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How to Search for a Paris Apartment: A Step-by-Step Guide

Posted by Malindi Pender on April 12, 2017
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Where do you start?

Buying a property in Paris has been your goal for years. Now you can begin to search for a Paris apartment online.

My suggestion to anyone in this position is just start looking around and pretty soon you will know what’s possible.

In fact, much better to start searching online now before you get your hopes up too high. The most important thing to remember when buying in Paris is that everyone has to compromise on something.

“Fine!” you say.

“But how do I search for a Paris apartment online?”

“Oh and, it’s all in French!”

All will be revealed in this article, and I’ll tell you how you can get a leg up with some tips on the French problem too.

 

Search for a Paris apartment online (frequently)

Let’s get one thing straight…

There are no tricks to finding a bargain apartment in Paris other than being on the ground and watching the market over time. Paris apartments for sale can come and go within a few days. I recently acquired an apartment that was listed on a Friday on the following day but the agency had to let the ads run on the Monday to save face. Needless to say there were some unhappy ‘early birds’ who couldn’t understand how it could possibly have been sold that quickly.

Negotiation and understanding the French process will massively help later, but it all starts with search.

So for now, let’s get into the first part of your Parisian adventure: search for a Paris apartment online.

 

How To Search for a Paris Apartment: A Step-by-Step Guide

SeLoger is the most popular website that individual agencies use to post their listings.

It’s the best place to start for Paris apartments for sale.

 

Want a permanent version of this guide?

You can get a copy of this guide as a PDF. Click the link below.
Keep this document on file to use for Paris Home Hunting later.

DOWNLOAD STEP-BY-STEP PDF GUIDE

 

 

Go to SeLoger

Step 1. Using the Chrome or Safari browser, type www.seloger.com and click ‘enter’.


 

Step 2. Once loaded, right click on the page and choose ‘Translate to English’ or “Translate this page’.

translate to english

Most of the page will be translated but not the whole page. For those words which are not, we will [bracket] the translation for you in this article.

(TIP: Click on English words to see original French text)

Download Chrome browser for free here if you don’t have it installed.

Enter basic criteria

Let’s enter your neighborhood preferences and budget to get some results.

Step 3. Click the “Buy” tab in the middle of the central box if not already selected.

Step 4. Click inside the box “Saisissez une ville, un quartier” [Enter a city, a district]

Step 5. Now enter the zip codes of the areas you like in Paris.

For the Marais enter 75003 and then 75004 (3rd & 4th districts) etc.

Research Paris neighborhoods here.

Step 6. Enter your maximum budget in the next field and hit the ‘Search’ button.

 

Enter additional criteria

Great, there are already some properties to look at but not so quick!
Let’s refine our search a little so we see more appropriate listings.

Step 7. Click the “Criteria” button up top right to reveal more advanced searching options.

select criteria box paris house hunting

Avoid choosing too many options. It’s definitely worth selecting any options that you absolutely must have. But leave the search as wide open as possible initially.
You can then enter the minimum number of square feet you need. If important, choose the lowest floor [étage min] or the highest floor [étage max] you would prefer in the building.

It’s not necessary to put a maximum, as you want to get as much space as your budget can accommodate.

Remember that in France, the ground floor is floor zero, and the next floor up is the first floor. “Land Area” means [Apartment surface area].

 

Search

With your personal preferences chosen you will now see listings. Be prepared to see average looking photos and not a lot. Unlike many anglophone countries, the french property market generally don’t do home staging. You will need some imagination, but knowing this you have an advantage. Visiting an apartment will give you a much better perspective.

Step 8. Scroll to the bottom of the gray page and click the green button below.

The page that loads will give you a list of apartments that correspond to your defined criteria.

search results paris house hunting

 

Sort the results

Step 9. Click to drop down the “Sort by” menu.

click selection drop down menu

The default is “Selection,” meaning agencies have paid SeLoger to have their properties featured more prominently.
To see the newest listings, click on “Creation Date”.

Apart from ascending and descending price you can also select “Area” which will show you properties based on the neighborhood.

select creation date

 

Learn more about a specific listing

Step 10. Once you’ve sorted the results as you wish, you can click on each listing to learn more about it.

