Apartment hunting differences : Columbus VS Paris

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Exploring the differences in apartment hunting : Paris & Columbus

One of the inevitables in life is at some point you will be apartment hunting. Back home, I have moved a handful times, in various cities and stages of life. Moving to another city is one thing, moving to another country, that’s a whole different ballgame. Even more intriguing, moving once established in the foreign city. 

Navigating the apartment hunting process here in Paris (and France in general) is a whole world in and of itself and could practically be its own full-time job. More so than I expected compared to Columbus. I knew going into this that it would be extremely difficult, but I didn’t realize how exhausting, draining, and sometimes depressing it is ! 

I’m going to be raw for a moment, so if you don’t care, just skip ahead to the Renting in Ohio section. 

So we’ve been looking for an apartment for about 8 months strong now and have visited a handful. There have been 2 that were hard to hear the news that we weren’t selected. I never thought I would, at times, be upset and very sad (to the point of crying) over the rejection of an apartment. It’s just an apartment, but, if you have your heart set on something, the right one will show up at the right time. I go through ebbs and flows of searching apartment announcements. My husband is technically in charge of that since he has the most requirements. But, we trudge on and keep a smile on our face. The right one for us is out there, it just hasn’t been made available yet. 

(thanks for reading my ramblings.)

Renting in Ohio:

Depending on where you’re looking, depends on what’s available. For the purpose of this article, we’ll use Columbus, OH as the example for this post since I’ve lived and rented there the most in my American experience. 

What’s included ?

Most apartments include the following : fridge, oven, microwave, blinds. Washer and dryer is dependent on the rental company (or individual) you are looking at. Washer and dryers seem to be a plus in some areas. I’ve lived in places where they were included, they weren’t included, but in a common area and I had to pay, or I had the option to buy. When it comes to maintenance and upkeep, most anything that was cosmetic was my responsibility. If there was something that happened inside, I just had to call my landlord to have him/her fix it. As long as when I moved out, it was returned to the way it was when I moved in.

Some properties have extra amenities that include : gym, swimming pool, tennis courts, clubhouses, etc… Those are usually the newer, more modern complexes. I have seen some older complexes that have added these amenities as well to make their locations more appealing. 


There are also things like rental application fees, administration fee (usually processing fee), pet fee, and any other fee that may be associated with an added amenity (think garage, storage, gym). Some of these fees are one time, some recurring. I had cats at one point and had to always pay a pet fee when I moved into a new place. I have either paid a flat monthly fee in some places or I have also paid per cat. It’s always good to know going in what are they rules and fees and charges. 

I have had both dealt with a rental office and the direct landlord. Some places have the reputation that 

Resources for searching.

There are several different ways to look for apartments. I used the tried-and-true method of the internet research. Craigslist really worked for me. I’ve had friends find places through Facebook as well as word of mouth. It seems like in Columbus, the apartment complex scene is more prevalent than here in Paris. 

Renting in Paris: 

Depending on where you’re looking at in Paris depends on what you’re looking at. Most places within the city are rented out through an agency and then the property is run by a co-porprieté. It is slightly less common to rent directly from the landlord him/herself, but this is certainly done. 

In Paris-proper you are more likely to find buildings that are rented and not complexes. Complexes, in the American term, are found on the outskirts of the city and in the suburbs. The buildings within the city tend to be older and have a little more charm and je ne sais quoi about them. 

I will not go into too much detail on this post because I have already exhausted (almost) every angle on this subject on another post. Follow the link below to read all about it there !

Click here for more on the details of apartment hunting in Paris. 


Final Thoughts :

Since the publication of this post, we are *still* currently looking for an apartment. I would say overall, the process of finding an apartment in Paris is more complicated than finding one in Columbus. I think the reason I have more grey hairs is most likely this apartment hunting process . I am certain that looking (and finding) my apartments in Columbus were much easier than what we’re dealing with right now. 

I’ve definitely learned a new level of patience here in Paris. I’m realizing that there are some things that I’m not willing to budge on and that compromise and communication is a huge part of the game, especially when you’re not the only one looking for an apartment. Something to also keep in mind is that you’re most likely not the only person looking for an apartment. 

I never felt this sort of stress when looking for an apartment in Columbus. I don’t know if it has to do with the difference in tenants rights between Columbus and Paris or the market or the fact that I’m looking for an apartment with someone (and not individually). But I’m learning to let go of the little things (which is something I always struggle with) as the days go on. 

So here’s to the continued search, the in-depth discovery of the city, and a crazy ride as a “newly wed” with my husband. I’ll keep you posted as the story unfolds. Who knows how long this process will take, but we’re not settling. 

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