Searching for your accommodation
As a student, searching for accommodation is super stressful and time-consuming. It gets even more complicated for an international student who isn’t always on-sight. Especially since housing supply is pretty disparate: there’s all sorts of places.
When it comes to housing, the french go through real estate agencies, classifieds websites, professional lessor websites (such as Nexity), social media (Facebook),... Here too, there’s anything and everything.
Housing research is already an obstacle course for locals: we’re drowned in the number of offers but discouraged by the lack of actual support. So when you don’t speak the language, you simply can’t jump in the vast ocean of property search in France without a buoy. It’s impossible! The dedicated websites aren’t translated, there’s no accompaniment whatsoever and there’s little tolerance towards foreigners. Not that they will have a problem with you, they’re simply not used to dealing with non-french speakers.
A team of real people, who understand you
Available 6 days a week
In 5 different languages
Studapart was created for all of those reasons. We’ve all been through hell when looking for our nest, we know how it is! Alexandre & Amaury, the cofounders, thought of our centralized platform after having trouble finding a place to rent. Since, they hired people who all went through similar difficulties and created the Studapart support team. These folks are available 6 days a week in 5 different languages, they understand you and are here to help.
Over here, we’re giving out a few do’s & don’ts for conducting your housing research.
Using your network
You can always try to use your personal network and inform your entourage that you’re looking for an apartment. You can turn to seniors in your highschool that already went on an exchange in France to get a glimpse of how they proceeded and see if they have some good deals to convey to you. If you don’t know them personally, you will most likely find them on LinkedIn. On Facebook, you can find solidary groups of students who come from the same country as you and who came to study in France.
Finding accommodation online : Studapart, LeBonCoin, Facebook
A french student’s first impulse when looking for an apartment in the private sector without paying agency fees is to turn to classifieds sites such as leboncoin.fr, where you can find all types of offers between private individuals. LeBonCoin is a lot like Craiglist for the Americans, Avito for the Russians, Baixing for the Chinese or Subito for Italians.
But for you, O foreign student, it’s going to be virtually impossible to find your accommodation on such a website because of the language barrier: the offers are drafted entirely in french and aren’t translated. And owners expect to interact in french, with potential tenants who have french guarantors. You also find a lot of fraudulent offers on LeBonCoin and transactions aren’t always secured enough.
You can be tempted to look for your accommodation on Facebook. There are french Facebook groups dedicated to student housing, but once more, you won’t understand a thing they’re saying and no one will be there to guide you through. Besides, the offers aren’t always relevant nor truthful, and they’re not verified. Still, if you want to go and have a look on Facebook, it’s better to turn to your school’s Facebook groups instead.
Anyway, as a foreigner coming to France, you will probably have a number of grey areas waiting to be clarified, and it would be much more convenient for you to use a service who actually helps you through your search!
At Studapart, we provide a personalized platform for each of our partner schools, making a simplified research tool available to you. With this tool, you can easily get a global view of the housing offer around your school.
Stay organized and don’t spread yourself too thin when looking for an apartment. Concentrate on a limited number of websites and keep track of the offers you made requests for.
Studapart does that for you - all your course of action is saved on the platform!
Beware of scams: spotting and reporting fraudulent offers
Considering the number of online offers, you might run into one or two scams during your search! Here are a few tips on how to recognize them.
If an offer seems to good to be true, it certainly is. If you’ve already started to search for an accommodation, you probably already have a good idea of the price range depending on the area and the condition of the apartment. So if you come across a beautiful, well located apartment, and that the rent is derisory, there’s probably something fishy!
If you get in touch with the owner of that kind of offer and he tells you he’s abroad and can’t plan a visit for you, it’s probably best to give up.
If you’re asked to send money in the form of mandate cash (like Western Union or MoneyGram), run away! You might be brought to believe it’s an advance on your rental deposit, to buy time and secure your reservation. But it’s pretty much impossible to track that kind of money transfer, so there’s no point hoping you might retrieve the money if it’s a scam.
In short, the main ingredients of a scam:
Too good to be true
your visit request is turned down
You're asked to send money via mandate cash
Don’t ever send money prematurely! Except in the case of Studapart’s remote reservation, you shouldn’t have to pay ANYTHING before you’ve visited the place and signed the lease agreement.
If you’ve faced attempts of fraud, don’t hesitate on reporting it on this website: internet-signalement.gouv.fr.