Posts Tagged ‘75011’

The stuff nightmares are made of

July 12, 2010

Just going through my email alerts and came across this gem:

donnant sur parc avec jeux d’enfants. Au 1er

First floor overlooking a park with jungle gym/swingset/who knows.  I don’t know why they would specify park with playground unless they’re trying to appeal to families?  Though why would a family be interested in a one-bedroom?  Or maybe it is code for “cour de récré”?  In which case good luck – been there, done that, never again.

Yes, on the long list of past horrors,* we once lived behind an elementary school.  More precisely, our second floor apartment looked directly onto the playground.  We had visited the apartment in the evening and so didn’t think anything of it before signing the lease.  But boy did the sounds of kids screaming and playing and crying ruin many a Saturday morning, because yes in France there is school on Saturdays!  That school started at 8:30 am, but the kids were in the playground from 8 a.m. onwards which made for an impossible-to-ignore alarm that was especially painful after a late night.  Perhaps we’re just grumps and this type of noise wouldn’t bother you; if so click here to view the rest of the listing.

*So.  Many.  I’m not even counting undergrad dorms because those were actually decent compared to some of the utter holes I’ve lived in since.  Current apartment included.  That we find an apartment!  Universe are you listening? 🙂


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.

Pick of the day: Republique

May 11, 2010

Here’s an example of something I would have been ready to make an offer on sight unseen:Great location smack dab at Republique (one of those rare occasions where the listing location is accurate – this was near the Club Med on Rue du Faubourg du Temple).  US 6th floor with elevator and balcony, original chimney and decorative molding, cellar.  Would need to be completely renovated but for us that is actually a plus.  But of course, it was listed last night and sold this morning on the first visit, so by the time I received the email alert it was already too late.

Unfortunately I think this week will be pretty dead – Thursday is a holiday and so on Friday many will faire le pont as well.  Still stupidly optimistic here, though, fingers crossed as always!

Pernety, Pere Lachaise, Falguiere, Vavin, Denfert-Rochereau

March 28, 2010

4 days, 5 visits, 0 offers, 0 photos for anyone out there.  The theme?  Vouloir le beurre et l’argent du beurre.

Wanting the butter and the money for the butter: is it really so unreasonable to hope for good location, good building, and light?  Apparently so because we’ve yet to find an apartment with all three…I’m this close to investing in a nice Santeria un-jinx bubble bath or air freshener.

If only finding an apartment were as simple as buying a “lucky” bubble bath!  On to the recaps.

Pernety: 2nd floor with elevator in ok condition in ugly 30s brick building in ok neighborhood.  Meh.

Père Lachaise: beautiful stone building with elevator, cave, concierge.  6th floor “courtyard” side but with panoramic views of the 20th and east Paris, in great condition.  The dealbreaker was the location: the listing said République, on the phone the agent told me Parmentier, but it was actually at Père Lachaise on the very border of the 20th.  If it had been anywhere else…

Falguiere: 2nd floor with elevator in nice stone building with concierge, cave.  Apartment was brand spankin new and maybe 5 minutes from our current place so location was perfect.  I’ve seen this listing on seloger for a few weeks but I thought the price was ridiculous.  I just saw it on PAP for a bit lower so I called to ask about view/light, and the owner assured me that even though it looked on the courtyard it faced west and received a lot of light.  You know where this is going: went to go see it ASAP and there was a view of the stone wall about 6 feet away.  “But it gets a lot of light!” she tried to assure me, before giving up and adding “you Americans all you care about is the view.”  Huh what?  NEXT!

3/31/10 update: I should really call this the yo-yo apartment because it was just relisted on seloger for the 10k/m2+ asking price.  Pics of the great view included.  Good luck with that one sweetie!

Vavin: Great location in the north 14th on a calm one lane road.  3rd floor walkup in nice stone building with cave and concierge.  Out of our price range with the work it needed – per usual “petits rafraîchissements” translates to everything – electric, bathroom, kitchen.  Three months in I still haven’t quite mastered the language of real estate agents.  Other negatives were super crappy layout and major vis-a-vis (one can be changed with more money than we have, the other can’t).  Oh plus a loony old woman who lives in the building harassed me and the realtor and told me to go back to America.  Fun times.  Next.

Denfert-Rochereau: 4th floor with elevator in beautiful building with cave and concierge, near 3 metro lines.  Looks on courtyard.  Plus we found it on PAP, which is not a bad thing in itself, except right now with the market the way it is the price listed in PAP is often just the starting price.  Owners aren’t limited to a mandat like an agency is, and by the time we saw this apartment there were already 7 offers on the table.*  I bet it will end up selling for 20k above asking price, more than we would like to pay for a courtyard apartment in that neighborhood.  Bizarrely the third time in a row I’ve encountered anti-American rumblings – the owners complained about a pair of rude Americans that had visited the apartment earlier in the day and said they would never sell to foreigners.  Next.

