In this blog about house search you will learn:

  • Why is it hard to rent an apartment or house in Paris and Paris region? 
  • How do expats manage to rent an apartment in Paris? 
  • Why is hiring a professional Relocation Agency the most effective way to find an apartment in Paris? 
  • How to obtain this service completely free thanks to a MobiliPass grant. 

Why is it so hard to rent an apartment in Paris? Even more so, if you are an expat.  

Perhaps you’ve already heard or perhaps not, but renting a place in Paris can be difficult. Have you ever wondered why on earth it’s so hard?

You have the money, you have the visa, you even have a well-paying job with a French contract. It should be straightforward. So why do you never hear back from the agencies?

You’re not doing anything wrong. It’s just that hard and here are a few reasons why:

1. Paris is a sellers market and there are always multiple candidates for the place you really want.

2. The perfect candidate is: a French person (or couple) with a French work contract (CDI), not on a trial period, and earning at least 3x the monthly rent amount. Let’s face it, you may be perfect elsewhere but you’re not Paris apartment perfect.

3. You are not here. Parisian’s don’t really do long-distance very well. A remote house search is really complicated process.

4. It’s overly complicated: You can’t get through to the agency and they do not call you back. No-one speaks English. Maybe you get through and get an English speaker but they hang up after you say “moving to France.” Can’t get a visit, and even when you are so close to the finish line…you get “Usain Bolted” by the perfect candidate from above and you need to start over again.

5. Scams are literally custom-made for English speaking expats with a bonus point for those looking from outside France. While remote house search that happened quite often.

How do expats manage to rent an apartment in Paris?  

It may be hard but of course not impossible. Based on our experience, there are a few ways that you can get your dream place in Paris. Let’s talk about the pros and cons of the 4 most common approaches when it comes to renting an apartment in Paris:

1. DIY method it’s the cheapest one.

Howewer, you’ll have to learn how to do things the French way, which is time consuming, and requires a lot of patience. 

2. Ask a friend for help. A French-speaking friend can help you overcome the language barrier, and they might even have their own experience with finding an apartment in Paris. 

Still if your friend is not a real estate agent or house hunter, they won’t have access to the “back end” of the market. Not to mention that house search is a substantial amount of work, so you will owe them BIG time.  

3. Work with a real estate agent. You’ll have peace of mind, knowing that any apartments you consider have been vetted carefully. 

Unfortunatley, they can only offer you apartments that are available through their agency. You might get lucky and match one of the listings they currently have and be the best candidate for it. You might not.   

4. Hire a professional relocation agency. You’ll receive personalised service and have access to apartments before they even hit the market. They work with most agencies in town and can get you the most listings. This allows you tohave more time dreaming about your new life in Paris! Sounds interesting? 

You are probably wondering now which option will be the best for you? 

Correct answer: It depends. 

Do you have enough time to handle the entire process yourself? You have enough experience (especially in the French market – known for its bureaucracy). How will you protect yourself against fraudsters? 

You should ask yourself the same questions when it comes to a French-speaking friend. It is true that they may know more about French bureaucracy than you do, but will they be excited with the news that they will have to spend hours looking for a flat?

So what about working with a real state agent? Although this option will save you time and is safe, it also has some limitations. You need to know that real state agents work for their company and the landlord, not for you. They don’t have a flat that suits you? You need to wait until something is available in the agency. Additionally many real estate agents don’t speak English very well, and they don’t like working with expats because they believe their dossiers aren’t worth the extra time and effort. 

Why is hiring a professional Relocation Agency the most effective way to find an apartment in Paris?

Maybe first, let’s explain what working with a Relocation Agency looks like.

1. You present your expectations for your dream apartment in Paris

2. You send the documents needed to complete the file (“dossier”) that will go to the owner of the apartment. 

3. You get a few apartments to choose from. You choose the ones you like, and then, based on a reliable report prepared by the relocation agency, you choose the one that interests you the most.

4. When you arrive in Paris, your new apartment is waiting for you with open doors.

Sounds easy and fast, right? This is only because the entire process is from your perspective. For the agencythere are House Hunters, searching/screening listings, calling real estate agencies and running around Paris to visit your next dream apartment 🙂 And that is only the beginning: then they are submitting your dossier, advocating for you, making sure your dossier is always on top of the pile, all that using their existing relationships and connections. 

A relocation agency acts as a liaison between the real estate agent and the client, making it a win-win situation for everyone involved. Additionally, relocation agencies have developed a personal network of agents and agencies, since they’ve done business with many of them before. 

They also know exactly what an agency is looking for when it comes to your dossier, and they’ve acquired invaluable knowledge on how to make your dossier stand out.  Our house hunters are equipped with years of experience to help you find and sign the lease for your dream Parisian apartment. 

Still not sure if a relocation agency is right for you? Check out our article here where we explore all your options for managing your relocation so you find the best solution for you.

How much does a House Search services cost?

It depends on many factors such as: the client: are you an individual client or are you a part of a big relocation program? The property: are you looking for a studio (big offer on the market- thus easier to find), or 10 bedroom villa with a pool (rare product with complicated rental agreement). Other important factors: your dossier, level of services you are expecting etc. Usually in Paris those prices vary from 2200Eur to one month rent- applicable usually to prestigious residencies. 

If you are moving to Paris for work, you might be eligible for a MobiliPass government grant, that will reimburse up to 2200Eur. It applies specifically to the House Search services and can be applied for pre- approved and qualified agencies (like yours truly). 


How is preparing a dossier different with a relocation agency vs a real estate agent?

With a relocation agency, your dossier will be prepared for you. We will need to ask you for some documents, but this is where your responsibilities will end. We will take care of getting your garant and doing everything possible to improve your dossier. With an agent, they will likely give you a list of requirements and you will be left to assemble them. If you get certain documents wrong or struggle with getting a garant you will likely be left on your own to figure these things out and correct them.

Are there specific areas or neighborhoods that are more expat friendly?

There are several expat communities through out Paris, so no matter where you go you’ll likely be able to find people from your home country. I would recommend you check out our other articles where we talk about our favorite Parisian suburbs here and here. For more information on suburbs that are best for families, read this article. And for suburbs that are great for expats read this article.

What are some common scams when trying to rent an apartment in Paris? How can I avoid these?

Scams come in all forms, but here are the three most common ones to look out for when trying to rent an apartment:

  1. The perfect offer: The apartment is in a great area, with great pictures, and its listed way below market value. Apartments in Paris will never be cheap, so if something seems too good to be true, it probably is. To avoid this do some research on what common prices are for apartments in this area, be sure to look at the average price per square meter as a reference.
  2. The absent owner: If the owner says they are away at the moment and are unable to show you the apartment in person, this is likely a scam.
  3. The visit deposit: In this scam the apartment ‘owner’ will ask you for a security deposit to make the visit worth their while. They may say that they live far away and want proof that you’ll show up, they may even offer to give you the money back after the visit. It’s important to know that it is illegal to ask for any kind of deposit before signing the lease.

For more info on other common scams in France, check out our article here.

Do you need someone to guide you through the entire process of finding a flat? We accompany our clients from listening to what apartment they are interested in, to the handover of the keys. 

Are you ready to start your Parisian adventure? We will professionally help make your dreams come true and finding an apartment is one of the first steps. 

Schedule a free 30 min. call with one of our relocation experts and find out how we can help you:

Check our other blogs about renting a place in Paris: