Many people dream of buying a property in the South of France – and for good reason. The French Riviera truly is one of the most beautiful places in the whole of Europe, if not the world. The climate is warm and inviting. There are miles upon miles golden sandy coastline. The bright blue waters are clean and glorious (they don’t call it the Côte d’Azur (Azure Coast) for nothing). Then there is the art, the food, the wine, the fashion, the culture.


The French Riviera indeed has it all. Nonetheless, it’s important not to let our love and dreams of living in this sublime region blind us when it comes to buying a property. Purchases should never be rushed and there are a number of things to consider.&nbsp


So, if you’re in the market for a new property purchase in the South of France, here are three things to look out for./p>

1. Structural Stability

Having lived and worked in the South of France as a property surveyor for more than three decades, it’s still astonishing to me how many people rush into buying a home here on a whim. They see a picture online and that’s it – the property must be theirs. It’s only (a few hundred thousand pounds) later that they realise that although the property looks beautiful on the outside, it’s falling to bits beneath the paint and plaster work on the inside. 


There are no two ways about it – before putting in an offer on your dream property, it’s essential you have a full structural survey conducted to make sure it won’t turn into a (hugely expensive) nightmare further down the line.


You must also be proactive on this front. Unlike in the UK, property surveys are simply not the “done thing” in France. True, sellers are obliged by law to commission a number of reports – known as the Dossier de Diagnostic Technique (DDT). However, these only cover the basics – lead in paint, termites, asbestos, etc. What they don’t cover is the actual structural stability of the building.


With so much money involved, you need to know exactly what you’re putting it into. The only way to do that is to have your property surveyed by a professional South of France property surveyor before you buy. 

2. The Right Location

Not only must your dream house be what you want – it must be where you want it. The French Riviera is a long stretch of coastline – about 550 miles. You may wish to own a property somewhere right along it – or you may be satisfied for the coast to be within driving distance.


This is an important consideration from a number of perspectives. For instance, would you prefer views of the sea, mountains, or rolling hills? And what about amenities? Is easy access to leisure facilities important to you?


Transport is another consideration – particularly if you will be commuting regularly to the UK. Is there an airport, train station or good road access nearby?


And how important is having a good internet connection and mobile signal? Some rural areas in the South of France are still lacking on both fronts. So, if you think you’ll be working from your property and need fast download speeds, you’ll need to do your research before committing to that gorgeous rural property. 

3. The Right Price 

There’s no point beating around the bush here – the French Riviera is one of the most sought-after locations in the whole of Europe. Naturally, with high demand, come high prices – and the closer to the coast you want to be, generally speaking, the more you will have to pay for it. 


Read more: The South of France Property Guide: French Riviera


If you’ve got the budget, then this won’t be a concern. However, you may be pleased to discover that more affordable property can be found if you know where to look for it. Move a little inland into some of the quieter, lesser-known villages and you can find some outstanding properties at great value. 


Nonetheless, you must factor in the additional fees that come with buying a house in the South of France – such as estate agent fees, notaire (notary) fees, and other legal fees and taxes. 


For more on this, read our short guide, How Much Are the Fees for Buying a Property in the South of France? 


Charles Mackintosh South of France Property Surveyor


For more information on any property in the French Riviera, get in touch with South of France property surveyor Charles Mackintosh. With over 30 years’ experience living and operating in the region, Charles provides highly regarded English language property surveys and advice for British buyers.