With a professional South of France surveyor at your side, your experience buying property in this idyllic part of the world should be relatively smooth and stress free.


However, there are still many who choose to go it alone, assuming their knowledge and experience of the UK housing market, combined with a little common sense, will be enough to carry them through.


Unfortunately for these people, the French way of life can be quite different to the one in the UK and comes with its own set of challenges and pitfalls. Knowing how to avoid them can mean the difference between success and failure on your French adventure.


With that in mind, here are five common mistakes people make when moving to the South of France.

1. Surveys

Unlike in the UK, carrying out surveys on French properties is not mandatory or even commonplace. There is a system under which essential things such as gas, electricity, drains, lead, asbestos and pest such as wood eating fungus and termites in some areas, are checked for, but not the overall structure and condition of the building.


Therefore, you won’t know if there are any serious issues with the building unless you arrange for a survey to be carried out yourself.

2. Fees and Value

One of the biggest misconceptions in the French property market is around how your property accumulates value.


Once you’ve added on the Notaires fees (about ten percent on a €100,000 house) and the agent’s fees (another ten percent), then spent five years chasing artisans to come and do up the house, you may think you have a house worth around €250,000. However, when you come to sell it you will get a shock when the valuation comes in at not much higher than you paid for it.

3. Healthcare

One big difference between the UK and France is the way the National Health Services work in each country.


While the French health service is excellent, it is not free at the point of use like the NHS is. In France you will have to pay for any medical treatment upfront and then claim the cost back from the appropriate authorities. Patients will not always be awarded the full cost of their treatment back either, which is why many French residents choose to take out a top-up health insurance, known as complémentaire or mutuelle, to make up the difference.

4. Cars

Moving your car from the UK to France can be an incredibly complex and expensive process and many people underestimate it.


Make sure you assemble each document relating to your car when relocating to France and make photocopies (you’ll have to hand over the originals). Due to the expense and hassle,you might want to consider selling your car while still in the UK and buying aFrench one once you’ve moved.

5. Business

Again, setting up a business in France can be an incredibly difficult process for a recent immigrant.


The whole thing can become a vicious circle as you will need to co-ordinate the setting up of your business with evidence of your residency status in France. This isn’t such a problem while the UK is still part of the EU but brace yourself for an uphill struggle post-Brexit.

Final Thoughts

The best way to make sure you are best equipped to avoid making any of these mistakes is with the assistance and advice of a South of France surveyor like Charles Mackintosh who has over 30 years’ experience and can guide you through the complex maze of buying property.


Please get in touch today for more information.