Blanche, St Sebastien Froissart, Place d’Italie, Etienne Marcel twice

Visits are picking up once again.  This week’s recap: 5 visits, 1 offer made, 1 offer rejected.  Still as hopeful as ever for the coming week.

Blanche – sooooo tempting.  I know I said I hate the neighborhood, but my companion doesn’t feel the same way and I could make it work for this gorgeous 100 sq ft balcony with full Southern exposure (la cerise sur le gâteau – US 6th floor WITH elevator).

Drooling yet?

This photo makes me dream of summer dinners outdoors, drinks with friends, lazy mornings with tea and the paper, a bit of suntanning.  And actually visiting it on a sunny afternoon was even better!


and a big but.

I knew the apartment would be a wreck, but I was not expecting termites and the dreaded black mold.  Oh, that black mold brought those balcony fantasies to a screeching halt!  Coming from a place with hurricanes I know how hard it can be to get rid of black mold and how serious a health hazard this can be.  Fixer-uppers don’t scare us, but we are not prepared to deal with black mold.  Very revealing is the fact that when I went to see it, it had been on the market for four days and only received one offer – 100k below the price on the mandate.  Regretfully, next.

St Sebastien Froissart – smackdab in the Marais, a neighborhood we love.  But.  Fourth-floor walkup with Northern exposure, even darker than the first-floor Alençon apartment from last week!  Plus the parties communes and the roof had to be redone but were not voted on nor paid, no concierge, no cave, and the real estate agent was aggressive, rude, and unprofessional.  He reminded me of the hotheaded character Christopher from the Sopranos and even if I had been interested in the apartment I would not have made an offer because I wouldn’t want to deal with him.  At the end of the visit I told him my opinion – love the neighborhood, but all the cons outweigh the location.  He started yelling at me on the street that he shouldn’t have wasted his time showing it to me, on peut pas tout avoir etc.  NEXT!

Place d’Italie – Happily surprised by this one.  An agent I had met once way back in February called me and told me about a 4th floor with elevator he had near Gobelins.  I told him we couldn’t afford it but he convinced me to come on down and take a look because the owners were rushed and the price was negotiable.  Well it was really at Place d’Italie, not Gobelins, and I did not like the road, but the apartment itself was perfect.  At 42 m2, it weighed in far larger than anything we have seen.  And a full sized bath!  And a proper kitchen with American size fridge!  Southern and Western exposure!  Cave and concierge!  Not a single sweatdrop of work needed before moving in besides turning the key!  I could get over the ugly 30s brick building for all of those advantages.  We were the first to visit and the agent encouraged us to make an offer at 20k below asking, because that way we would have priority over all other offers.*  We went through the financing with the agent, made our offer, and he communicated it to the owners who countered at full asking price.  Between the time we visited and the time we received the counteroffer we didn’t win the lottery or suddenly discover a 20k error in our bank accounts, and so this apartment remains too expensive for us.  We spoke with the agent again on Friday and the apartment still hadn’t sold – they received one offer 5k above ours that was also rejected.  I would have been satisfied to have it at the price we offered but it was not a coup de coeur for either of us and we have not lost any sleep over it.  If anything it was a good experience with the agent who was wonderful, and hopefully he’ll see that we’re serious and call us if he ever has anything else good!

Etienne Marcel – When I called about this one I asked the location and the agent responded defensively “Rue Saint-Denis.  Mais la bonne partie!”  Umm, is there a good part of Rue Saint-Denis?  Practically every other store on the street is a sexshop/stripclub type place.  Even though we go out in this area frequently – the experimental followed by rice and fish has been our Friday MO lately – I would not feel comfortable living there and I think my parents would die if they knew I was living on such a street.  The apartment itself was fine, 4th US floor with elevator, concierge, and a cellar that would need to be redone, but it looked on the interior courtyard so we probably would have passed it up anyway.  Next.

Maubert Mutualité – US 3rd-floor traversant walkup a block away from the Seine, Southern exposure.  So yeah, the location was to. die. for.  This is the type of apartment that we would always want to hang on to.  When our appointment rolled around on Saturday, we showed up at the agency excitedly a few minutes early because I was sure this would be the one.  Except the agency was closed, and I didn’t have the agent’s cell phone number.  We saw a cleaning lady inside and were able to get her attention and have her hand us a random agent’s business card.  After calling that agent, he suggested we call another agent.  We’re still confused since both agents acted like they didn’t know of any female realtor at the agency handling this sale, but according to the second agent we spoke with the owner had already sold the apartment to a neighbor that week.  What a complete waste of time and I can’t believe the agency didn’t call me to cancel the appointment.

Etienne Marcel – Back to Etienne Marcel over the weekend to visit a by-owner listing on the corner of Rue Saint-Denis.  The apartment itself was interesting, and not in a good way: the kitchen and hallway were plywood.  At first I thought that maybe the apartment was undergoing renovations, but no, that’s just the look the owner was going for.  Ugh.  Plywood notwithstanding the location remains as ever a dealbreaker – the 2nd district is a tricky one and I need to be more discerning when screening listings in that district.  Next.

*If someone came after us and made a higher offer, we would always have priority to match that offer because our offer was the first in line.  This is how we lost out on the Gobelins apartment at the very beginning of the search – the first bidders who had a lower offer than ours had the opportunity to match our later-in-time, higher offer, and they did.  We would never have been able to trump their offer.  Not all agents work like this – if you are serious about an apartment, make sure to ask lots of questions about the agent’s procedures.


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One Response to “Blanche, St Sebastien Froissart, Place d’Italie, Etienne Marcel twice”

  1. Struggler Says:

    Things are definitely hotting up out there!
    Fascinating to hear how the system works, with early offerers being given the chance to match later bids…

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