Archive for June, 2010

Pick of the day: Butte aux Cailles

June 23, 2010

I think this listing looks really interesting.  First of all, it’s truly in the heart of the Butte aux Cailles, which is an adorable village-y feeling street not far from Place d’Italie (so close to 3 lines of metro, a mall, an open fresh market, and my favorite Asian supermarket Tang Frères).  And then look at that huge veranda and terrasse, can you imagine the light it must get!  It’s not exactly what we are looking for but it seems neat enough to merit a visit.  Unfortunately my companion nixed it, poopoohing that it’s bizarrement foutu – it looks odd.  My loss, your gain – check out the listing here.

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Pick of the day – mannequin included?

June 17, 2010

Hmm…interesting choice for the sole photo posted with this listing.  So many questions.  Why does the owner have a mannequin in the kitchen?  Why didn’t the realtor move the mannequin out of the way when taking the photo?  Or is the mannequin included along with the cuisine équipéeMystère et boules de gomme!

Oh, and today I realized that gmail had been sending all my seloger alerts to the spam folder.  For the past two weeks.  I had been receiving alerts from other realtors and websites so I just now caught on.  Going through the old alerts, there was a decent sized one-bedroom apartment listed on Rue Notre Dame des Champs last week for a laughable 260k.  Of course it’s already sold now.  FML.  and gmail.

My latest dream address

June 13, 2010

Behold, 82 rue Notre Dame des Champs.

The first time I walked by this building I stopped dead in my tracks.The details KILL me.

Cherubs above the door - it must be heavenly to live there!

Impressive wrought iron door (and an even more impressive lobby I imagine)

Constant Lemaire, Architecte 1904-1905

A building like this is most certainly one of grand standing and I guarantee there is an elevator and concierge.

The building alone isn’t what makes this a dream address; the location also helps.My personal preference for the Montparnasse neighborhood aside, the building is just a few blocks away from the Jardin du Luxembourg.  More importantly, the building faces the direction of the park, and I bet the fifth-floor apartment (which is on an angle so gets both eastern and western exposure!) has a gorgeous view.  Plus look at all the light it gets – that top photo was taken around 8 or 9 pm!

A stunning building in a great location in one of the most expensive districts in Paris doesn’t come cheap.  According to MeilleursAgents.com apartments in the building range from 8k-15k/m2.

Well, a girl can dream.  In the meantime I’ll be the one drooling as I pass in front of it on my way to the park.

Montparnasse, twice

June 6, 2010

We’ve been apartment hunting for about six months now and have not come across anything on our street in our budget in that time, but this week two very similar apartments just a few buildings down from us were listed!

Apartment #1 – ~32 m2 US sixth floor walkup in stone building.  Plan “étoile” – when you walk in, the kitchen and bedroom are on your right, the bathroom is straight ahead, and the living room is on your left.  Living room faces the Montparnasse Tour,* kitchen and bedroom have panoramic views of Paris, including the Eiffel Tower.  Bathroom and kitchen would need to be redone.  I didn’t visit this one, but my companion did not like it and thought it was too expensive with the work it needed.  Price was later reduced by 15k,** but still not really interested.

Trust me, the sunsets must be glorious.

Apartment #2 (in the building next door to Apartment #1, 5k more than the newly-reduced price) – ~32 m2 US sixth floor walkup in stone building.  Plan “étoile” – when you walk in, the kitchen and bedroom are on your right, the bathroom is straight ahead, and the living room is on your left.  Living room faces the Montparnasse Tour,* kitchen and bedroom have panoramic views of Paris, including the Eiffel Tower.  Kitchen needs minor work, floor needs to be redone in entry.  Bedroom is really tiny and not even sure it would have enough room for our current double bed.  Absolutely no closets and don’t know where you would have room to put them anyways.  Maybe you could knock down the wall between the bedroom and the kitchen to make an open kitchen/living, and make the current-living room the bedroom?

Most importantly, the thought of a sixth-floor walkup makes me want to cry.  We have rented a sixth-floor walkup before and it sucked, there’s no other way to put it.  A balcony would make it worth it, but for just a normal apartment in a normal neighborhood, I was not feeling it.  It would be impossible to rent for seasonal rentals, rental value for long term rentals is not great (maybe 900 eur unfurnished), and who knows what the market will look like when we want to sell?   Plus, the realtor was incredibly rude to me.  It was the same one who showed me the Square Gaston Baty apartment way back when and when I expressed my concerns about the size of the bedroom and the fact that it was a sixth-floor walkup, she hissed at me “I’m so annoyed with you.  You’ve been searching for an apartment for six months and you have nothing and you wonder why?  Look how picky you are!”  The visit was over right then and there, and her outburst cemented my doubts about the apartment.

