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Paris apt. rental - agency or 'by owner'?

Paris apt. rental - agency or 'by owner'?

Old Nov 5th, 2006, 06:32 AM
  #1  
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Paris apt. rental - agency or 'by owner'?

We are going to Paris for 1 week in March. I've found some great apartments at a pretty good rate (under 800 euros/week) through VRBO (vacation rentals by owner). Just wondering if people think its 'safer' to use an agency. Most of the agencies I've found on line seem to have more expensive apartments. Is there an agency someone would recommend?
sberk is offline  
Old Nov 5th, 2006, 06:52 AM
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I honestly think it's a toss up. There are probably more rants here about bad experiences with agencies, than I've seen about bad experiences with owners.
I've done both and have been very lucky each time. To be honest I think that many of those who rent them out themselves do so to save the money of paying an agency, but they end up asking as much as if it were being handled by an agency. So with few exceptions, I'm not so sure you save anything because you are renting direct. On the other hand I rented an apartment through an agency last year (Paris Attitude). This year we are renting the same one, but going through the owners direct and will pay less. But these owners don't advertise or rent on their own -- except to repeat customers.
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Old Nov 5th, 2006, 07:54 AM
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This past summer our family of four traveled to Paris, England and Lisbon.
We rented apts in all three countries and had good experiences in all of them.

In Paris, I had found an apt that was through the NY Habitat agency. When I contacted them "just" for information, I was bombarded with emails to book,book, book! They never answered any of my questions and seemed only interested in my getting booking. Because I felt so pressured, I ditched them and researched an apt on my own. Lucky for me, each apt was perfect. I did all of my research and communication through the internet and just went with my gut. I also think I ended up saving money this way. It's not to say that everyone's experience will be positive, which is why, in the end, you should go with what you feel is most comfortable for you.
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Old Nov 5th, 2006, 02:12 PM
  #4  
blh
 
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Patrick - we tried to rent the same apartment through Paris Attitude for next May. The communication was sort of strange - they said the apartment was available - I said I wanted to book it - then they said the owners were out of town - then didn't respond for a couple of weeks. When I finally got a response, PA said the apartment was unavailable on those dates. Any chance you could put me in touch with the apartment owners directly? Thanks!
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Old Nov 5th, 2006, 02:20 PM
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I was turned down for my first choice on a Parisien apartment, due to the owner being in negotiations. This was a good thing because I think we were much happier with our 10 day stay in the 16th, also a VRBO rental. The first fit in your initial VRBO rate was in the 15th. We ended up in the 16th and happy as well.

All of our communications were straight forward. Yes, it's available, or NO it isn't.
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Old Nov 5th, 2006, 03:08 PM
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blh, the idea of the owners being out of town is likely. First of all they live in Cannes, not in Paris. But they also spend half of the year in the Carribean where they have another property.
I'll be emailing them tomorrow -- and am a little hesitant to go ahead and give you their email address. I'll tell them the situation and see if it's ok with them to give you their email address. What are your dates? I could ask them those specifically.

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Old Nov 5th, 2006, 07:11 PM
  #7  
blh
 
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Thanks, Patrick. I understand your not wanting to give their address without their permission. Our dates are May 5th - 12th. After I asked, I even thought you might have those dates booked as you mentioned you are going again. They may be using the apartment themselves - or it may be booked by someone else. I just love the location and the look of the apartment - and also your recommendation - all together made it our first choice. But I know there are other apartments if this one doesn't work out. Thanks for your help - we appreciate it very much!
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Old Nov 5th, 2006, 07:22 PM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
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There are good Europe tour operators, based in the United States, with a long record of service, knowledge and peace of mind that can help you find apartments in Paris. It is hard to know, with certainty, about the actual quality of the apartments unless you have a knowledgeable expert with online sources. Any travel consultant who specializes in Europe and/or custom travel can assist you with apartments in most price ranges.

