Structural Systems in France

Whether a real estate buyer chooses an apartment in the “arrondissenments” immediately around the center of Paris, in the suburbs or even a village cottage house in the countryside, the structural systems and amenities offered are fairly much similar

Energy source

The national grids carrying nuclear powered electricity radiate outwards from the power plants providing cheap electricity to the neighborhoods and suburbs of Paris and the countryside. The energy source provides electricity even to remote areas and supply power to utilities and appliances in homes, apartments and houses.

House related amenities, appliances and entertainment

The French are very fond of outdoor life and entertainment and they always make special efforts in including outdoor entertainment as a form of added pleasure and enjoyment to guests. The listed accommodation aspects are included as part and parcel of a cottage accommodation in France.

Excellent plumbing is provided in the majority of homes in the city area and suburbs as well as countryside. Dozens of professional and efficient plumbing services are provided to service all home and accommodation needs.

Running tap water is plentiful in France and most of the population is connected to the national water supply. Apartments buildings and houses up for sale are all connected to the main water supply.

To provide cooling relief for the summer heats especially in the inland areas and along the Mediterranean, accommodation in France offer central air-conditioning. The appliance is provided especially for real estate buyers in the south of France.

For the buyer or a renting couple or family, entertainment is provided by a flat screen television set along with DVD player with dozens of movies especially provided for guests. For variety, a stereo system is also made available to buyer and renting guest alike.

Good toilet facilities in homes, rental apartments, buildings and houses are essential and France provides more than adequately in this department. Almost every home is connected to the sewerage disposal system but for those that aren’t, separate home units or septic tanks serve a similar purpose.

Providers of paid accommodation in France recognize the indispensable need for work and communication. Even in a cottage, a laptop is provided for guests who didn’t bring their own. On the downside, many rental properties do not have phones but those that do permit free local calls to local numbers and many overseas countries.

Bedding and toiletries are also provided even in cottage accommodation and at all locations and in all situations, linens, towels, robes and related toiletries are so luxurious in quality they resembles the “spa feeling.

Being fanatics about food quality and taste, the kitchen of paid accommodation literally bristles with cooking implements and utensils. It is fully equipped with all standard appliances but with extra kitchenware not found elsewhere in house rentals. Seasonings, cooking oils and vinegars are part of the well-stocked kitchen. Everything needed for cooking a meal is found in the kitchen.

For relaxation indoors there are reading books galore, but bicycles are racked nearby in case the guest prefers rather to enjoy the countryside’s fresh air and view.

For a hot bath, excellent water heating facilities are provided and for the cold of winter, the cooling system switches to heating mode to provide heat for the whole house for warding off the cold air of winter.

In spring or summer, an outdoor picnic in the garden ground or open space provides an excellent relaxing time and even in a cottage accommodation, an outdoor barbecue is provided for the paying guests.

Guided tours provide another form of relaxation and a chance to inhale the clean countryside air and view the enchanting scenery of the French countryside.

The day can be rounded off with a cup of tea with biscuits, chocolates and assorted sweets in the afternoon. These are readily provided even in a rented cottage.

For those who really want to enjoy the countryside, a short trip to a selected site with a basket of food and wine can easily be arranged by guests themselves or with the assistance of a provided guide.

For paying quests who wish to venture out further, there are beach umbrellas and lay back chairs that can be taken to the beach or any other preferred relaxing site.

If the guests so choose, they can take part in cooking lessons on how to cook local cuisine or join a cruise on the rivers or the Mediterranean.

With all these outings, everything inevitably gets tainted with dirt and even a cottage rental offers the best in washing facilities – a washer and dryer.

Identifying Real Estate in France

In France, the overriding question for real estate enthusiasts is whether to buy a home in the famous city of Paris itself, in the adjoining suburban areas around it or away from it into the countryside. Whichever decision is made, a home buyer must have knowledge of the three areas of France, what types of accommodation are available within each of them and the prices involved.

