Once you have your heart set on buying your own place in Paris, there are five key people you need to help you to realise your dream.
1. A Property Finder
It’s not that we couldn’t have made our Paris dream come true on our own, but the process would have been so laborious, stressful and downright difficult that it would have taken the fun out of it at best and put us off buying in Paris forever at worst. The right property finder will take the stress out of dealing with unreliable real estate agents, tricky sellers and indecipherable paperwork. Choose someone who is not only experienced at navigating the Paris real-estate market, but that understands exactly what you are looking for. Frank and Annemiek from Paris Scarabee House Hunters handled our project with professionalism and a personal touch.
2. A Banker
We went almost all the way towards securing financing with Credit Agricole. However, after weeks of form-filling, stacks of photocopies and registered deliveries, we were told that the rules for lending to foreign investors had changed; if we were to qualify for a loan, we would have to invest an additional €100,000 in the bank (if we had that sort of money, we wouldn’t have been asking for it). In the end, we took out a loan with the international branch of a Norwegian bank, DNB Luxembourg. That meant we could borrow money in Euros while dealing with local bankers. Contrary to our experience with Credit Agricole, setting up a loan with DNB Luxembourg was quick, simple and paper-free.
3. A Notary
A notary takes care of the legal aspects of the sale. We used the notary of the seller, a personal friend of his; as this was one of the conditions of the sale. This is not standard practice and our banker recommended that we use our own. The reason to select your own is that the notary is your legal representative during the sale and there could be a conflict of interest if the same party represents both the buyer and the seller. Our sale was pretty straightforward and we were happy with the service from the notary we used. He spoke fluent English and had international experience, earning him the nickname, The Traveling Notary.
4. A Builder
Even if it’s just a lick of paint, chances are you’ll want to do some work to the place you buy. I now have two experiences with Parisian artisans under my belt and strongly advise that you get a personal recommendation. Our renovation was done by someone who came recommended and everything went smoothly. When we had to bring in an emergency plumber (found online), we got ripped off. Ask around to find a reputable person for the job.
5. Someone Who’s Done it Before
The only person I know who has done it before is, well, me. That’s why I set up this blog. Even though the advice we received from our property finders was indespensable, when we were looking for our Paris apartment I was keen to hear from others about their own experiences and found very little online. A Little Piece of Paris tells the story of my personal Paris property adventure. It exists so that others can learn from my experience and hopefully join me in Paris one day, too.
Have you been through the experience of buying an apartment in Paris? I’d love to hear from you if you have.