Is Alpes Léman Conseil a real estate agent ?
Alpes Léman Conseil is the exact opposite of a real estate agent. We “have” prospective tenants and we search for the properties that best match each client’s specific request. A real estate agent “has” the properties and looks for the best possible tenant.
We specifically work for each client, with a dedicated and tailor-made approach.
How is the rental market in Haute-Savoie ?
As a general matter, the market is tense, particularly in and around Annecy and in the border area. A rental posting will often generate up to 50 contacts in the first 5 or 6 hours after being posted. The nicest properties can go in a matter of a couple of days.
Some periods stand out for various kinds of properties :
- Studios and 1-bedrooms are rare during the back-to-school period because most of them are leased during summer;
- Houses and large flats are relatively more frequent in spring, while remaining rare as a general matter, especially in and around Annecy.
Applicants in the area are numerous, as well as high incomes, so the competition can be fierce.
How many properties will be viewed ?
Our goal is to show you 5 to 8 properties, carefully selected to :
- Allow your application to pass;
- Meet and, hopefully, exceed your requirements.
Despite our best efforts, the final selection may, on occasion, include fewer properties, depending on the offer of the market and the features of your file.
Ideally, we prefer not to include more than 10 properties. Experience shows too many properties make it difficult to choose. Besides, the point of us selecting properties is to avoid useless viewings of poor quality homes or too far from your requirements.
How long before the viewings do you begin searching ?
The market is very tense, so there is no point to begin the search long before the day set for the viewings. We usually begin searching 6 or 7 days before the D-day, except in very particular cases when a day-to-day watch is necessary to very rare properties.
We will send you, usually 5 days before the D-day, a first draft of the viewings programme, with Internet links and descriptions. This document will evolve until the last minute.
The most sought-for properties (recent 1 or 2-bedrooms, among other) can be rented in a few hours, after having generated several dozens of requests.
In case of a particularly rare type of property, we can set a permanent watch and contact you to arrange an ad-hoc visit, be it by live video stream (WhatsApp, Skype or Facetime).
How do we select the very best properties for our clients ?
- We ensure your application file matches the requirements for the properties that are selected for you, based upon the information you provided us. We only select the properties that we know can accept your application;
- We do our utmost to match, or exceed, your search criteria, as best we can;
- We discard properties in poor condition or having major disadvantages;
- We refine the property search with a goal of presenting you with 5 to 8 properties so that the selection process is easier for you.
- We try to select a variety of properties to widen your choice within your criteria.
In general, are clients satisfied with what they find in your selection ?
In 99% of the cases yes, as the whole point of the selection process is to make sure every viewing is efficient, properties are of good quality, and that your file is eligible. It is actually frequent that the choice is difficult among two or three finalist properties. Our knowledge of the market and our 15-year experience enables us, time and again, to offer you a varied and attractive selection that is specifically designed to meet your requirements.
After the viewings, how fast do I have to make a decision ?
The market is very tense. An advert often triggers fifty or more calls in the first 12 hours. There are only few quality offers and candidates are numerous, often with very attractive applications. We advise you to apply within 24 hours after the viewings, and even sooner if possible.
What is the process of an application ?
Your application file will be given to the rental agent or the landlord, who will check if it is complete and matches the requirements. Do not expect any flexibility in this analysis. The agent or the landlord will look for inconsistencies among the documents, and if the proven income is sufficient (rent not to exceed 33% of the net income before taxes). The application file will be transmitted to the unpaid-rent insurance company if any, who will approve it, or not.
The process can take 3 to 4 days, depending on the size of the rental agency, and may less if it’s a private owner.
Once your application has been approved, the administrative process of writing the contract begins.
Do you search out of the rental agencies ?
We search properties everywhere, and check both rental agencies and private owners.
Will I have to pay agency fees ?
If you rent a property via a rental agent, you will have to pay their fees. Their amount cannot exceed €13 per square meter.
Why pay a rental agency when one can find properties without them ?
First of all, in a tense market, one cannot turn down offers from rental agents, as they hold a significant share of the vacancies.
Besides, benefits to dealing with rental agencies include :
- They are professionals under close state scrutiny, who must defend the interests of both parties, including the tenant’s;
- They make sure landlords meet their numerous (often costly) legal and technical obligations, most of which are meant to protect tenants;
- They are valuable and neutral brokers between landlords and tenants
- The special relationships we maintain with most agencies will often enable you to enjoy favours or priorities. To a private owner, we are only one among the many contacts they receive.
