Now is one of the best times to buy property in Paris. Rates are low, prices are the best that they have been in years and it is no secret that owning property in The City of Lights is never a bad thing!
After our tips on making the move to Paris and our guide on renting property in Paris, we decided to talk to some property experts over at 56Paris as well as fellow expat and recent Parisian homeowner, Kasia Dietz of Love in the City of Lights to get you all the tips and tricks for how to buy your very own Parisian dream apartment.
We are huge fans of the wonderful team at 56Paris. Their like-minded service provides a superbly personalized experience. 56Paris is a real estate broker in Paris, France focusing on the particular needs of their international clients. Acting as a partner for their clients, they advise them on their property needs as well as the latest market trends and legal issues while finding and selling properties throughout Paris. They not only scan all of the listings available but often have access to listings before they even hit the market. Their friendly client-driven service makes them one of our highest recommendations for anyone looking to purchase property in Paris.
What You Should Know About Parisian Real Estate
1. No MLS – One big difference in real estate in France is that there is no such thing as an MLS (Multiple Listing Service) which means that the hunt for your perfect apartment is really a full-time job. There are over 3,500 real estate agencies in Paris and they all operate independently. This is where the value of a service like PPG really makes a difference. They scan all of the agencies for you and provide you with the best properties on the market as a whole instead of 15 different agencies sending you the listings that they have which may or may not be what you are looking for.
2. Agency Roles – Real estate agencies in these transactions become both the sellers agent and the buyers agent. This means that they are more interested in having the transaction go through than looking out for the buyer’s interests. The buyer ends up paying the agent’s fee of 5%.
3. The Notary – In France, lawyers are rarely a part of real estate transactions and it is the notaries, rather, that play the role of the legal advisor. Both parties will have their own notary present. This is paid through a fee called Les Frais de Notaires. The notary fees are government regulated and a large portion of them go off to taxes. The remaining fees are split between the two parties’ Notaries equally. These fees are always paid by the buyer and can amount to between 5% and 8% of the purchase price.
Kasia also mentioned that Notaries not only play an important role in the purchasing process but they can also become an invaluable resource beforehand; providing you with advice throughout the entire procedure.
The Buying Process
The first step in purchasing an apartment is to research your favorite areas in Paris and narrow down your search. Be sure to check out some of our Neighborhood Guides and take the time to walk throughout the different neighborhoods to really get a feel of the different quartiers and what they have to offer. PPG also breaks down pricing in the different arrondissements and quartiers for you with up-to-date figures. This could really make a difference when deciding which neighborhoods you are interested in.
Once you have found your property, you make an offer through the agent. Once the seller accepts your offer, the seller is locked in and the property is off the market. From here, the two notaries begin their work.
The first big signing is at the draft reservation, or Promesse de Vente, when 10% of the fees are paid. There is a 7 day buffer period where the buyer is free to abandon the deal with no penalty. After this, they are still free to leave the contract but they will forfeit the 10% payment.
From here until the final Acte Authentic, the notaries will read through the bylaws of the building and research the history of the property while the buyer will work on obtaining their financing.
6 weeks – 3 months later, the final contract is signed at the closing. At this point, all the remaining fees are paid, the buyer is given the keys to their new property and only then can he/she start any construction on their new property.
Tips and Tricks
While it is very difficult and can be very frustrating to find an apartment on your own without a service like 56Paris, Kasia Dietz did it! Here are some of her tips and tricks to help those of you who are planning to brave it on your own:
- Before you even start looking, go shopping for banks! In talking with them you will be able to set your apartment budget and negotiate a good mortgage rate. Different banks will give you different rates so take your time and talk to as many as you can. They will be able to give you a document that proves that you have funding from a bank which will help in the apartment purchasing process.
- Once you find an apartment you like, check the value of the property on Meilleurs Agents. This excellent resource will help you determine whether you have the room to negotiate with the owner.
- If you find an apartment that you are interested in it might be a good idea to have a structural engineer take a look at it. Old Parisian buildings may have slanted floors just from the building settling in over the years, but if there is a larger problem, you should have this checked out in order to save you time and money in the future.
- Kasia stressed that you shouldn’t be afraid to sign something ASAP if you are interested in the apartment – and always at asking price! Chances are, that it will go at asking price, so unless there is something really wrong with the apartment, if you are interested in it, go for it, and fast!
- Get personal. Kasia’s biggest advice was to get to know the owners and the brokers on a personal level. If you are in contact with the owner directly, get to know them. Ultimately it is their choice if they accept your offer and if they like you, they will be more willing to sell you their home. If you are going the broker route, find a few that you really like and get to know them. When a property comes onto the market, they have a choice in who they call first and if your face is the first to pop into their head then you have a head start over the others.
Please do not hesitate to contact us with any further questions about purchasing property in the wonderful City of Lights. Good luck with your search and please share your stories with us!