Visiting an Apartment
Develop your questions in advance
If you usually have time to ask your questions, it is enough to be a little stressed, to make the visit with a talkative agent or to have a blank to miss essential information. The best thing to do is to prepare your questions in advance. When was the elevator brought up to standard? Are there any resident owners in the building? Has any work already been voted on? Is the heating individual, collective, gas or electric?
Also, think that certain points can be discussed over the phone: the exposure of the apartment, the number of charges and what they include, the property tax?
Ask for the plan of the apartment
Sometimes the agency or the owner will only provide you with photographs of the apartment. In this case, do not hesitate to ask for the plan beforehand. It will give you a precise idea of the number of rooms, the layout, and the location of the load-bearing walls and partitions.
You will find it easier to understand the volume and what changes are possible. Be careful not to project yourself with too much structural work. If technically (for a fee) almost everything can be done today, you will need the agreement of the co-ownership to demolish load-bearing walls. A single refusal and your dreams will be ruined!
Lift the carpet, open the windows.
Once in the apartment, don’t inspect the premises timidly: touch the floor, raise your head, look behind the doors, open closets and faucets. The idea is not to miss old water damage and to check the general state of the apartment. Don’t worry if you see some micro-cracks, but flush away any traces of moisture.
The obsolescence of certain elements can serve as a lever in possible negotiations. If you’re not a fan of carpeting, lift a piece in a corner to check the condition of the floor or tile underneath. Don’t leave the windows closed either, bend down to examine the wooden, PVC, aluminum frames…
Listen carefully. If you are sensitive to noise, concentrate for a few minutes to listen to the building live. Can you hear the neighbors at home, the elevator working, the residents going up the stairs? Is there a schoolyard in the street, a restaurant at the foot of the building?
Create a link with the agent and/or owner
If you liked the apartment, let us know. Don’t forget that in Paris you are in direct competition with many people, even on the first day of the visit. With the same record, a person who creates a bond will have a better chance of winning than one who has been indifferent, cold, and in a hurry. If the apartment caught your eye, verbalize your enthusiasm, but don’t overdo it, especially if you plan to negotiate.
Take the elevator and go down the stairs.
Take advantage of the ascent to check the condition of the elevator and the descent to inspect the stairs and common areas. Is the floor in good condition? What about the paint? Do traces of moisture appear on the walls? The entire building is worth a visit, after all, it is, after all, possible future expenses.
Go down to the cellar
If the property you are visiting includes a cellar, don’t miss it. As mentioned above, it is crucial that the real estate agent or the owner feel you are interested in the property. It is also very useful to take a look at the foundations, to make sure that there is no humidity, that the premises are well ventilated and therefore healthy.
Something else, in the case of small spaces, the cellar can be a very interesting place for storage, if it is not too humid, of course.
Talk to the goalie
It is not a question of disturbing them during their working hours, but if you ever come across the janitor or a neighbor on the stairs or in the lobby of the building, do not hesitate to ask a few questions: about the atmosphere, the neighborhood, the work in progress… The important thing is that you have all the information in hand before you take your position.
Check the condition of the facade from the courtyard
The focus is often erroneously on the exterior façade. However, it is not the only one that deserves your interest. A renovation of the interior façade can be very expensive, so remember to check this element before you leave. A complete tour of the owner to avoid unpleasant surprises when signing at the notary’s office.
Plan visits at different times of the day.
Because the real estate market in Paris is particularly tense, visits are limited. Wait until the offer is accepted, and return to see the apartment at another time, in the evening if you came during lunchtime, for example. It is essential to see the apartment in different atmospheres in order to measure the noise pollution, the luminosity…
Stroll around the neighborhood during the day, at night, and on weekends.
The same argument as visits at different times of the day, don’t be satisfied with the two streets you have surveyed. Imagine yourself already living in the neighborhood: look at the local shops, the nearest subway station, the late-night atmosphere, the transportation available around the property.
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