Renting an apartment in France

 

Hey everyone! I know it’s been a while but hey, I had a good excuse – we moved to a new apartment! I know, I know you might wonder what’s so complicated about that. But anyone who lives in France knows how difficult it is to find a rental place and be approved. Living in Metz is much easier than in Paris or Lyon for example, but man when our application was finally accepted and I had the keys in my hand, I felt like I had just joined a marathon! But there’s no time to breathe and relax- next is moving out and moving in – which is just another step in this whole ordeal.

Now that we are finally settled in our new apartment (living amongst boxes but ….), I’ve decided to write about a post about my experience.

This is actually our second time to rent an apartment in Metz and both experiences were quite similar. In one word – difficult!

 

 

In April 2018, the owner of the apartment we were renting informed us that she was selling the apartment (click here for the post). We agreed that we would leave and give back the keys on July 1, 2018.

 

Anyone who knows me knows why this view is so important to me.

 

In the beginning, I started to look for apartments online myself. Here are some of the websites, I checked out. Honestly, I focused mainly on the first one.

  1. Le Bon Coin (www.leboncoin.com)
  2. Se Loger (www.seloger.com)
  3. Paru Vendu (www.paruvendu.fr)

This became an obsession. Every morning and every night, I was checking out apartments. As we got nearer to the date and with no apartment yet, I was checking every hour!

The problem in the beginning was that it was a little too soon. The apartments online were available right away and most owners didn’t want to wait 3 months for July 1. This is completely understandable.

There is also a question of the period of the year. July is a very popular month and there is a lot of movement. Students who just graduated move to new places and government or non-government employees are relocated to other cities. But it goes the other way too. There is high offer, but high demands too.

Real Estate Agencies 

Anyways – If you don’t want to do this on your own, you may approach a real estate agency. Here are some of the ones I worked with. My experiences haven’t been all good, but this is all relative. Just a reminder: if you do work with a real estate agency, you’re going to have to pay an agency fee. This is usually equivalent to a one-month rent or more, but never less!

  1. Cabinet Jacques Laveine Immobilier
  2. Cabinet Benedic – if it’s available, they have a moving truck you may use for free
  3. Solvimo
  4. Century 21

 

For a « particulier » or direct owner

You see an ad which interests you. What do you do?

  1. Call or message the owner. Be prepared to tell him / her your story: civil status, job status, etc … Answer the questions as long as they are appropriate and you are comfortable with them.
  2. Arrange to have an apartment visit.
  3. Go to the apartment visit. Bring a tape measure to the visit (for the appliances such as washing machine, tumble dryer, dishwasher, and etc …). Take photos if the owner agrees.
  4. If you are interested, ask the owners what are the paper requirements needed to apply. This depends on the person but this is usually asked: photocopies of your ID card, work contract or employer certification, tax form, 3 months payslip, 3 months prior rent receipt, to name a few. Again, it depends on the owner. Sometimes, they might even ask for a guarantor. In this case, you will need to provide the same papers from the guarantor.
  5. Send this to the owner and wait.
  6. After a week with no reply, I would call.
  7. If you are not interested by the apartment, don’t forget to inform the owner too.
  8. If the owners call you and tells you he has accepted your application, schedule the date for the « etat des lieux » and prepare the payments. Owners usually ask for a deposit (one month rent) plus advanced rent for 1 month.
  9. Don’t forget to call your insurance company to have the apartment insured starting from the first day agreed and indicated on the rent contract.
  10. Don’t forget to get the keys.

 

With a Real Estate Agency

Call the agency. Then two options: you visit directly the apartment you are interested in or you schedule an appointment in the office to look for different options. We did both.

 

Solvimo

We saw an ad on Le Bon Coin for an apartment, located not too far from our old one. We thought it was perfect. We called the agency and took an appointment to visit the apartment on a Saturday morning. The visit went super well. We left the visit with a good feeling. I sent as promised the documents asked. Unfortunately … as if life wanted to remind us that things don’t always come so easy .. I got a phone call from the real estate agent saying that the owner had decided to rent the apartment out to friends.

 

Cabinet Benedic

With Benedic, we scheduled an appointment and went to their office. Address: 11 Rue Sainte Marie, Metz. A lovely agent welcomed us in her office. Prior to the appointment, I received an email with several documents to bring. I had everything on a USB key. We discussed about what we were looking for: the number of rooms, balcony or not, open kitchen, shower or bath tub, and etc … More importantly, we talked about our budget. From what I understood from our meeting, Benedic works with an insurance company. Benedic collects all the data, analyzes everything for pre-approval, and then sends it for final approval to the insurance company. Because of this, it is required that your monthly pay must be 3x more than the rent. The agent selected 3 apartments for us. The second hour of the appointment was to visit these appartments. We were interested by one apartment and applied for it. Unfortunately, our application was denied. Not for financial reasons, but because we didn’t have any guarantor. Both of my parents have passed away and the Husband’s dad lives in the Philippines, and honestly I didn’t want to ask my half-sister. She would have most likely said yes, but I didn’t feel comfortable asking her for personal information like her payslip, tax form, and etc. So no guarantor, no apartment.

 

Cabinet Jacques Laveine Immobilier

Finally, we found success with Laveine. I saw an apartment online which looked good. Honestly, we were a little desperate at this point. We scheduled a visit after a long day of work. The agent was extremely lovely. We ended up visiting another one – the apartment right above the one we were there for. We told her we were interested and I sent all the papers required by email. The next week was frustrating. The real estate agency needed the approval of the owners, but they couldn’t get a hold of them. I was desperate, worried, and feeling hopeless. Two days before D-day, we got the green signal. YESSSS!!! Phewwww …

 

 

Required Documents

  1. Identity Card
  2. Work contract
  3. Certification of employment by the employer
  4. 3 latest pay slips
  5. 3 latest rent receipt
  6. Tax forms of the past 2 years

 

 

On Saturday, June 30, we moved in our new apartment. We weren’t the only ones doing so. On the road, we kept seeing other people moving in or out with their trucks. I didn’t rent any truck that day as one of my good friend lent me his. I realized that moving can be quite fun. Just make sure you have a good group of friends, lots of cold drinks, and food. We were 6. I can still remember our faces laughing and chatting while carrying the boxes. For lunch, I ordered 100 Euros worth of pizza and we had a well-deserved pizza party for lunch!

 

If you do need to rent a truck, here is one website I can recommend:

  1. Drivy 

Although I have already hired a car several times on this website, I have never hired a truck. But the system seems to be the same. Otherwise, you may go to the usual rent-a-truck places. A lot of the supermarkets also have this services available (Intermarché, Super U, Leclerc …)

 

Finally, the last tip I would give you when moving out concerns your mail. The French post office, La Poste, offers the service Pack Déménagement. You can find this service online – all you have to do is indicate your old address and new address. Pay 40,50 Euros for 6 months, 65 Euros for 12 months. La Poste takes care of making sure your mail follows you to your new address. This service also includes a checklist of administrative offices to contact, letter-types and enveloppes, and little helping tidbits. Reminder: if you do this online, don’t forget to go to the nearest post office in order to activate the service.

 

 

We’ve been living here for 2 weeks now. It’s been great, but we’ve also had bad surprises. Wait a little bit and you’ll read all about it soon. I’m still in the middle of them, so it’s a little bit hard to find words to describe what we’re going through. A little hint: icy water showers.

xoxo Elodie

 

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