If I call upon your services, can my file’s pitfalls be overcome ?
Our close work relationship with rental agents and private owners often gives us an advantage for our clients :
- We have up to date information about available properties;
- Often times preference is given to our client’s application;
- Rental agents and private owners will hold a property for a couple of days so our clients have time to view it before others;
Please keep in mind that, although our close relationship with many rental agents and owners gives us an advantage for our clients, there are still rigid administrative processes, insurance companies and owners involved in making the final decision on the approval of an application.
Can you access a hidden market ?
Let’s face it, we do not have any magic wand. However, the strong relationships we nurture with most rental agents and many large private investors give us, more often than not, access to early information about opportunities before they are published on the Internet.
I’m worried that you won’t find the property I will like …
If it’s there, we will find it. If your situation meets the requirements, there are high chances you will get it. Our special relationships with most agencies and many private owners helps to put your file on the top of the pile. Actually, many of our clients have a hard time choosing between two, or more, attractive options.
Do you also search in the subsidized housing sector ?
No, we only search in the private sector. Subsidized homes are attributed by monthly commissions, with very long waiting lists and a procedure that is not compatible with the lead times we have to find your home.
Can I search on my own ?
Of course, you can. However, you assigned us to save time and to benefit our expertise and our network. You can rely on us for finding the best for you. If you have itchy fingers anyway, please make sure you share your discoveries with us so we can support you and work as a team.
Can I send you links to ads I found on Internet ?
Of course, we love to know what catches your eye. Rest assured, however, that we most certainly have seen what caught you. If we didn’t select the property, there is most likely a reason we’ll be happy to share with you.
On the internet, I saw properties I liked which Alpes Léman Conseil didn’t tell me about…
Again, please share what catches your eye. We appreciate it when our clients share their internet discoveries. This helps us to better understand their preferences and we never want to miss an opportunity !
Rest assured that we have reviewed and considered all of the properties that have been offered online. We scour the web in search of the very best properties for our clients.
Our job is to refine the selection process for our clients. We work to filter through the properties and offer only those properties which match our clients criteria and those where we know our clients application will most likely be approved.
If we have not presented a property to you, most likely it is because it has not met your requirements and/or there was a great chance that your application would not be approved by the rental agent.
What happens if I sign up for a property I found on my own ?
If our client has found a property on their own, we can still offer many valuable services to ensure that the rental process is easy and that our client successfully secures their desired rental property.
We offer assistance with contract review, home inspection, utility cost assessment and subscription…
What happens if I don’t choose any of the properties selected by Alpes Léman Conseil ?
Most of the time, our assignements include a single round of house search. If your goal is to actually choose a property, chances are you will be able to do so. If you prefer to look around to familiarize yourself with the market, we can arrange an orientation tour for you.
However, the market sometimes does not offer the property you will fall for. Unless you dramatically changed your target, and as long as you make your decision in good faith, we will go on searching.
During our first telephone conversation, you gave me the impression there would be many obstacles to my project…
Rest assured we are your partner, working on your side for the best result. We work for you and our approach is custom made to your personal project. Nevertheless, you will face restrictions from laws and regulations which provide thorough protection to the tenants, but also set very high demands for applicants.
It is our role to inform you of the conditions you must meet to ensure your application will pass. We consider our duty to be candid with you about the situation, because we like to live up to our promises.
Is my probationary period a problem ?
An applicant in a probationary period is, as well as in short term or interim contracts, considered precarious. Landlords and agents will therefore look for ways to protect themselves against the risk of the tenant’s loss of income, which could result in deliquent payment of rent.
In this context, a large majority of the properties are covered by unpaid-rent insurance plans. Insurance companies then dictate their eligibility conditions, sometimes with criteria landlords themselves would not be allowed to set. Most insurance companies do not cover applicants in a probationary period.
If the property is not covered by an unpaid-rent insurance plan, landlords and agents will require a guarantor.
If the landlord subscribed an unpaid rent insurance plan, he cannot, by law, accept nor ask for a personal guarantor, unless the tenant is a student. In this case, the application will be approved or rejected by the rules set by the insurance company.
My trial period will be over in one week, so why was my application rejected ?
You application is generally assessed by the rental agent and by its insurance company on the very day the application is submitted. Your future situation is not taken into account, however close that future may be.
I do have a personal guarantor, but he doesn’t live in France …
In theory, it is forbidden by law to reject an application as a result of a guarantor living abroad. However, in reality, this situation will most likely negatively impact one’s application.
