I. TOP TIPS WHEN LOOKING FOR AN APARTMENT FOR SALE IN PARIS
FINDING YOUR DREAM APARTMENT TO BUY IN PARIS
Here is our list of the most important factors we look for when we search the apartments for sale in Paris. Make a list of your most important criteria and stick to it!
1. The right neighborhood for you: The neighborhood location of your Paris apartment is by far the most important choice you will make. There are many wonderful neighborhoods in Paris, but there are subtle differences and good and bad streets in each. Make a list of the things most important to have nearby and refer to it when you see an apartment you like. Read more detailed suggestions about neighborhoods in the article titled: Apartments for Sale in Paris: Finding the Right Neighborhood in Paris for you.
Once you’ve chosen the neighborhood or arrondissement, get to know your favorite streets and cross streets; it will prove invaluable when you get a call from an agent or search consultant to say they’ve found an interesting apartment possibility. It’s true how one side of the street can be more desirable than the other; you’ll only know this when you’ve spent time walking the streets.
2. Old building: Ancien, or old with elevator. The apartments we buy must be located in old buildings, with elevators; these are iron-clad rules for us. We not only want a gorgeous apartment and view, but we try to be defensive buyers; we want to buy an apartment with no questions or risks, one that is desired by foreigners and Parisians alike. This means they sell more easily in any market. Modern buildings lack the charm of ancien and do not appreciate as much as older buildings. In a slower market, they are definitely slower to sell.
Almost, but not Quite: You’ll feel a lot of pressure from agents and even yourselves to make a decision, especially for an apartment that has almost everything you want. Take a deep breath and don’t compromise.
3. Visiting Real Estate Agencies: We can’t reiterate enough: dress well when you meet real estate agents. Tell them you’re cash buyers, even if you’re not. They will take you more seriously if they know you can afford it. Agents will always ask what your budget is and what you’re willing to pay. Determine the size of apartment you want and answer: prix du marché, or market price. Of course, you can negotiate the price you want to pay when you’ve found your apartment, but you won’t get in the door if you sound like you’re looking for the bargain of the century. You must follow up constantly! They get tons of window shoppers coming through their doors, and most people aren’t serious buyers. They don’t know that you’re any different unless you stay on them.
4. If you don’t speak French fluently and don’t live in Paris, consider hiring a search agent because good ones are worth their weight in gold. They can help find properties that you wouldn’t have heard about. They should steer you away from iff-y properties or streets. And they often save you the price of their fee when they negotiate the price of the apartment for you.
5. If you think you’ve found the right apartment, be sure to visit it during daylight hours and at night. Walk around the neighborhood – is anything different or unexpected? Friends of ours almost bought a beautiful apartment in the right location, then noticed that the café across the street had outside heaters under the awnings and live music at night.
6. See our notes on the buying process to avoid making mistakes: Don’t pay a deposit directly to the seller or agent; don’t sign anything until your notaire looks at the contract. Get advice on the best way to hold your asset. Remember that if you rent out your Paris apartment, you’ll need to complete a French tax return.
7. Don’t buy an apartment with a sitting tenant, unless you have taken legal advice. Under certain circumstances and at the right discount, it can be interesting. A few years ago, we bought an apartment at a large discount to the market that is lived in by a charming elderly couple in their 90s. We took the risk with our eyes open, were willing to wait until they moved and hoped we made the right decision. But this kind of investment isn’t for everyone.
8. Check structural and remodeling ideas with an architect or builder before you start tearing down walls: We don’t have enough fingers to count the number of times an agent has exaggerated what is structurally possible in an apartment. Retaining walls cannot be removed without the permission of the entire building. Air conditioning cannot be installed without the permission of the entire building – and this makes it almost impossible to obtain. Toilets can rarely be added in an apartment, except next to the main waste pipe – so don’t plan on adding toilets in every bathroom that you find.
