Tips for viewing an apartment in France

a typically parisian apartment with plants, white walls, wooden furniture and a tv mounted to the wall.

You finally obtained a viewing for a listing that you like but there is still a lot to do. The viewing is the perfect occasion for you to check that the listing fits with what you are looking for but also for the landlord or the agency to find out if you will be the perfect tenant.

This guide aims at giving you the keys to the viewing and how to succeed.

1. What a Landlord fears

Based on our experience with over 500 real estate visits with our clients, the 4 main fears of landlords are as follows:

  1. Late payment or unpaid rent
  2. Deterioration of the property
  3. Conflict with the tenant
  4. Departure after only a few months (if private owner)

It is therefore necessary to reassure the owner or the agent by insisting on the following points :

  • Your seriousness
  • Your financial solidity
  • Your care for the accommodation
  • Your behaviour
  • That you wish to live in the apartment on a long-term basis

Of course, each owner is different and will give more or less importance to each of these points. You can also ask the agent or the owner directly during the visit: "What are you looking for in a tenant?"

2. Stand out during the viewing

While there is no magic solution to ensure a successful visit, if you have a good track record and you demonstrate the above points, you will rise above the competition and become the obvious choice for the landlord. But how do you do this?

It is advisable to follow these few tips:

  • To reassure about your seriousness, present a written recommendation from a previous landlord. This can greatly reassure your future landlord. If you do not have such a document, there are two possibilities:

1. The property is managed by an agency: ask during the visit if it is possible to set up a direct debit for the rent.

2. The property is managed directly by the owner: say that you will set up an automatic transfer on the 1st of each month.

*Note: it is not possible to set up a SEPA direct debit with a direct landlord but mentioning this point during the visit will reassure on your seriousness and will show empathy towards the landlord.

  • Concerning your financial solidity, put forward a stable work contract with a sufficient income or a solid guarantor (minimum 3 times the amount of the rent). Avoid targeting housing where the rent is higher than one third of your net salary before taxes, as your file will be perceived as too fragile and your chances of obtaining it will be greatly reduced.

  • To demonstrate that you will occupy the apartment for the long term, show that you really like it and that it is not a default choice while waiting to find better accommodation. Prove that the apartment is perfectly suitable for you by saying, for example, that it is very well located in relation to your place of work, that it is well laid out, that it is bright, etc. If you are geographically mobile, also show that you are settling in the city for the long term and that you have strong ties there (a permanent work contract, family, friends, etc.)

  • To show that you will take good care of the apartment, pay attention to your clothes and be on time. The tenant's judgment is also based on the image they present and this is an easy way to score points. * Mention that you are a careful person who takes care of their things and that you are eager to move in quickly if you like the property.

  • Mention your long-term contract (CDI) and that you are learning French. This will reassure the agency or owner that you plan to stay here for a long time.

  • Finally, don't hesitate to make friends with the owner or agent and ask questions. Try to find common ground by taking an interest in them. Smile during the visit and don't quibble about details you might see in the apartment. This could suggest that you will be a difficult tenant to deal with on a daily basis, which could hurt your application.

If there is a defect, it will be mentioned in the inventory when you move in and you can always ask the agency or the landlord to fix it later.

3. Tips for after the viewing

Since competition is tough in the real estate market, don't hesitate to send a cover letter by email after the visit.

At Settlesweet, we recommend this to clients who have fallen in love with an apartment. It's an opportunity to detail something you really liked and to remind the owner of the elements that could make them sway in your favour (length of time you plan to stay in the apartment, a stable and well-paid work contract, etc...)

It is also always a good idea to follow up the visit with a phone call to reiterate your motivation and the strong points of your application.

Good luck with your viewings! 😄

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