Best Regards,
Julia
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Old Nov 5th, 2006, 07:35 PM
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We adored this place, and the owners are Americans from the mid-West and just as helpful and wonderful as can be: www.lacigaleparis.com
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Old Nov 6th, 2006, 05:27 AM
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blh, I did email the owners of the St. Severin apt. last night confirming our dates -- they had "pencilled them in" for us, but we finally confirmed 10 nights in mid to late July. I did tell them about your post and asked if they were still with Paris Attitude. She replied that yes they are still with them for "first time rentals" but that the apartment is fully booked for the month of May "one of our most popular months".
By the way (this year we are paying 83 euro per night for the 10 nights) so maybe I can splurge a bit elsewhere. I'm so happy.
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Old Nov 6th, 2006, 06:35 AM
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Le Cigale looks fabulous!
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Old Nov 6th, 2006, 02:17 PM
  #12  
blh
 
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Patrick, thanks so much for checking on the rental for me. Congratulations on a super price - hope you all have a great trip! Maybe we can get this apartment on our next trip - I still think it looks like the best deal in Paris!
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Old Nov 6th, 2006, 02:27 PM
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One slight advantage of using an agency is that many of them take credit cards. That's how we paid the deposit last year. However, since we're dealing directly with the owners I need to send them 300 euro and I'm working on not eating up my savings to do it. They aren't set up with PayPal (and don't seem to want to). They are happy to take TCs in Euro,-- as they checked with their bank and there is NO charge to deposit them at full face value, despite what someone said here recently, but AA has raised their cost to buy them. I checked a Western Union Money Order and it costs just over 20% above current exchange rates to do that.
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Old Nov 6th, 2006, 08:05 PM
  #14  
blh
 
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Patrick - have you checked Bank of America's website for TC's in Euros? I know I got them there once. Don't know how the price compares to Western Union.
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Old Nov 6th, 2006, 08:09 PM
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I did check that last summer -- close to 20% above actual cost. So the charge for 300 euro in TC's would be about $75 ($460 instead of the current value of $385). I will check again, as those things can change rapidly.
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Old Nov 6th, 2006, 08:27 PM
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we just went through this - hope my experience is of some help. Warning - LONG!

I too debated owner vs agency - and I looked at or contacted over 20 agencies -
vacation-in-paris
logis.com
paris attitude
parisperfect
homelidays.com
specialapartments.com
and several others -

some places that looked like agencies - logis, homelidays - were really just listing sites and you had to go through the owners if you wanted the apartment. You also had to sign a rental contract in French and English; buy rental insurance through them or on your own (whic to be honest the cost waas quite minimal- 2 Euro/day) and fax cc of your passports to the "agency " beforehand. For this they toolk60 Euros per stay PLUS required a deposit of up to 500 euros per stay.

However I had my heart set on an agency because I wanted the "safety "of sme place being in charge beyond the owners - but the prices were too much for us. Since we wanted the 6th, 7th, 5th or 15 th only, most places available were more than a pleasant hotel and had issues we didn't want to deal with SUCH AS:

- sofabed only - we are middle aged and need a real bed!
- no phone at all
- on a main st., or on the ground/first floor on a busy street - we also want quiet.

Given our pickieness, the cheapest apartments we found were over 150 EUROS a night even for studios so I decided to check craigslist.org - paris

If you don't know craigslist - it was started by a guy named craig years ago and is now a community site for selling, buying, listing etc in many major cities.
Anyway I looked under craigslist.orgfvacation rentals in the PARIS site - and contacted several owners there. The prices were much more reasonable and the owners (in France) very amenable to lots of pictures, answering questions etc. We had almost settled on one apartment in the 7th for $110/night, no security deposit, whn I had the bright idea to look at the SAN FRANCISCO craigslist.org for vacation rentals looking for keyword PARIS.
We then foud our perfect apartment - separate bedrrom with queen bed; phone; computer wifi; decent view; washer/dryeron a quiet street - through American owners who live in the East Bay and so are accessible by phone etc. It's a bit more than we ideally would have liked to spend - $125 DOLLARS per night - and we have to pay a $500 deposit - but there is an onsite manager who i have already been in contact with, and the owners have already sent lots of info on Paris and their faves, Wife is French and husband is American, and this is their pied a terre when they take long visits several times a year.

Anyone who wants the apartment info please feel free to email me at

rad50th at yahoo dot com


and I will send you the info. I don't feel comfortable posting here as I don;t know how much they are advertising outside of craigs list if any...

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