Buying a property in the South of France is a fantastic opportunity to make your overseas dreams become a reality.


However, there are a number of things that need careful consideration, and having the building professionally surveyed by a South of France property surveyor before purchase is most certainly one of them.

A Great Time to Buy

While it’s difficult to predict precisely what will happen in the French property market over the coming months and years – due, of course, to the global pandemic that brought thousands of transactions to a halt in 2020 – as the economy reopens, many are expecting prices to fall.


A recent survey by an online estate agency of more than 1,200 people in France who said they were looking at either buying or selling, found that 43% felt prices were set to drop (compared to just 14% who thought they would rise, and 17% who predicted no change).


This chimes with findings from Iconic Riviera, which recently reported the following: “According to the agents and notaires we consulted, in 2020 properties [in the South of France] are sitting on the market until sellers lower the price to be much lower than others on the market, as they are selling for an average of 30% under original asking. It’s a buyer’s market, and will become even more so starting in September 2020 (and for several years to come).”


Iconic Riviera also highlights that since interest rates can’t be lowered further, most French economists think that sale prices will fall by at least 10% by the end of 2020.


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What Type of Property Survey Should I Have?

You may have heard that French property mortgages are not dependent on surveys – and that property surveys in France are “just not done” in general. This is true. While there is a legal requirement for sellers to commission certain diagnostic reports – the Dossier de Diagnostic Technique (DDT) – these only cover things like termites and asbestos, not the actual structural condition of the building. 


However, just because property surveys aren’t compulsory doesn’t mean it isn’t in your best interest to have one conducted before you pour your life savings into something that’s going to fall to bits a month after you move in.


A professional South of France property surveyor can not only spot problems and potential problems with a building, but also has an experienced understanding of the implications of such problems – and can advise you on what the costs will likely be to fix them. 


There are three main types property survey:

  • Condition Report – Most suitable for new-build homes in good condition. The Condition Report contains a brief assessment of the property’s condition, identifying visible risks and urgent defects. 
  • HomeBuyer Report – Suitable for properties in reasonable condition. A HomeBuyer report contains a more in-depth assessment of the property than a Condition Report, identifying if there are any structural problems, such as damp or subsidence, and will usually include a property valuation. 
  • Full Structural Survey – The most comprehensive survey, suitable for all homes, though particularly for older properties or those that are visibly in need of repair. You will receive a detailed report with an in-depth analysis of the property’s condition, as well as advice on defects, repairs and maintenance options. 

Where Do I Find a South of France Property Surveyor?

You’ve already found one.


RICS chartered surveyor Charles Mackintosh has over 30 years’ experience living and operating in the region, providing highly regarded English language property surveys and advice for British buyers.


Get in touch with South of France property surveyor Charles Mackintosh today to start your journey.