Prior to beginning your search:
Consider the long term, taking into account your personal circumstances, the financing needed, how much personal usage to reserve and how much rental time to allow (if any), and whether you intend to pass the property on to your offspring.
Before you see your first house, consider your financing choices. It is feasible to obtain a mortgage with a loan-to-value of 75% to 80%, which is a useful approach to offset any Wealth Tax (ISF) that may be owed.
Determine the highest and lower limits for the amount of property you want, the price, and the must-have features. The more information you provide your estate agent, the more targeted your search will be.
Long-term rental yields vary by location, but you may expect a 5% to 6% return. Paris City Hall restricts short-term (vacation) rentals. If you intend to rent the property, choose a reliable management business situated in Paris and governed by French law that can handle the specific areas you may require, such as rent collection or on-call tenant support.
During your search, keep the following in mind:
Explore the parts of Paris that interest you. Pay a visit to the Mairie (the local town hall for each of Paris’ 20 arrondissements). Spend some time looking about if you can, both during the week and on weekends. Check out the best restaurants and local markets (and whether they are open throughout the week or on weekends, depending on when you can visit).
Keep your eyes peeled for a glimpse of a garden, monument, or, even better, a landmark. It will improve the property’s rental and resale value.
Always go for light; Paris is notoriously grey. Narrow streets, particularly in neighbourhoods such as the Latin Quarter and the Marais, might be darker than you expect. Visit the flat throughout the day!
Don’t get too hung up on square metres. Choose a suitable floor plan. A well-planned 80m2 flat may be more practical than a 100m2 one with a needless long corridor. Why pay for space that you won’t use?
Forget about parking unless you want to live in a modern high-rise (which you don’t because they’re poorly built and have less attraction to the top end of the rental or re-sale market).
Check out the background (more on that later). Return to the home in the evening and quietly approach a neighbour on the way in or out of the building – most will be happy to offer you the inside scoop! Check the Annual Tax Fonciere rate and quarterly building costs. Make certain to investigate the building’s co-ownership: are there any anticipated works or expenditures?
Fall in love with Paris, not the fantastic deal. Caveat emptor if anything sounds too good to be true.
Prepare yourself – most properties will require renovation – acquire a contractor suggestion and employ a project manager, even if you can come back and check on progress.