Different ways to locate and identify real estate

There are many different ways in which a buyer can identify the type of preferred real estate in France. These can be itemized in connection with the three main areas of real estate – the city area, the suburbs and the countryside.

Identifying methods

In the more central parts of Paris the most common ways of identifying real estate may be found from:

The numerous website portals that offer easy access to all types of real estate that are available at any one time in the country. Most are all current and upgraded daily.

Newspapers also offer lists of real estate though they are less popular than the broadcast media.

Property magazines are consulted by some real estate buyers especially for more details that are not found on the internet.

Consulting a real estate agent or realtor also locally known as “un enchères” who may arrange a meeting between the owner of real estate and the buyer.

Finding a property locator who has direct contact with the owner of the real estate to facilitate a purchase.

City divisions

The city of Paris has 20 neighbourhoods known locally as “arrondissenments” each with its different number, features and appeal found in its surroundings, inhabitants and buildings. The neighbourhoods are numbered so the lowest number is in the center and the rest fan out in a clockwise direction outwards away from the center

The 1st and center neighborhood is the most elegant part of Paris studded with older Haussmann-type buildings that do not offer serious accommodation but exudes the Rococo, Renaissance and European images.

2nd is the small but diverse place of the Paris Stock Exchange where apartments appear costing around €14,750 per square meter. There are cheaper apartments in the vicinity of around €11,000 per square meter.

3rd and 4th are home for the gay and Jewish communities where small apartments cost around €14,000 and ‘character’ apartments between the Hotel de Ville to St. Paul priced at about €10,800 per square meter decreasing further to €8,500 per square meter at the back of the Pompidou Center.

5th is the fashionable and expensive Sorbonne/Pantheon area with apartments going for €11,200 pre square meter dropping to cheaper rates round the Gerad’Austerilitz area.

The 6th neighborhood of narrow medieval streets, dotted with restaurants, bookshops, fashion houses and academic institutions. Apartments here cost between €10,500 and €13,500 per square metre.

The 7th is an exclusive aristocratic area overlooking the Eiffel Tower where accommodation prices starts at a high €15,000.

8th is an area close to the race tracks where apartment prices are predictably low at €6,500 per square meter.

The 9th neighborhood is a combination of business and residential houses and 18th century apartments called “immeuble de rappor:” costing around €5,000 per square meter.

10th is the area around the Gare du Nord and “Gare de l’Est,:” where crime is prevalent resulting in a low apartment price of €7,000 per square meter.

The 11th is a mixed neighbourhood of young singles, young couples, gay, trendy, middle-class and poorer immigrants. Apartments accommodation cost between €9,000 and €10,000 per square meter.

The modernized 12th neighborhood is full of young families. It has many open spaces with the huge Bois de Vincennes. Apartments to the north are more expensive at €8,000 per square meter than prices of €7,000 in the south.

The 13th is home to modern but unattractive high rise flats and Chinatown with 19th century apartments going for between €9,800 and €11,000.

The 14th neighborhood is a popular choice of UK and US expatriates located around the scenic Montsouris park with tree-lined houses instead of apartments. Where apartments are found, prices are around €10,000 per square meter, but some go for cheaper at €5,000 and €7,000 per square meter.

While the 15th neighborhood is densely populated and devoid of nightlife and culture, it is occupied by the most prestigious schools in Paris. Property price for the area is more than €9,000.

The 16th is a very affluent, conservative residential area of wealthy families with their museums and huge park. Average price for floor space is €10,175.

Average floor space price in the 17th is the area, north west of the city is €8,000 per square meter. It is a modernized working class area.

The 18th offers a breathtaking view of Paris with prices equal to the view starting at €11,500 per square meter. It reduces in La Coutte d’Or and La Chapell to €7,000 per square meter.

A run down area of the Paris neighborhood is the 19th area with accommodation prices at €5,000 per square meter.

