Taxes, Fees and Hidden Costs (The Boring Stuff)

When budgeting for an apartment in Paris, there is more than just the asking price to consider. I got together with Frank van Zelst, from ParisScarabee Househunters, to get the low-down on the extra costs associated with buying a property in the City of Lights.

Frank advises that as a general rule of thumb, budget for an additional 7-8% on top of the asking price. An apartment advertised at €400,000 will, in reality, cost somewhere in the ball-park of €430,000. Transfer tax, plus other governmental charges, is around 6% of the purchase price. Notary charges will be around 1-2%, depending on the total transaction cost. Agent fees are included in the asking price and are covered by the seller.

A useful resource is the Notaire de Paris cost calculator. Here you can enter the price of an apartment and calculate the total cost of purchase. It will show you that if your budget is €250,000, you should be looking at places with an asking price of around €232,000.

Maintenance and Running Costs
Once you own your little piece of Paris, what still needs to be paid for? There are two annual taxes: the taxe foncière is paid by all apartment owners; and the taxe d’habitation that is paid for by the person who occupies the apartment. The amount of these taxes is determined by the government. For an apartment with a purchase price of €400,000, expect around €1300 in taxes each year. Every building has a monthly maintenance charge to cover stair cleaning, rubbish collection and in some cases, hot water or cable. This can vary widely so check with the seller beforehand.

To keep itself beautiful, the City of Paris stipulates that every building must be renovated, to maintain a certain standard, every 15 years. The upkeep of the building is paid for by the apartment owners. Frank recommends that you carefully study the minutes from the last three general assemblies to check for decisions that might affect your wallet over the next couple of years, “Many people learn this the hard way. To avoid nasty surprises, attend these meetings, check the meeting minutes and if you’re not sure about something, ask.”

Renovation
“Be realistic about the cost of renovation,” says Frank. “It’s easy to tell yourself that you can live with a place in its current condition but once you take over, the temptation to make it your own is strong. Once you paint the walls you realise the ceilings need doing. Suddenly the floors look scruffy.” He also recommends thinking carefully about whether a renovation is worth it. “Sometimes you pay for that designer kitchen, but it’s not appreciated enough by buyers to get the investment back when you sell.” We thought initially that a lick of paint would transform our studio into as good as new, but before we knew it we were ripping everything out. When you have your own little Piece of Paris, you want everything to be perfect.

LL

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