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If you are considering buying a property in France, it’s essential to ensure you have a clear understanding of its condition and potential risks.

While full property surveys are not compulsory in France, commissioning a professional building survey from an English-speaking RICS chartered building surveyor can provide you with valuable insights and help you make an informed decision.

In this blog post, we will delve into the significance of property surveys in France and the role of a professional surveyor in the buying process.

Understanding the Compulsory Dossier de Diagnostic Technique (DDT)

In France, sellers are required by law to organise certain mandatory inspections and diagnostic reports, collectively referred to as the Dossier de Diagnostic Technique (DDT). The DDT includes reports on various aspects of the property, such as asbestos, wastewater systems, electrical installations, energy performance, and natural or industrial risks.


These statutory surveys focus on the health and safety aspects of the property, as well as its environmental impact. However, the DDT does not cover full structural inspections, which is why hiring a professional surveyor is highly recommended.

The Importance of Full Structural Building Surveys in France

Though not compulsory in France, conducting a full structural building survey before purchasing a property is crucial for buyers. Property surveys are designed to uncover potential structural damage, hidden defects, and any required remedial works so buyers can be fully informed as to what they’re getting themselves into before committing to the sale and purchase agreement.


There are three main types of property survey available:


Level 1 – Condition Report

Best suited for new-build homes in good condition, this survey provides a brief assessment of the property’s overall condition and identifies any urgent defects.

Read more about Level 1 Surveys


Level 2 – Home Buyer Report

Suitable for properties over 10 years old in reasonable condition, this report is more in-depth than Level 1 and identifies underlying structural problems, such as damp or subsidence. It also includes a property valuation.

Read more about Level 2 Surveys


Level 3 – Full Structural Survey

The most comprehensive survey, recommended for older properties or those visibly in need of repair. It provides an in-depth analysis of the property’s structural condition, defects, and maintenance options

Read more about Level 3 Survey


Advantages of Hiring a Chartered Building Surveyor

RICS chartered building surveyors bring extensive knowledge and experience to the table. They can identify potential issues beyond what the DDT covers and provide unbiased reports written in plain English. Additionally, they can estimate potential renovation costs and advise on obtaining planning permission for improvements. An independent surveyor ensures that their focus remains on the buyer’s best interest and is not tied to any estate agent.


Read more: What to Expect from a Property Survey in France

Charles Mackintosh – Your Trusted Surveyor in the South of France

While property surveys may not be customary in France, hiring a professional surveyor can be invaluable for prospective buyers. Understanding the role of a surveyor and the importance of thorough inspections can help you make informed decisions and avoid potential costly surprises after purchasing your dream French property.


Charles Mackintosh is a highly qualified and professional RICS chartered building surveyor with over 30 years’ experience living and operating in the South of France. Specialising in providing English-language property surveys and advice for English-speaking buyers, Charles offers a personalised service to help you make informed decisions during your property search and stands ready to assist you in your property journey.


Get in touch with Charles to make your property-buying experience in the South of France a smooth and confident one.