Things I’ve Learnt From Buying My First Flat

Things I've learnt from buying my first flat

Although I’m (still) not in my own flat yet, it’s been already 3 months that I’m officially a homeowner. A friend once asked if I felt like the kind of person that had it in them to just be as determined as this, like very confident and ready to face the long road that leads to buying a flat. And of course, I said no, I’m pretty scared and I don’t really know where I’m going, but if I’m determined about one thing, it’s that I need to go with the flow and do all the efforts to make things happen. Since then, a lot has happened and I’ve learnt some valuable lessons that I’m willing to share with you.

→ When you embark on a journey this long (it actually takes about 3 months here in France once you found your flat/house to actually become its new owner), know that you are prone to get stressed a lot. You seriously can’t stop thinking about all the things you have to do, the appointments you have to take, the phone calls you have to make, the things you have to buy, like every second, day and night. It’s pretty stressful to see all the time and money you have to invest in it and to tell you the truth, my skin has never looked more awful. But I consider it the “good kind of stress », the one that makes you better and pushes you to do things you’d have never thought you were capable of doing. And in the end, this is an exciting project that is all worth it.

→ One thing I noticed when closing the deal, was how some people whose job is to supervise the sale (notaries/lawyers) will make a minimal effort to explain to you the course of action and to reply back to your calls/emails. So basically everything takes ages to arrange itself and you will think that those guys kind of take you for a fool, but that’s okay because you can’t know everything from the beginning and there’s no shame in asking questions.

→ It is quite normal to be submerged by doubt from time to time. As you’re jumping into this big project, you’ll always ponder on whether you’ve made the best decision and taking the right path. But in the end, you have to follow your instincts and believe in the fact that it is possible.

→ In terms of decorating, you will have so many choices to make that you’ll eventually wish someone would make the choices for you at some point, but obviously, you can’t let that happen so you straighten up and decide once and for all. Pinterest is a great help for inspiration and finding out what you like/don’t like for your interior, but the hardest part of it all isn’t to end up scrolling endlessly, it’s to actually figure out what goes best with what and sometimes reconsider what you thought was set in stone.

→ If you have to do some renovations like I did, one of the best thing before hiring a contractor is whether you’ve got a good vibe when meeting him for the first time. It’s important to be friendly with your contractor (you don’t need to sound too commanding as you want them to do good work) and check if there’s a guarantee on his work if you have a problem later. Of course, it’s always better if he’s recommended from someone you know and if you can see some of his work first.

→ In the end, I think the major thing to take into account is that you will spend much more money than you expected too. It’s all too easy to get overboard with things because there will always be something nicer or better quality. It’s important to invest in durability so it’s a matter of balance. Allow some space in your budget for trial and error, or just don’t take any risks like I did (had to reorder a bed because the frame couldn’t get through the spiral staircase of my building – yay tiny Parisian spaces) because then you will regret having to deal with dumb expenses like this.

Have you experienced something similar? What have you learned from it? And if not, is buying a flat someday something you'd consider? - I know, so many questions for you today!