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Buying an apartment in Paris – my journey detailing the steps and processes.

Ever thought of buying an apartment in Paris?

Many of you who follow my instagram probably know that I have bought an apartment in Paris. This post will detail my journey and the steps and processes to buying an apartment in Paris.

The first step to buying a property in Paris is to pick the area you want to live in. Paris consists of 20 arrondissements, each with their own characteristics, price point and vibe.

Most of the famous landmarks, tourist sites, restaurants and shops are in the central arrondissements.

Best advice is to ask locals about areas and walk around to explore the different districts, to gauge what suits your budget and lifestyle.

We picked the 4th arrondissement in the Marais because of its diverse, vibrant, and creative vibe.

The Marais is a safe walkable neighbourhood with beautiful, cobbled street, period architecture and lots of unique independent shops and restaurants.

Properties in the Marais are expensive, averaging €14,000 per square metre. However, resale values and rental return potentials are excellent, especially with international clients.

The Marais escaped the street and architectural renewal of the 18th century by Baron Haussmann, so the classic apartment interiors associated with his style that we were looking for, such as the high ceilings, large windows, and exterior wrought iron balconies were in short supply.

Instead, many of the apartments had low exposed wood beam ceilings, an aesthetic we were not too keen on.The other popular arrondissements I considered were the 6th ,7th, and 16th.

The 6th and 7th arrondissement are more expensive districts averaging between €14000 and €15000 per square metre.

You can find properties with the Eiffel Tower view at the 7th arrondissement, however those areas can also be very touristy and crowded.

The 16th arrondissement is renowned for its wealthy retirees and celebrity locals. Bois de Boulogne is a local park occupying 846 hectares, so perfect for nature lovers. The Haussmann apartments here are enormous and beautiful.

You get more square metre for your money compared to the Marais or 6th/7th arrondissement,

The latter 3 arrondissements were wonderful in their own ways, but they didn’t fully match what I was looking for.

In fact, some of my Parisian friends who knew me well said that those districts were overpriced, and I may find them rather dull.

If budget is a limiting factor for your chosen arrondissement, all is still not lost by looking elsewhere.

There are pockets of lovely residential streets or quartiers in other arrondissements.

For example, the 10th arrondissement is known for being a bit rough around the edges in certain areas and can be quite intimidating at night.

However, there are pockets of the 10th that are fast becoming hip and cool such as the Canal Saint-Martin area with its creative community and cool restaurants and bar with terraces along the canal.

The 10th arrondissement averages €10970 per square metre.

Other lovely areas are rue des Matyrs in the 9th , rue Cler area in the 7th , Avenue Mozart in the 16th and area along the Church of Saint Sulpice towards the river at the 6th .

Once you have an idea of where you want to live, and your budget then the search starts.

There are various ways of doing this. You can register with Estate agents that cover the arrondissements you are interested in or with sites that have listings from a range of estate agents.

The estate agents I registered with were Barnes International, Daniel Feau and Emile Garcin. The multiple listing sites I registered with were Properstar, James Edition, Rightmove, and Residences Immobilier.

Sometimes I would also do a google search for apartments for sale in that arrondissement.

As we were both working full time and limited by our spoken French, we decided to engage the services of a property search agency that would narrow down a list of apartments for us to view based on our requirements.

They would also do the initial visits to ensure suitability. The advantages of working with a search agent is that we save on time and also sometimes we get to see properties before they hit the market. They will also help with managing the whole process from price negotiation right down to purchase contracts and closing.

We were assisted by Emma Skoble from Metropolitan Properties France via
Paris Property group.

Of note, a search agency can cost around 3% of the final property price.Buying an apartment in ParisThere are several key questions to answer when buying an apartment in Paris. Here’s a list I’ve compiled:

1. What do you want from your apartment? Is it for rental income, an investment for future resale, for personal and future generational family use, or a combination?

