Posts Tagged ‘75010’

Holy moly

August 9, 2010

Just got a phone call for an apartment at Stalingrad that is 9100 EUROS the square meter.

When I heard the price the first time, I had to ask the realtor to repeat it because I thought I misunderstood.

Why am I freaking out about this?  Well, it’s an utterly unexceptional fifth-floor walkup overlooking the courtyard in an “emerging” neighborhood that averages 6000€/m2.

We are not looking in this neighborhood and the apartment would be too small for us anyways, but what worries me is the slim possibility that the real estate agent is not actually crazy to be asking so much.

If this is a preview of what’s to come with la rentrée in September, we’re screwed.

Bottoms up!


On the meaning of vis-a-vis

May 24, 2010

In my many French classes over the years, I never learned about the particular dialect spoken by real estate agents.  This week, five months into the search, I finally learned the official definition of vis-a-vis.  I always thought that vis-a-vis meant anytime there was no view (i.e., a view of a wall), but actually, vis-a-vis only refers to lack of privacy when other windows look onto your apartment.  Moreover, looking on a stone wall does not technically count as vis-a-vis, and even street-facing apartments can have vis-a-vis with the apartment buildings across the street.  What I should be asking realtors is not whether there is vis-a-vis, but whether there is a vue dégagée – a view.  The more you know!

Let’s go through the visits that illustrate this vocab lesson.  When I saw this listing for a 2nd floor walkup one-bedroom just steps away from Canal Saint-Martin, I called immediately.

Killer location?  Check.  Beautiful building?  Check.  As to the rest . . . well, not so much.  The realtor was upfront about the condition of the apartment, as it needed major updating, but she sidestepped the issue of view.  When she said it was over the courtyard I asked if it received light or if there was any vis-a-vis.*  Her response?  That it was a huge courtyard and there was nothing choquant about the view.  I should have followed up right then and there to ask her to clarify what she meant by “shocking.”  Because we clearly have different ideas of view:

"View" from the living room

Moreover, the apartment didn’t even look on the “huge” courtyard, but a little courette.  I apologized and said that it wouldn’t work and the visit was over about thirty seconds in.

Later in the week, an agent called me about a US 4th-floor walkup near Cambronne in the 15th.  I couldn’t really talk at the time so I agreed to the visit without asking many questions.  I don’t think I even asked the price!  We met at the agency beforehand to go over things and I told him straight up, if there is any vis-a-vis or wall it’s not even worth going over to see it, I don’t want to waste your time or mine.  He smiled and said that there was un petit peu of a wall and a little bit of vis-a-vis.  Which amounted to this:

Ok, so technically there is no vis-a-vis, and I suppose the “view” is an improvement over the Canal Saint-Martin one.  But we need a real view of the street or the rooftops, not just a partial view of the building next door!  Next!**

The final visit of the week was in the 5th one block away from the Pantheon, at a teeny studio apartment with no work needed and a very nice view (SouthEastern exposure!):

Now here's a view!

It was priced at 12k/m2 – 10-20k/m2 is the average on that street, the view and light is worth it, and the neighborhood is great even if the apartment is probably a 7-8 minute walk from the nearest metro.  This apartment would be a smart investment for anyone looking for a pied-a-terre or a seasonal rental, and it is probably one of our overall favorites.  But we really need about 5-10 m2/more and a separate bedroom (or at least sleeping area) so we had to regretfully pass.

Here’s to learning new vocab…and hopefully finding an apartment along the way!

*At the beginning of the search, courtyard-only apartments were an automatic dealbreaker for us.  However, courtyard-only is not necessarily mutually exclusive with view; it just depends on the building, what floor the apartment is on, the courtyard, and the surroundings.  We are now open to visiting courtyard-only apartments but I clearly have a long ways to go before I will be able to efficiently screen apartments based on the realtor’s description alone.

**Adding salt to the wound, this was a third-floor walkup with no view in an boring lime stucco building without concierge in a less desirable neighborhood than the Gobelins one from the very beginning, plus it was in worse condition and 7 m2 smaller, and yet the Cambronne one was more expensive!

Jacques Bonsergent

April 24, 2010

Getting sick, and my computer getting sick, and going out of town are three factors that put the brakes on the apartment search the past two weeks.  It’s ok though (so I tell myself) because it also coincides with yet another official vacation period.  And as one realtor put it, in fact, in the very same words that were used to describe my computer: C’est mort.

That being said, we did put in an offer last week on an apartment a stone’s throw away from the Canal Saint-Martin.  I did not actually visit it, but our discussion boiled down to:

-we love the neighborhood, don’t mind a 3rd floor walkup.

-But.  It was completely Northern exposure, and both the bedroom and living room were on the road – far from ideal.*  Probably a 8-10 minute walk from the metro Republique.  Kitchen needed to be redone.  Water leaks in the building and a crazy neighbor next door.  And the real dealbreaker – 8500/m2.  It was in our budget but I was skittish of paying so much over the “averages” (even though the averages mean nothing) for this particular apartment with all of its defauts.  So we made an offer slightly lower, in the 8200/m2 range.  In this market, making an offer lower than asking price is tantamount to passing, and it sold for full asking price four days later.

I can’t be bummed because I didn’t see it in person so I don’t really know what we missed out on – who knows maybe I would have walked in and loved it – and for my companion it was no coup de coeur either.  Oh and because we’ve been asking about rental values: the realtor estimated 1k for unfurnished rental.  Don’t think it would work as a seasonal rental because there is no elevator, and it is not centrally located nor near any major monuments or museums (even though the neigborhood is great and would appeal to bobos).  Next.

*The ideal layout is traversant with living room on the road and bedroom on the inner courtyard.  Bedroom on the road isn’t itself a dealbreaker because we try to take everything into consideration – the Mouton Duvernet apartment was a 5th floor walkup with bedroom on road but it was full Southern exposure with a gorgeous balcony!

Pick of the day: République

April 7, 2010

It’s always a good sign when I literally gasp out loud at a listing.

OMGZ I'll take it!!!

I got this email last night, and this morning at 8 a.m. my companion was already bugging me to call about it.  I had some appointments and errands and was not able to call before noon.  I called a few times, left a message, never heard back, called back around 4 pm, and it was already sold.  Not even 24 hrs on the market this one!

So what’s so special about it?  Great location near République.  Pretty stone building.  Ok, it’s a 5th floor walkup…but hello, did you see the view?!  From the photos it doesn’t seem like any work is needed besides a fresh paint of coat, not sure about the condition of the building itself.  It’s also located around the corner from an apartment we rented a few years ago, so we know the street and surrounding streets very well and would have loved to return to the neighborhood.  Hélas it was not meant to be.  Fingers crossed for the week!