For those looking to purchase property, you may consider working with a buyer’s agent in Paris. But what is the process like?

Of course, with the current coronavirus pandemic, the capital is at a halt for the moment. However, many are still planning real estate projects for when the markets return to normal.

We speak to Diane Sakakini-Rao, one of our clients and owner of In the Know Paris, a Paris holiday service. She had great success buying a property using the search services of 56Paris.

We look forward to resuming our full range of services for buyers soon.

Buying in Paris, the first steps

56Paris: What was your primary reason for buying real estate in Paris?

Client: It had been our goal to own a property here for years. I spend about three months per year in Paris, and my husband and I plan to retire in the capital over the next few years. At the moment, I spend as much time in Paris as I can.

56Paris: Even though you speak French and have a good knowledge of the culture, you entrusted your search to a search agent. Why is that?

Client: For over five years I looked –­ seriously looked ­– for a property on my own. Every time I was in Paris, I tried to see apartments. And when back home in Boston, I kept my finger on the pulse of the real estate market through research and phone calls. But it all became too complicated to do from abroad. I missed out on too many properties, and I couldn’t trust the photos of the listings I was seeing online. It was almost impossible to work with agencies from abroad or to set up appointments. After meeting with Kerstin and Anne from 56Paris, and then with Alexander, I decided it was the most logical move to work with them – I liked their honesty. It just felt right.

56Paris: How did the search process change once you began working with 56Paris?

Client: I was able to be in touch with one person rather than numerous agencies. 56Paris presented me with a short list of the best apartments available and organized all the visits. Afterwards, they gave objective input on the pros and cons of each property. And once we found the right one, they reviewed the relevant documents, negotiated the price on my behalf, and saw us through to closing.

The process of working with a buyer’s agent in Paris

56Paris: How many apartments did you visit with 56Paris before deciding on the one you bought?

Client: We spent a week looking for apartments with Alexander. I guess he showed us maybe 18 different properties.

56Paris: Is the apartment you ended up buying different from what you planned?

Client: It’s funny – we both thought we would choose a Haussmann building, in a much larger apartment, with loads of sunshine. We ended up buying an apartment Alexander found for us with virtually none of those characteristics. In an early 18th-century building on the first floor, but with high beamed ceilings, it offers huge sash windows and a balcony. We fell in love with the neighborhood and the super central location of the 2nd arrondissement (district). We can walk anywhere from our apartment. And it did not need a stitch of work! It came completely furnished, we only had to show up with our suitcases. We are now making small changes to make it feel more like our own.

56Paris: Did you carefully weigh and reflect on your choice or was it love at first sight?

Client: I would say it was more of a love at first sight purchase.

Buying differences between Paris and the US

56Paris: Did you find the buying process different from elsewhere in the world? 

Client: Yes, the process is very different from buying in the US, where we made all our other real estate purchases. First, there is typically no buyer representation in Paris, one of the reasons we wanted to use 56Paris. They helped us understand the rules and regulations that are different in France compared to the US. The entire process was different, but we felt supported and able to rely on 56Paris throughout.

56Paris: Did you apply for a mortgage here in France?

Client: We did apply for a mortgage, with a bank in Paris with whom we had already established a rapport. We found the whole process incredibly easy.

Enjoying the Parisian life

56Paris: Have you made any fabulous finds in your new neighborhood?

Client: Our area of the 2nd arrondissement is truly like a little village. I’ve come to know many of the neighbors and storekeepers, who have been welcoming and kind. It’s been such a pleasure. We can walk to the Seine, to the Grands Boulevards, or parts of the 9th and 10th or the 3rd arrondissements in about ten minutes. Plus, we have the Pinault art collection opening right down the street. As well as the massive renovation project of the central post office close by.

56Paris: If you could offer one piece of advice to a first-time buyer in Paris, what would it be?

Client: Be patient and open to ideas from your search agent. If you first told us to view a 37m2 apartment, north facing, in an 18th-century building, we would never have looked at it. But that is exactly the apartment we ended up buying! The right apartment is out there, you just have to find it.

56Paris is here to help

Are you looking for a buyer’s agent in Paris? We are here to help.

The team at 56Paris is working remotely and able to assist with your plans.

There is no need to wait. Please do get in touch and we can help with all the necessary preparations, ready to hit the ground running when the real estate market opens back up again.