2. How often and who will be using the apartment, to determine the apartment size and number of bedrooms required. Depending on size required, budget may be a limiting factor in the area you pick.

3. What local amenities are you looking for and are you willing to compromise on noise and views?

4. Is having a landmark view such as the Eiffel Tower or being near the river Seine important?

5. Do you need to be near public transport and access to the airport or Eurostar?

6. What sort of Parisian vibe are you after? Are you looking for a creative and artisanal feel, or are you looking for a more grand, high end feel? Do you prefer an established area, or would you be open to an up-and- coming area that may still be a rough around the edges?

7. What sort of local community are looking for?

8. Are there any architectural and interior features you are after ?

9. Are you planning on renovating? This may affect the size of apartment you pick as the price of renovation per sqm has increased considerably due to the inflationary prices of materials and labour.

Buying an apartment in Paris

10.Do you want a garden, balcony or courtyard? Courtyard apartments are behind large street level doors. The advantage could be a shielding from street noise but you may also get less sunlight.

11.Which floor do you want your apartment to be on? If you go for a Haussmannian apartment, the first floors tend to have lower ceiling levels and the second floors previously reserved for nobles have higher ceiling heights of 3.2 metres with balconies. The 3rd to 5th floors are similar but with less detailed window frames.

12.Do you need a lift? Some of the older styled apartments may not have
one or the lifts may be very small.

13.Is there a Gardien/gardienne who are caretakers for the apartment block, cleaning the common parts and receiving deliveries and mail.

14. Is there a cellar or bike storage area?Important financial considerations to make when purchasing in Paris include understanding the fee structures.

In France, a 3-5% fee embedded in the property price by the listing agency payable by the seller on completion.

You will need to engage the duties of a Notaire once you decide to make an offer for a property.

A notaire is a public official who will prepare the final deed and will obtain all the searches and checks regarding the property.

The Notaire will usually charge 7% of the property price, a huge proportion of this being the land transfer tax.

If you enlist the services of a searching agent, then expect to pay around 3% of the home final value.

The other taxes to consider are the Taxe foncière (Land Tax), Taxe d’habitation (Residence tax) and Housing Wealth tax.

The Taxe foncière and d’habitation will be a percentage of the estimated annual notional rental value of the property.

The Wealth tax comes into play once you exceed 1.3 million Euros on a sliding scale percentage charge.

If you’ve bought an apartment, then you will also need to take into account the building’s service charges and utility bills. All these charges can soon ad up, so it is important to know your figures before you buy.

It is difficult for me to stipulate what to avoid when buying an apartment in Paris as it very much depends on what you want and your budget.Buying an apartment in ParisFor me, I didn’t want an apartment overlooking a Boulevard because it’s often noisy with vehicle traffic noise and pollution.

However, many of the beautiful Haussmanian apartments are on Boulevards.

Do look out for the Boulevards that have now banned cars, such as Rue de Rivoli in the Marais which is an option.

I would also avoid courtyard apartments because the apartments can be dark and there’s no street life or architecture views.

Finally, what happens on acceptance of an offer when buying an apartment in Paris?

A preliminary contract by a notaire called the a promesse de vente or an estate agent called a compromis de vente formalises the process.

The seller is obliged to sell upon signature, but the buyer has a 10-day reflection period and may withdraw without penalty.

The sale becomes finalized with the signing of a formal deed of sale called the acte de vente.

It takes 2-3 months before acte de vente is signed, and during this time, the buyer obtains financing, whilst the notaire takes care of legalities and administrative requirements.

On signing the acte de vente, the buyer pays all outstanding monies and ownership passes to buyer.

I hope you have found this article about buying an apartment in Paris useful. I will be showing you around our apartment on the blog soon, and documenting the renovation process.

In the meantime, if you want to see my Paris apartment and its renovation progress, then do follow my Instagram My Paris With Me.

(all photos are copyright of Little Big Bell)

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