I don’t have any guarantor. What can I do ?
If you have an open-ended contract and are not in the probationary period, no problem, you generally will not be asked for a guarantor.
If not, we can suggest a few options which, in some cases, will replace a personal guarantor. You also may have to wait for the end of your trial period in a temporary accomodation such as a serviced apartment hotel.
What is VISALE, and will it solve my guarantor problem ?
VISALE is a free of charge, state sponsored guarantee scheme many employees of french companies are entitled to. If you are eligible to it, it is highly recommended that you apply to be ready to use if necessary.
Please remember however, it’s a guarantee scheme, and, as such, it is not compatible with unpaid-rent insurance plans. It can only be used for properties that are not covered by such insurance plans. Please note that most rental agents are not familiar with VISALE, which they often assimilate to previous state-sponsored guarantor schemes that left many liabilities unpaid, and many will reject it.
Will a personal guarantor enable me to get the property I want, despite my probationary period ?
Not if the property has an unpaid-rent insurance plan as most insurance companies reject applicants with a probation period. It will in most other cases, provided your guarantor meets the eligibility criteria.
Where I come from, one is not asked for so many guarantees…
Rental housing markets can significantly differ from one region to the next. In our region, it is extremely competitive, and the ratio of coverage by unpaid-rent insurance plans is higher than in many other areas. These insurance plans set very strict demands to prospective tenants.
I have a fixed-term contract. How will that affect the search ?
Fixed-term contracts are perceived as problematic and will usually result in denial of application for tenancy, unless the term is more than 12 months away when the tenancy begins.
I have a lease liability with my previous home. How does that impact the search ?
A lease liability definitely is not a strong point in your application. However, make sure you discuss the issue with us, because it’s always better to explain the situation and the solutions upfront with rental agents and landlords. Trying to hide it will, certainly, be fatal to your application.
I’m coming from abroad, and I don’t have a french income tax return. How does that impact the search ?
Previous year(s) french income tax returns are a requirement mainly in two situations :
- When the property is being leased under certain tax deduction schemes that impose revenue caps to the tenants, calculated in their y-2 taxable income;
- When the landlord’s unpaid-rent insurance plan requests it.
My partner is unemployed and enjoys unemployment benefits. Will his/her income be taken into account ?
In general, rental agents will not include social benefits in your household income.
I have large assets, which should compensate for the lack of monthly salary income…
Your assets will not be taken into account because it is usually not liquid, and/or is not seen as a regular “safe” income. Only your income flows will be taken into account, including real-estate or financial income, as long as they can be backed by hard facts.
I have a very high income and large assets, why am I asked for a guarantor ?
Whatever your income, your age or your personal assets, a guarantee scheme will be required (unless the landlord has an unpaid-rent insurance plan) if your professional status is perceived as precarious. A probationary period will be understood as a risk of loss of stable income, regardless of your assets.
I can pay several months of rent in advance to compensate for my probationary period…
It is forbidden by law to pay more than 3 months of rent in advance. Besides, paying 3 months of rent in advance would not compensate the risk of deliquent payment of rent, as the landlord would need up to 18 months to terminate the contract.
I recently signed a work contract in Switzerland, with no probationary period, can my application be rejected ?
It is a rare occurence in the area, however some rental agents did not include a “cross-border” clause in their unpaid-rent insurance policy, and therefore refuse cross-border workers. Others demand you have at least 1 year seniority in Switzerland.
What are the documents required by rental agents ?
The list of the documents a landlord or a rental agent can ask is listed in the decree n° 2015-1437 of November 5, 2015.
What does an application file include ?
To apply for a rental, one must provide the following documents :
- Rent receipts of the previous 3 months (for tenants), or last property tax (for owners)
- Pay stubs of the last 3 months
- Last year’s income tax return
- Employment certificate (stating hiring/transfer date, contract duration, position, income, trial period)
These documents can be in a foreign language, if they come with some explanation.
Why so many documents for an apartment ?
Some insensitive candidates provide forged documents. As tenants in France are overly protected by law, landlords must take serious precautions to ascertain the candidate’s solvency. A vast array of documents helps conduct consistency analyses and pinpoint suspicious items.
My file isn’t complete, but the most important documents are there…
Applying for a rental property is a very bureaucratic process, sometimes ridiculously so. The list of requested documents is precise and required. Any missing document will lead to the application rejection.