Whilst many overseas buyers will be familiar with ensuring a building survey is conducted by a professional chartered surveyor before purchasing a property, many first-time purchasers are surprised to learn that there is no such tradition in France. Indeed, there is no building surveying profession in the country – and so finding an actual French surveyor may prove very difficult indeed.


However, this isn’t to say that you cannot find a chartered building surveyor in France – it’s just that the surveyors you do find will unlikely be French. This is because most chartered surveyors in France are from the UK and have moved across the Channel to operate in the region and fill the gap. As such, these surveyors are bilingual – speaking both English and French to help overseas buyers find the perfect French property.

Why Do I Need a Building Survey?

The simple answer to this question is that it makes sense. In fact, it makes great sense to commission a thorough and unbiased survey report from a qualified professional before committing to a purchase worth hundreds of thousands of Euros. Just because chartered surveyors are not traditionally used by the French does not mean that the French property you are interested in buying should not be surveyed before you buy.


Read more: Do I Really Need a Property Survey in the South of France?


The truth is that some estate agents may try and dissuade buyers from conducting building surveys through fear of losing a sale. However, this is not a sensible path to take. Building surveys are conducted in the sole interest of the buyer. Their aim is to uncover any defects that may be hiding beneath the paint and plasterwork pre purchase, so buyers can enter negotiations with full knowledge of precisely what they’re paying for and any repairs they may have to make after signing on the dotted line.


The argument for having a chartered building surveyor carry out a full building survey before you buy becomes even stronger still if you plan to significantly alter or renovate the property upon purchase. This is because your building surveyor understands local laws surrounding planning permissions, and so can advise you on what is and isn’t possible. In addition, your surveyor will be able to determine how feasible your renovation plans are on a purely practical level, and what such work may cost.


Read more: The Top 3 Types of Property Surveys to Use in 2023

Finding a Chartered Building Surveyor in France

Once you have decided to seek professional advice on your potential French property purchase, your task now is to find a professional, English-speaking surveyor to complete the job.


What you’re looking for is a surveyor who has extensive knowledge of the local area, many years of experience in the industry, can speak French, and has a working relationship with local architects and tradespeople should you wish to carry out improvements or remediations on the property.


And the best news is you’re in luck, for you have already found such a surveyor who ticks all these boxes and more.


Charles Mackintosh is a RICS chartered South of France surveyor with over 30 years’ experience living and operating in the region. Charles specialises in providing English-language property surveys and advice for overseas buyers. Get in touch today for more information.