The 20th neighborhood is rather empty but increasingly mixed cheap property where accommodation prices stand at a low €3,000 per square meter.

The outer suburbs

The outer suburbs of France comprise the Essone, Houts-de Seine, Yvelines, Val-d’Oise, Seine-St. Denis and Val-de-Mame. The closest of these to Paris are Houts-de-Seine, Yvelines and Val-de-Mame which are very enticing with green and pleasant scenery and close enough to the city. Apartment buildings cost around €350,000.

The countryside

For locations further away from Paris and in the countryside, transportation becomes a critical prerequisite and the metro link straight into the city becomes a requirement of paramount importance. The train link must be preferred to a grueling car trip into the city. A 4-bedroom apartment can cost around €400,000.

One of the most attractive locations in the west are Varsailles and Saint-Germain-en-Laye surrounded by forest. They are well served by train but accommodation is not cheap with a 4-bedroom apartment also available at €400,000.

Further south west of Paris is the Vallée de Chevreuse with modern housing estate, country villages and old stone houses only 45 minutes away from Paris. A renovated 4-bedroom house also goes for a price of €400,000.

Real Estate Buying and Selling Costs in France

The process of buying and selling real estate in France is usually carried out between a buyer and seller with the assistance of persons familiar with the process. These people usually include a real estate agent, a notaire and a legal advisor.

Licensing protocols for real estate agents

Every property agent in France or agents immobiliers is legally bound to possess a license, issued by the prefecture of residence. The license entitles the agent to process the sale of a building. Persons engaged as property search agents or marchand de listes and property managers are also required to be registered and become members of a recognized estate agency.

Buying and selling costs

Costs can be reduced if a buyer deducts the fees payable to say an estate agent and a notaire from the sale price of the property and pays the two agents directly. If for example, they both charge 10% for their services on a $100,000 deal, the agent will get paid $10,000 while the notaire will be paid 10% of $90,000 thereby saving $1,000.

Selling costs

Aside from this the main selling costs comprise:

Notaire’s fees – these are always the responsibility of the purchaser to pay and they include registration fees, stamp duties and government taxes. Total fees here are approximately 6.7%.

Sales commission – this is charged by the agent and is normally included in the sale price and paid by the seller. It should be noted that separate fees for property viewing, negotiations, contract explanations should not be charged, signing and assistance with utilities information should not be charged as they are all included in the commission fee. Also any suggestions of a “package fee” should attract questions as to why.

Tip purchases – can be used to reduce costs by taking them out of the sale price and paying it directly to the notaire.

Mortgage fees – if a mortgage is applied for it should be included into the repayments to spread out the burden of the cost.

Expertise fee – the combined number of diagnostic searches done on the house prior to the signing of the purchase contract.

Capital gains tax – If payment is required, the notaire will calculate and deal with the issue.

Bill payments – these consist of a final payment for electricity, telephone and water bills prior to the handing over of the building to the new owner. Final electricity, telephone and water.

A company may be required to provide removal services for furniture and household accessories and fixtures, which the seller needs to meet.

In some cases the seller will need storage space for his/her belongings before another house is located.

Buying costs

The main buying cost to the buyer include:

Notaire’s fees – these will normally include disbursements, taxes and various duties. The notaire is similar to a government tax collector who collects money for the government from real estate deals. The notaire’s fees range from 8% to 14% of the purchase price but much lower (as low as 3% for a brand new property.

Real estate searches – this charge will normally be paid to a property search agent or marchand de listes for services rendered in searching real estate that are available for sale, on behalf of the buyer.

Sales tax – this tax may be payable for real estate of less than 5 years old which has not been subject to a previous sale.

Commission fees – these fees are charged by the real estate agent for the purchase of real estate and are normally factored into the selling price. The fees range between 5% and 10% of the purchase price. In France, real estate agents are permitted to set their own commission charges and they may be paid by the seller or purchaser, but in most cases, the purchaser pays the fees.