Your prying inquisition may have spurred the thought “isn’t seeking the same as finding?”. Well technically… yes, but as it were “finding” can be translated into being the desired conclusion of “seeking”. Or, perhaps “The Founding” as a penultimate title to my series sounded unsettlingly bizarre for my taste- the world may never know. Unfortunately, my dear friends, the gags and ranting will be kept to a minimum: “finding” is indeed the most important stage of the entire accumulation process, this requires a said level of ma-tu-ri-ty.
The listing for this particular apartment was advertised on my good old pal Le Bon Coin where I was obliged to call the provided number for more enquiries. It is important to understand that during the week, the French spend their days at work to return home between six or seven in the evening; except Fridays when they prefer to lounge at nearby cafés post-work, chinking their wine glasses incessantly and toasting to having survived another long five days in a 35-hour employment contract. Saturdays, despite the exhaustive escapades of last night, French(wo)men are at their most animate, either fulfilling the most trivial of responsibilities or immersing into cultural activities, and Sundays they laze around eating home-cooked meals. So, this gives you a slight indication as to when they will be available/willing to answer your call… which is never (but in all seriousness, be strategic with the timing of your phone calls, especially during the weekday, otherwise you will be thoroughly disappointed and frustrated with the results).
The landlord needs to feel assured that you are a polished and reliable candidate perfect enough for their property, so preparation, politeness and professionalism is key:
- Even before you call any prospects, it would be a great start to have prepared questions that you need answered or clarified e.g. “how much is the security deposit”, “are there any charges that I need to know about?”, “is internet included in the rent”, “are utility bills include in the rent or are they separate?”, “what is included in the apartment?”, “are there any rules I need to abide by or conditions I need to meet?”
- Make sure your dossier is airtight beforehand, and be prepared to be asked about the content of you and your guarantor’s documents, know it inside out
- When on the phone, remember to be polite and friendly with a hint of professionalism but not too stoic, you do not want to come across as stand-offish or annoying
- Mention that you are an international student, it could work to your advantage!
- If you do not understand something, ask, make sure you are leaving the phone call satisfied
- If you manage to bag yourself a viewing, double check you have all the right information, search and visit the address beforehand if you can to avoid getting lost on the actual day
So, let us whizz past the unnecessary in-betweens and skip to viewing day. You will find that wearing a suit and tie to the viewing is rather “extra”. Frankly, I turned up in a construction-chic inspired outfit; dungarees, scuffed Doc Martens, a green hoodie, and I was fine. As long as you do not turn up dressed as Pennywise’s estranged cousin then I think you will be quite alright. Landlords are likely to feel confident in a candidate who exudes inquisitive and positive charms, so if you are interested in the apartment ask a lot of questions, and put on your best theatrics, you know, the one you once had at the zealous age of fourteen. Oooooh-ing and ahhhhh-ing with marvel at the place, whether it resembles Shrek’s bungalow or not, is the most obvious indication of intrigue. Although, do keep in mind that you are not a resident of Albert Square, you are but a humble international student looking for decent accommodation in Paris. Mr M, our landlord, was very sweet but he also had an air of being an accomplished, no-nonsense type of man, so I chatted leisurely with him whilst asking relevant questions and… well… the rest is history.
Firstly, I do want to apologise because I feel like this post is firstly, very long, and secondly, more of an instructive recount rather than a rant, but I wanted to be a lot more informative this time round, especially since the “finding” stage is essentially the difference between you having a place to live or not. Succinctly, staying polite, professional and organised doesn’t guarantee you that, however it is, in my opinion, the effective approach towards apartment accumulation. And honestly, being pleasant and polished never really hurt anyone.
by Chelsea Bondzanga