 

Step 11. Click on the arrows to see more photos.

property example paris house hunting

 

Understanding the apartment description

Step 12. Have a good look at the apartment description to get a better idea of the apartment

Some parts of the “Description Apartment” [Apartment Description] may be in French or strange English but you can get a quick overview.

paris apartment description

Area
For north Americans and those who prefer square feet, just times the meters squared by 10 and add 10%. It’s not perfect but it’s a quick way to get an idea.

For example:

60 m2 x 10 = 600sq ft
+ 10% (60)
660 sq ft

To be exact, 1 sq meter is 10.7639 sq ft

Toilette
Toilet or bathroom

Parquet
Wooden floor

Piece
Rooms (including bedrooms, living room, kitchen etc)

Cave
Basement storage room

Digicode
Secure entrance with code for entry

Chauff…
Heating

TIP: To avoid more pitfalls such as sneaky false advertising for Paris apartments for sale, be sure to read 7 Lessons Learned After 183 Paris Apartment Visits

Step 13. Learn about agency commissions.

“About the Award” means [Commission information] and sometimes will appear under the property detail. The percentage you see is the agency commission and the following price is the property cost without these fees. Here is an example of what you can expect to see:

pricing information paris house hunting

Contact the agency

If the unit is of interest to you, you can contact the agency 2 different ways.

Step 14. Fill out the contact form on the right-hand side called “I’am interested”.
Click “Contact the Agency”.

(See translations in the image below)

contact the agency

Don’t hold your breath though because very often the agent will not call you back. Don’t worry, it’s a mistery to us why they don’t want the business too.

 

The best way to get in touch is to call.

click-telephone-to-see-phone-number

Step 15. Click the word “Téléphone” in the gray side box and the phone number will appear.

You can see here the number starts with 06…, meaning that it is a cell phone. In France, 06 & 07 are cell-phone prefixes. In Paris, 01 is the landline prefix, and indicates that it is the number of the actual brick-and-mortar agency. And not a particular salesperson’s cell phone.

phone-number-appears

 

Text if you prefer

The advantage of a cell-phone number is that you can send them a text message even in English.

If you feel uneasy speaking French on the phone, texting is a good option.

Step 16. To text a French cell number from the U.S., start a new text message on your phone.

Then enter the number like this: 011 33 669691975.
011 is the international prefix, followed by the country code [33] for France, then you drop the first zero of the actual phone number.

Step 17. If you aren’t getting any responses from texting, it’s time to call.

To call a landline that begins with 01, you would pick up the phone and dial as follows:
011 33 1 42424242

You can ask if they speak English and if you’re lucky, they’ll speak just enough to converse. In that case, take advantage and ask all the questions you want and arrange an appointment.

If not, and you feel comfortable in French, here are some basic questions to ask:

Step 18. To make an appointment to view the property, you would say:

“Bonjour, je vous appelle concernant l’appartement dans le Marais,
au prix de cinq-cent soixante-dix mille euros. J’aimerais le visiter s’il vous plaît.
Quelles sont vos disponibilités?”

Step 19. If you just want more information, like to get the brochure or layout by email, ask:

“Pourriez vous m’envoyer par courriel la fiche de l’appartement et
le plan s’il vous plaît? Mon adresse mail est la suivante: example@gmail.com”

 


 

Easy right?

Ok, so your high school French might not allow that much phone interaction.

In which case, that’s where I can help.

I am a licensed bilingual Paris property broker from the states. I know the market and I can not only search for you and talk with the estate agent, but I can visit on your behalf.

Feel free to call now on 1 (888) 533-1884, send me a text message at +33 6 77 79 11 52 and I’ll get straight back to you. Or just email me at malindi@parisliving.fr.

 

Conclusion

Searching for a Paris apartment online can be a little daunting but you definitely wouldn’t be the first. The trick is to research frequently to understand the market. Make a journal and check back to see if particular favourites see a price drop.

Paris is actually still a buyer’s market and sellers are accepting offers up to 20% under the asking price.

There is plenty of demand however so consider seeking out a property broker like myself or someone on the ground. Then you can visit as soon as your dream home pops onto the listings. Good luck with your search for a Paris apartment.

 

Any questions or comments?

Did you find this step-by-step guide helpful?

 

Want a permanent version of this guide?

You can get a copy of this guide as a PDF. Click the link below.
Keep this document on file to use for Paris Home Hunting later.

DOWNLOAD STEP-BY-STEP PDF GUIDE

 

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Still unsure about searching online on French websites? It can be confusing so let's chat.

Still unsure about searching online on French websites? It can be confusing so let's chat.

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