17 tips to find an apartment in Paris (Part 2)
Release: April 2021
A few days ago, I presented you with various tips for finding a flat in Paris. Today we continue with tips 10 to 17!
How to find an apartment in Paris
10. Forgetting the contact form
After all the flat searches I have completed over many years, I can count on two hands the number of times I received replies to messages left on a voicemail or contact form on Seloger & Co. Don't expect a call back or an email on the major websites. There is much more chance of a reply on LeBonCoin or Pap, where you contact private landlords.
Sure, there are agencies that will call back sometimes. But most are so inundated with demands that there is no time to reply to interested parties. That means calling, calling a second time, and continuing to search in parallel and calling again and again.
Apartment block in Boulogne-Billancourt, a suburb of Paris
11. Saving time
Your net income is not three times the rent? You are without a permanent employment contract? You don't have a French bank account yet and your domestic documents in your application folder aren't convincing? Then save yourself rejections and superfluous contacts: Prefer private landlords and look out for phrases for loss-of-rent insurances such as "GLI" ("garantie loyer impayé" or "assurance loyer impayé") in the flat advertisements. Here you don't even have to hope, because you are not accepted as a tenant with your situation and are rejected directly.
12. Banishing the data protectionist in your head
In France, it is perfectly normal to send salary slips, tax returns and balance sheets to agencies and private landlords within the application folder - in other words, to complete strangers. So you can't be squeamish, this procedure is commonplace here in 99% of the time.
Tip: Blacking out the tax number and also the ID on the copy of the identity card can provide some peace of mind.
13. Being on time
Show the French what punctuality is ;-) You wouldn't believe how many competitors don't always take this to heart and also don't consider it important to cancel an appointment. In short, 1:0 for you and the others at the viewing appointment!
14. Getting from A to B quickly
An inspection is on the agenda, but the way is long, a taxi is too expensive and there is no bicycle at hand? With its 105 km2, Paris is quite small (in comparison: Berlin has 892 km2) and is easy to discover by public transport. This even allows you to make several appointments in one day.
If you don't know your way around the city, you should definitely prefer the metro, as buses can get caught in one of the many traffic jams. Pick up a free metro map at a counter (or use an app like Citymapper) and you're ready to go.
To get a rough estimate of the distance you'll need to travel, and to allow for the occasional long stop, it's a good idea to allow two minutes between two stations. This is usually undercut, but if you're on your way to a flat inspection, you gain some buffer (it happens that the metros in the tunnels stand still), and you can also look around a bit at your destination and get an impression of the possibly new residential area.
The metro gets you from one appointment to the next quickly
15. Goodbye, expectations
You search and search and nothing suitable appears on the horizon? It is not uncommon for this to be due to an attitude of expectation that is too high. Whether it's 50m2 for €800, a romantic flat like in "Amélie" or a view of the Seine - as long as you don't have a high budget, there will be many disappointments when looking for a flat in Paris.
Make a checklist of the qualities your new flat should have, from which you choose the three most relevant ones, which you then knock off on the spot. Often there are only 10-15 minutes for a viewing, which means you can't discover everything, but you can see immediately whether the points that are most important to you are met. An unobstructed view without a house wall, a lift to the sixth floor and a place for a washing machine are already a good start.
16. Being persistent
You only get a lot of rejections, but you are sure that your demands can be met? Then keep at it! Sometimes it's just a bad time to start looking, like August, when many landlords are away, or September/October, when everyone is coming back to Paris, including lots of foreign students who are suddenly all looking. Keep responding quickly to new adverts.
The goal next to the lease - the handover protocol
17. Accepting an apartment quickly
Finally a commitment has been made. But unfortunately the flat is not in your favourite district? It's affordable, but it's a new building instead of a classic Haussmann-style apartment in the center of Paris? Of course, your dream could still appear one day, but as long as you don't feel bad and it's especially your first flat in Paris, the simple saying "A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush" is recommended.
Grab it and look forward to your new life in Paris!
I wish you all the best on your way to renting a flat in Paris! If insurmountable hurdles await you, just contact me. Questions about the dossier? Do you lack time for the search? You cannot be in Paris? I'm here for you!