The Perfect Pied-À-Terre
These past two weeks, we’ve seen many more Americans back in town with the idea of owning their own pied-à-terre in Paris. Typically, they want something they can stay in and enjoy while they’re here several weeks a year and then rent on a short-term basis the rest of the year. Sometimes, a return on their investment is really important, but other times, just breaking even would do.
In the States, finding real estate is fairly easy. Don’t get me wrong, finding really good real estate is never easy, but relative to finding an apartment in Paris that meets all the criteria, it is, especially for someone who hopes to accomplish this in just a few days while visiting on their typically one-week vacation.
I won’t bore you with the details, but the big picture is that there’s no MLS system, so each agent is independent. Every apartment is different from the next, owned by an individual and part of a co-op. The system requires a special attorney, called a “notaire” to process all transactions and levee a tax on all real estate transactions. A closing takes up to three months. Mortgages can be attained now more easily for foreigners thanks to the British banks who opened up that market a few years ago, but it requires a French bank account, not always easy to achieve without a proper visa. And before you sign on the dotted line, you best be made aware of the strict inheritance laws that protect the heirs and the capital gains tax laws that could cost you more than you’d bargained for.
Maneuvering the maze and jumping hurdles to work your way through the system require stamina and know-how. The stamina you have to provide, but the know-how is something you can acquire. That’s why we started “French Property Insider“…to help you make the dream of owning a pied-à-terre in Paris a reality…jumping hurdle by hurdle, one at a time, until mission is accomplished.
One of our readers contacted us a few weeks ago to help him find the apartment of his dreams. He was already well versed from reading the articles written by tax and legal expert Sam Okosken, legal advisor Jean Taquet, architect Derek Bush, Paris expert Thirza Vallois and all the other contributors who lend their wisdom to the subject. He had read the apartment listings and had a pretty good idea of what he wanted to spend and where he wanted to buy. Then we spent two hours just going over his goals, criteria and budgets to narrow down the search. Our property manager began the process and reviewed dozens of apartments before he even got here.
This week, he landed and immediately started visiting apartments we had set up for him. In just two days, he found the perfect apartment. The location, the price, the size, the decor…everything fits. In fact, apartments like this one don’t come along very often, so, not to waste another moment, this afternoon, he’s going back for a second look and to make an offer. I’ve asked a rental agent to review it and offer an opinion. We’ve called the lending banks and the notaire to set the wheels in motion.
If all works well, by Friday, he’ll be the promised purchaser of a beautiful one-bedroom apartment in the heart of Saint-Germain-des-Prés next to the Buci-Seine market. C’est la rêve!
A la prochaine…
Editor, Parler Paris
E-mail: [email protected]
P.S. French Property Insider is a weekly e-letter devoted to sharing insights, recommendations, tips, and discoveries about property in both Paris and France. It’s sure to save you untold time and money, but more importantly, it will help you realize your dream. Visit the site for more information or subscribe now to get tomorrow’s issue by click here
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* Further resources:
* Getting a mortgage in France is easier than you might
* How we helped our reader find the apartment of his dreams in just two days. Email us for all the details.
* The Working and Living in France Conference packs in 4 months of information and networking in just 4 days. Take advantage of the Early-Bird Discount before it’s too late.