After choosing an apartment comes the anxious time of waiting to hear whether the owner will choose you for a tenant. Unlike Twinkies, apartments in Paris have a short shelf life, and like the housing market around San Francisco at the height of the dot-com boom, apartments are rented in what is akin to a silent auction. Our agent said that the owner let her agent choose the tenant and that the seller's agent had decided by the end of our apartment visit that we were acceptable. So even if it wasn't a big surprise, it was nice to have heard already yesterday that the owner had accepted our request, and that the lease signing is scheduled for Friday. Now it's just about money: we need to transfer 4 months' rent to other peoples' bank accts, 2 months to the owner as security deposit and 2 months to the owner's agent, 1 for the first month's rent and the other as a fee. Though in the US (or at least Philadelphia) it is usually the owner who pays the “finder's fee,” this fee was good news, as the normal agent's fee for furnished apartments here is 2 months' rent. I think she gave us a bargain because I'm charming and handsome, but Karen figures it has to be something, anything, else. Maybe it's a token of appreciation for America's election of Obama.
Whatever the truth, we're grateful for the lucky break.