Maybe I am annoying, maybe I am picky, maybe as an American I expect too much, but when we are plunking down so much money in an apartment can you really expect me to be anything but?

*Whether or not that is a good view is a personal opinion, the majority would say no!  But it is pretty neat to look right up at it.

**This is pretty incredible, and the first time I have ever seen a price reduction on a small apartment.  Maybe this is a good sign of things to come?

Pont Neuf, Ecole Militaire, Oberkampf

June 1, 2010

Last week was quite a whirlwind.  By noon on Monday we had two offers pending, one of which had been faxed over sight unseen, and on Tuesday we made a third one.  About that time I posted this to my tumblr:

3 options currently on the table:

-super central location at a killer price (like, bargain of the century yo, because the seller is rushed), but 6th floor walkup without a view (M: Louvre-Rivoli)

-posh neighborhood with a nice view of a church and concierge, but smaller than the other two and 5th floor walkup (M: Ecole Militaire)

-young/trendy neighborhood with balcony (but not a great view or anything, just a 3rd floor walkup overlooking a normal street).  The only “but” is the neighborhood, which is young and trendy and fine but would not be as good as an investment as the other two (in terms of resale and rental value). (M: Oberkampf)

So let me backup and explain.

Offer #1, Pont neuf:  Sight unseen.  On Saturday night I got a seloger alert for a 5th floor walkup on Rue du Pont Neuf (I die, I die, I die) that needed to be gutted.  Nothing exceptional…until I notice that it is listed with a non-Parisian agency at about half the market average for that street.*  I call my companion, who is out of the country, and ask him to fax an offer immediately.  Even though we are not looking for a 5th floor walkup overlooking a courtyard, we would be fools to pass up such an opportunity.  When my companion gets back in town Monday morning he calls the agency and asks if they received his offer and how to proceed.  “Which offer?” the agent asks.  Over the weekend they received over twenty offers at full asking price, also sight unseen! Wow.  The agency says they won’t accept any offers without a visit, and that there is an open house on Thursday.  We are tentatively hopeful, because we know that we have no chance against a cash buyer.  On Tuesday we call with some more questions only to be told that the apartment has already sold.  “What?!” my companion asks in surprise.  “The owner already sold it on her own,” claims the agency.  As is often the case, the transaction is shrouded in mystery and we are left with the impression that we’ve been scammed.

Offer #2, Oberkampf:  I was the fifth person to visit this third-floor walkup with balcony.  The building was in great condition: beautiful stone building that had just been redone, cellars that had just been redone, an interior staircase that had been voted on.  The apartment interior was also great – the seperate bathroom/WCs had been redone recently and the seperate kitchen was completely equipped.  The current owner had turned the one-bedroom into a studio, tearing down the wall between the living room and the bedroom, so we would need to put it back in (and possibly tear down the existing closet in the living room and add closets to what would become the bedroom).  No biggie, though, and I quickly made my offer at full asking price.  The agent says she’ll call back by Wednesday, but she doesn’t.  I am out of the country and my companion is not able to get in touch with her until TUESDAY of the next week, when she informs us that the sitting tenant has also made an offer and thus has priority over us.  Eff me gently with a chainsaw.

The apartment is the windows with the balcony and the one window to the left of the balcony.

Offer #3, Ecole Militaire: This was a by-owner listing on PAP, and though it was tiny, and nearly 12k/m2, we were really excited about the view.  There was only one photo in the listing, of the view to the east:

Eglise Saint-Pierre du Gros Caillou

But it was the Western view that took my breath away:

Dying. No caption needed =)

The apartment was tiny, and now that I’ve had time to think about it, not really functional.  Even though it was just redone – new floors, windows, heating, kitchen, and bathroom – there were no closets.  Not a single shelf!  And I don’t know where you would put a fridge, oven, or washing machine.  Still, we made an offer at full asking price on the spot.  But as usual, the owner was looking for a cash buyer, and we were informed a few days later that he was only considering the offers that did not have a clause suspensive.  Yes, an apartment with no closets had received multiple offers without clause suspensive.

At the beginning of the week, I was so optimistic – three offers by Tuesday, can you imagine?  But the reality of the Paris market is that an offer means nothing, and a week later here we sit with our hands empty.  So sick of this ish!

*I’ve posted here before about the crazy deals I have seen listed with non-local agencies who are too lazy or don’t care enough to figure out the actual market price of the apartments they’re listing.  When I see a non-local number now my ears perk up and I play a little closer attention to the ad.