You’ve found your dream property in France, and the big question springs to mind: A homebuyer survey – is it worth it?


Should I get a homebuyer survey? Do I need a homebuyer report?


Is there even such a thing in France, and, if so, how much does a homebuyer survey cost?

All will be revealed in this article.

What Is a Homebuyer Survey – Is it Worth It?

A homebuyer survey is a professional survey carried out on a property prior to purchase. A homebuyer survey will identify if there are any defects in the property so the buyer can make an informed decision on whether or not to go ahead with the purchase.


Homebuyer surveys are always in the buyer’s interest.


Indeed, research from Direct Line reveals that 42% of surveys in the UK uncover issues with properties which might not have been otherwise noticed.


What’s more, buyers who found problems with their property through taking out a homebuyer survey were able to negotiate a discount of £5,744 on the asking price – while a quarter of buyers who did not take out a survey were hit with unexpected bills worth £3,676 on average later on.


The research also revealed that when it came to reasons for property sales falling through, estate agents name structural issues (56%), subsidence (23%), and roofing problems (14%) as the top three.


Dan Simson, Head of Direct Line, comments on the findings: “Investing in a survey before purchasing a property can save a huge amount of money and hassle in the long run. Surveys are there to protect the buyer, enabling them to get a better idea of any repairs that might be needed and any problems to look out for in the future.”


So, homebuyer survey – is it worth it?


Yes, it absolutely is.

Can You Get a Homebuyer Survey in France?

Again, the answer is yes – but that isn’t the end of the story.


You may have heard that homebuyer surveys aren’t the “done thing” in France. This is correct – they’re not. However, this doesn’t alter the fact that all homebuyers should have a survey conducted prior to purchase in France, nonetheless.


While it’s true that, in France, an owner must commission several diagnostic reports on a property before a sale, these merely cover the basics – such as the presence of lead, asbestos and termites, the safety of gas and electrical installations, the state of the septic tank (if there is one), and energy performance.


Importantly, these diagnostic surveys do not cover the structural integrity of the building, the state of the roof, the presence of damp, or anything else that might incur seriously costly remediations.


What’s more, there isn’t a body to license chartered surveyors in France, and while some French architects offer a basic evaluation of the property, these inspections are brief and the reports usually verbal – and in French.

Charles Mackintosh – English Speaking South of France RICS Chartered Surveyor

For the equivalent of a few hundred pounds, it is absolutely in your best interest in commission a homebuyer survey from a RICS chartered surveyor when purchasing a property in France.


What’s more, for English-speaking buyers, finding an English-speaking surveyor is a very wise choice – especially one with a deep understanding of French buying, selling, and building practices.


The great news if you’re reading this blog post then you’ve already found the surveyor you’re looking for.


With over 30 years’ experience living and operating in the South of France, Charles Mackintosh is your RICS chartered, English Speaking French property market and building expert. Get in touch today for more information.