THE MOST IMPORTANT BUYING ADVICE FOR PARIS APARTMENTS
9. Apartments that are Sunny: Check apartments for sunlight and an open feeling! Often that means apartments located on higher floors, but great sunlight can even be found on ground floors if the building is on a wide avenue and especially if it’s facing west or south. You want to see sunlight and Paris skies! You may have visited Paris in spring and summer, but possibly not in winter. Remember that Paris is on a northern latitude, and in the winter, turns dark by 5:00 pm and the sun doesn’t rise until 8:00 am. Depending on where you live, you may find this and gray skies a shock and not something you considered, if you searched for your apartment during the spring and summer months. You want to have as much sunlight during daylight hours as you can get, or you’ll need to turn your lights on all day long.
We tell clients to try a light test for themselves. If a building has a stairwell with windows all the way down, take the elevator to the top floor and slowly walk down the stairs. In normal daylight, you don’t need to turn on the stairwell light, until about the third floor; then you are forced to so you can see your way down. This tells you a lot about why it’s important to live on a higher floor. Another tip: When viewing apartments look across the courtyard and see which apartments already have lamps turned on during the day. You want to live above that floor.
We often stay away from ground floor apartments, not only because they are usually the darkest (many of the apartments are converted concierge flats), but also because of security issues.
It’s hard to hold on to your non-negotiables and the search process can be laboriously slow; we tell people to expect it to take a year or more to find the right apartment. But great apartments do come along, and they are so worth it. Yes, you’ll be tempted by apartments with fantastic features and almost everything you want. We’ve made that mistake before ourselves… and we later regretted it and sold. Don’t force yourself to buy an apartment that is almost but not quite. If you don’t feel it instantly, wait 24 hours, and if you still aren’t thrilled, walk away and keep searching.
10. Outward Views:
This is a non-negotiable point for us: we are only interested in apartments that face outwards, toward Paris avenues and boulevards. When you live in Paris, you should experience expansive views over this incredible city and even monument views if you can; otherwise, you could be living anywhere.
The law of numbers is obvious; in a seven or eight-story building, there are fewer apartments on the top few floors which face outward than the rest… and they sell more quickly than the others.
There are tons of apartments sur la cour apartments for sale in agents’ windows, and that should tell you a lot; people are not snapping them up. Inner courtyards are usually where the garbage bins are stored and although they can be quieter, you definitely get all of the ambient noises such as dishes being banged around, children crying, parties, arguments and more daily life noises from other apartments facing the courtyard. It’s great to live in an outward-facing apartment: enjoying Paris skies; terra cotta chimneys and rooftops; watching the weather and seasons change; observing Parisians as they go to work; taking their children to school; or simply popping out to buy their evening baguette. You will love this feeling of living in Paris every moment you are there.
Tip: if you read the world “calm” to describe an apartment, it’s a euphemism for inner courtyard. Cross it out and move on. People ask about the noise factor if they buy an outward facing apartment; you can buy excellent-quality, double-glazed windows which insulate for noise and energy, to the point where you can hear a pin drop in an apartment, even on a busy street.
The world has truly become smaller. It is easy to hop on a plane and arrive in Paris a few hours later. The amazing City of Light has retained its beauty over the centuries, offering an unparalleled lifestyle including exhibits, activities in all languages, museums, shopping and of course gourmet food. There is no better way to enjoy life than living life as a Parisian; we hope you have a chance to live here and fall in love with this beautiful city all over again!
We are unwavering in our standards to find and purchase only the best. That means the best neighborhoods, best apartments, best features and best views.
When starting your search for apartments for sale in Paris, there are several important professionals involved.
A quick summary: the first stage of a purchase is making your offer and having it accepted. You then sign a preliminary purchase contract and pay a deposit of 5% to 10% of the purchase price. Documents are checked and verified. The final closing usually occurs three-six months later.
Buy in the best neighborhood you can afford because the cost of remodeling is the same no matter what price you’ve paid per square meter for the apartment. Spend hours, days and weeks searching for your ideal neighborhood.