There were also quite a few apartments that I would’ve liked to visit but that were already sold by the time I called about them.  I got an email for one on Thursday morning, called and left a message ASAP, then called again on Friday morning by which time they already had six offers at asking price.  I asked about the highest down payment, to see if we had a chance at beating the best offer, and the realtor said unlikely since they already a cash offer without clause suspensive.  Holy moly we will never be able to make such an offer.  In fact, I don’t even think it’s possible to trump a cash offer without clause suspensive.*

Today’s lightbulb moments:

*Le vendeur est roi – the seller is king!  one agent exclaimed to me.  How true.  That crappy Square Baston Gaty apartment I didn’t like sold at asking price without clause suspensive in a matter of days – the agent said that now, to be sure to get an apartment, not only must you make an offer at full asking price, but also without the clause suspensive.

*Time is the ultimate luxury, not money – our failure to find an apartment (yet!) has nothing to do with our budget.  Ok, so we had to pass on that most amazing Commerce apartment (still dreaming of that beauty!) because it was out of our price range with the work needed, and of course it would be nice to have an extra 100 grand or even 50 grand lying around, but a successful outcome in this search turns on whether we can afford to be patient and picky.  We might have found a way around the May 31 deadline for the PTZ, fingers crossed…

*The Paris market is fickle – things seem to change from one month or week to the next.  We went out with Céline again recently and of course ended up talking about my favorite topic, the Paris market.  Apparently when Céline was looking one year ago, real estate agencies were going out of business and owners were worried that the housing market would crash, so the market was flooded with owners trying to sell as quickly as possible.  She was even able to negotiate a price reduction of 20k, which is just unimaginable right now.**

And that there ends my missive on the current state of affairs.  As always, fingers crossed for the coming week, even without jinx remover bubble bath.


*Here in France the legit agents can’t sell beyond the price stated in the mandat which is why it comes down to financing methods, not number value.  If I were selling an apartment right now I would totally list it myself on PAP just to open up the possibility of a bidding war which would not be allowed with an agency.  I discussed clause suspensive in the footnote to this prior post.

**For small, non-ground floor apartments.  The market for large apartments above 600k is not nearly as crazy – such apartments stay on the market longer and the prices are often open to negotiation.

I love listings like this

February 26, 2010

From PAP:

Rue Oberkampf. 1er étage sur cour. Sombre et vis à vis proche. 2 pièces 40 m², refait à neuf : parquet, électricité, plomberie, fenêtres double vitrage. Pièce à vivre avec cuisine américaine, chambre, salle de bains, chauffage électrique individuel. Taxe foncière : 60 euros/an. Charges 80 euros/mois. Gardienne. Digicode. 224.000 €.

Sometimes listings are so brutally honest they make me smile.  Here the third sentence reads “Dark with no view (vis-a-vis).”  And there’s no contact number!  Yeah, I guess they really want to sell this place.

Rue de la lappe haiku

February 16, 2010

No elevator

Crappy building, noisy street

No concierge, Next!

But I am now kicking myself for not taking photos.  A previous owner was from Savoy (a mountain region near the Alps) and walking into this apartment was like stepping into a chalet high in the mountains.  Everything was artisinal wood – from the corner kitchen in the living area to the bathroom sink and cabinets!  Yes, the bathroom sink!  It was incredible.  But since I had absolutely no intention of making an offer on the apartment, and it was by-owner (and the owner was rude), I didn’t feel comfortable asking to take a photo.


My pick of the day:

LOOK at that balcony.  Is that not the stuff dreams are made of?  Sadly it’s too expensive for us and this is not the type of apartment you can really negotiate, this is the type that is most likely SOLD by the time you are reading this (for full asking price of course).

Catch it while it’s still available here.

Now here’s a record – not even 24 hours?

January 28, 2010

Got the email for this one late last night, by the time I looked again this morning the listing was already pulled.

Dans un quartier animé bordé par le boulevard Voltaire, la rue de la
Roquette, la rue de Charonne et proche de toutes commodités, beau 2
pièces dans un immeuble en pierre de taille, donnant sur rue calme et
cour. Au 6ème et dernier étage avec ascenseur d’un bel immeuble
bourgeois, dans une copropriété bien entretenue, beau 2 pièces de 41m²
avec séjour, chambre, cuisine indépendante, salle de bain, WC.
Appartement traversant, parquet, moulures, vue dégagée. Appartement
en bon état général dans un quartier agréable ! Beaucoup de potentiel
!! A visiter sans tarder !!

Highlights:  Paris 11th (not sure where exactly since the listing names a lot of roads but the short description in the email said Bastille), 440 sq ft one-bedroom on 7th US floor of old stone building with elevator and balcony, view over road and interior courtyard.  From what I remember of the photos, the floors were in good condition, and there was ornate molding, but the bathroom and kitchen would have needed to be redone.  It was on the website so briefly there’s not even a google cache for it!

Also, just realized I might have made a really really stupid mistake by not giving my email address to the first dozen or so agencies I visited.  I didn’t think anything of it because I am already signed up for email alerts from the bigger agencies and websites (Century 21, Laforet, FNAIM, Seloger, PAP)*, most of the smaller agencies don’t have their own website, and I thought the smaller ones would just contact me by phone if they had anything.  But I was just on the phone with a very nice lady from a small independent agency who convinced me to give her my email address because they prefer sending out email alerts to calling people, and often such listings don’t even make it up on seloger.

*but not Foncia because they actually have the nerve to CHARGE for email alerts.  Like, really?  Only in France, I suppose.