So, I know a few of you specifically are interested to know more about apt hunting en France. As someone who is currently going through this, I deem myself capable of informing the masses(and by masses I mean the 2 or 3 of you reading this.) So, here she goes:
I was looking for a T1 bis or a T2. T1 bis can have an alcove so that you could put a curtain or divider up and separate your chambre. T2 has a chambre separee. Lesson 1 of apt hunting: The proprio can call an apt a T1 bis a partir du moment ou la cuisine est separee, so be careful, T1 bis doesn't always mean it has a renforcement for your lit! I technically started my search three months before I wanted to move. I signed up with Seloger, Logic Immo, My local newspaper, Leboncoin, Vivastreet and Pap to get email notifications of available apts and then checked the sites occasionally on my own as well. However, there was little to nothing available at that time, so I didn't actually head to the agencies until 2 months before I wanted to move. I went to 3 agencies at that point and it was pretty evident that there was very little available because 2 months ahead of time was "too early." I think it's definitely worth it, though, to go to several places and see if there even is anything available. I found that online, it sometimes says the date that apparts are dispos, but not all that often, so it's always good to go into the actual agencies. Lesson 2: If you see something online that interests you, go to the agency in person and ask about it. I did that for one place I thought looked great and it wasn't available, but I ended up having 4 visits with that agency qd-mm, so you never know.
Due to Xmas vacation, I didn't get to head out to more agencies until early January. At that point aka 2 weeks ago, I went to 2 agencies that had nothing and then the third had something that was maybe interesting, so I arranged a visit for that same week on Wednesday. Then, I went to an agency that a friend had used and I scheduled 2 more appts for that Wednesday. I also arranged for 3 visits with another agency(where I liked the apt, but it wasn't available anymore) for that following Thursday and I brought along a friend. Lesson 3: Always try to have at least a second opinion! Well, that ended up only being 2 visits because the 3rd apt's proprio decided to sell. So, that first week, I had 5 visits total and only 1 apt that interested me out of all of them. The next week, I arranged for 2 visits on the Tuesday and again had that same friend come(that was the apt in the quartier des putes!) On Wednesday, I had previously arranged for a revisit(you can do that!) of the apt I liked from the prior week, but I got a call on Tuesday night saying the agency had to cancel the revisit because the apt had been rented that day. Lesson 4: If you like something, do NOT hesitate. This apt did have a few questionable factors such as only containing a kitchen sink, but I later learned not to be surprised by a cuisine non-equipee. Tant pis, someone else got a reasonably-priced apt in the quartier I wanted, I knew it just meant something better would come along.
Though disappointed by the loss of the apt I liked so much, I continued on and scheduled 3 more appts for the following Thurs and 3 for the following Fri, these both ended up being only 2 visits each because those 2 apts had current locataires in them, so the agency didn't have the keys and had to get their approval, but of course, they didn't call the agency back. Oh well. So, the apts on Thursday, I had that same friend come again(this means she did 6 visits out of a total of 11 and I'm really glad for it.) The apts on Thursday were nice enough and located in the centre historique, but one was cher and the other was on the 5th(!!) floor with no elevator. Which brings me to Lesson 5: Know what your criteres de recherche are. If you know(like me) you're lazy, don't even waste time seeing something that's up 5 flights with no elevator. I should have listened to myself and not bothered, I can't imagine moving in and carrying furniture and boxes up 5 flights or even carrying my heavy weekly groceries or my heavy school bag. Although, Lesson 6: Don't rule an apt out just for one small thing. Know your deal breakers of course, but see things even if the photos look ugly for example(case in point: the first apt I liked looked very moche sur les photos, but ended up a lot better in person.)
Which brings me to Fridays visits. I saw one apt in the quartier I wanted, but there wasn't a separate bedroom or a way to separate the living room to make a bedroom and this was one of my deal breakers. I gave it a chance even though I saw it said T1 and usually that just means the piece de vie is one big room, but it just didn't do it for me. Then, the other apt I saw, I was wary of the quartier, but though it's not located exactly where I'd want, it at least had more of a neighborhood than the one in the quartier des putes aka Ho Hood. It met all my criteres plus more and was really nice. And, my big news, I've dropped off a dossier for this apt and as soon as I can get 3 quittances de loyer from my proprio this week as well as a garant all I'll need to do is wait. I even got the proprio to baisse the prix by 2o euros. Lesson 7: Don't rule out an apt that's at the maximum of your price range or slightly over it. As you can tell from my experience, negociating can be had. If you find it expensive, let peepz know! Lesson 8: If you notice an apt you like that could do with a paint job or new tapisserie, ask the agency if it's already set to happen and if not, if they could ask the proprio to do so. It maybe won't happen, but it's always worth a try.
For my dossier, I needed:*
1 copy of my CDS
3 last quittances de loyer
3 last bulletins de salaire
2 last avis d'imposition**
1 garant and all their papiers
1 attestation d'assurance multirisques habitation (in order to get the cles)
*They also asked for a livret de famille, but I explained how I was 'mercan and they didn't have a problem. Btw, they could also ask for your contrat de travail, this agency just happened not to.
**I'm sure if you only have 0 or 1 of these, you could also explain the situation and they would be understanding.
So, now it's a waiting game, on verra if my dossier will be accepted, but the apt is pretty sweet, so I hope so. I'll fill you in on it more once I know if it's a yay or nay!