to carry a dossier (portofolio) with you to each apartment visit. If you love the apartment on sight, or are even just mildly interested, you can give the paperwork to the agent immediately to start the process of acceptance. You can always decline. Sometimes it can take up to two weeks to get an answer on whether you are accepted as a tenant or not. Additional documents may be required, but a standard dossier includes:
- Copies of your passport and carte de séjour
- Bank information and references (RIB)
- A checking account with a French bank is required and the bank will provide you with this RIB, a small card with the bank’s name and coordinates as well as your account information
- Last three salary statements, or a letter from your employer stating your monthly salary and/or your work contract
- Declaration d’impots (tax declarations) from previous years, if you have them from France