Tuesday, 6 September 2016

Tips on finding an apartment in Paris

Another chatty blog post, another badly photoshopped cover photo. You are most welcome!

If you're about to move to Paris... good luck! You'll need it to find you perfect place, just like you'll need time, patience and a keen eye for fraud. Before I delve into my many anecdotes of how I found my flat in Paris, I'll insert my "checklist" of steps to follow when faced with said promethean task, one that I've only compiled now in hindsight but which would have been extremely helpful in the beginning of the process.

1) Where is your university/job? Do you want to be geographically close or do you not mind taking the metro there?

2) Read up on the various arrondissements and create your own shortlist (I found THIS and THIS website useful)

3) Read up on the plethora of advice given on other websites by people who went through the same experience and whose tips are *very* helpful!

4) Decide whether you want to find a place yourself or you want to go through an agency. One I highly recommend for being easy to work with, efficient and great with communication is spotahome.com. I found Airbnb super expensive!

5) Do you want a single apartment/studio or do you want to share?

6) You're ready to start looking! Start by shortlisting and making accounts on websites. My favourite was Appartager.com but I also liked Lacartedescolocs.fr and Leboncoin.fr. Make an account on everything and open every email, you never know which one can be THE one. Time is of the essence as well so don't expect your favourited apartment to be there for long.

7) VITAL tips:
★ never send any money without having seen the apartment in flesh or via Skype
★ don't visit an apartment by yourself, bring a friend or someone from work with you
★ check that there will be a written agreement. Don't expect a ton of paperwork, sometimes there will only be the bare minimum but have the owner's signature somewhere as proof
★ if the place or room is 'sous-louée' that means that you are the third owner as it were, that you are paying the rightful tenant, not the owner. This is only legal if the owner of the place has given his written consent!!


Okay, now that the 'boring' informative part is done, let's get into the juicier stories of how I finally found a roof over my head in Paris via my laptop screen!

I naively thought that starting to search for a room/studio in June would give me enough time to find somewhere decent for September. I soon found out had been outpaced by students a little keener than me who had already checked with the landlord, made a quick trip to Paris to see the apartments and struck a deal already. That is usually the case for more central apartments where the competition is high and standards of living quite low. Whereas 650 euros were enough to secure you a cute place in Montmartre or the periphery, it was just about sufficient to rent a 9 m2 studio on the 7th floor of an elevator-less building. Where you had to reach the shower, a glorified drain surrounded by some shower curtains, by stepping over the toilet, a feat of acrobatics that would be risky in broad daylight let alone when under the influence of some vin rouge or in the middle of the night. Therefore, be weary of 'chambres de bonne' - such tiny closets in the attics of old buildings where the servants and nannies used to live in the olden times when one didn't have to lug around so much Erasmus 'year abroad' shit with them.

I also found myself turned down by many a nice apartments in super lovely areas such as the Quartier Latin before I even properly introduced myself because of my limited tenancy of 4 months. I mean, why would they create more drama in their life by choosing a more temporary tenant when someone else is lined up, willing to pay and secure rent for a whole year? It makes sense in the cruel world we live in where people aren't that scrupulous about who came first. And no, I am not bitter about having lost my deposit on a dreamy room overlooking the Luxembourg Gardens.

In terms of platforms to look at, I'd say appartager is the most lucrative in the sense that there's a high turnover. Every day I'd get a message from Karine, their newsletter alias, who became my no1 gmail contact in less than a week, and who would always kindly notify me of now rooms matching my criteria. As always, you have to pick and choose from the fake accounts who upload no photos and have 'I'll write this later' as a description, the desperate 50 something year old men looking for hot dates and the guy willing to rent his room for just 250 euros a month if you're willing to drive his biscuit truck to Nice twice a week. A bargain or a euphemism, I will never find out...

I had countless skype viewings, potential viewings and sent messages I never got replies from before I turned to Facebook groups to find accommodation. This is how I found a studio I thought would make my parisian dreams come true, a gem of a place in white and lavender directly above a Chanel shop that was ridiculously close to the Louvre. I could practically see my desk at uni from my room. Everything went well, the landlady seemed lovely and my parents were happy and just when I thought I'd pay the deposit and be free to enjoy my last weeks of summer, the universe screwed me over yet again. Word of advice, don't send the total amount of the rent for the whole period you intend to be there in advance, without having a key or the security of a legal transaction! Because you'll be 5000 euros poorer and with no roof over your head! Yup, a day before I was going to send the money she changed her mind and decided to request for the full sum to be sent to her bank account without me having the keys and with the apartment basically being illegally sub-let, meaning the real owner had no idea a second-party was living in his place. This often happens in Paris apparently and whilst in most cases it's mutually agreed on and you won't be found out by the owner, imagine if he does and comes to evict you in the middle of term. It was a stress that outweighed, together with the ridiculous financial risk, the glitzy address. I'm not saying the landlady did this maliciously or slyly by the way, just that I did not think the change in the terms and conditions was fair or advantageous to me or any other person with a sense of risk.

Anyway, I should maybe bring this post to an end and to do so I'll just say BONNE CHANCE! Paris is really a city for all types of people and I'm sure you'll find you perfect real-estate match at some point - as a student, I know many people who get an airbnb for a week and view apartment after apartment in that time until they find a more permanent place and get themselves sorted so even if you arrive and the place is really not for you, there is always hope! I'll have you with the utterly Pinterest-worthy Insta of my room décor à la parisienne ^.^


No comments:

Post a Comment

blogger template by lovebird