French property surveyor

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Whether it’s a charming countryside cottage, a chic urban apartment, or a luxurious Riviera villa, when it comes to investing in French property, understanding and mitigating the various risks you may be faced with is paramount. French property surveys and the professionals who conduct them play a crucial role in this process.

In this article, we’ll explore the role of the French property surveyor in mastering project risks and ensuring your property investment is sound.

The Importance of Building Surveys

It may surprise you to learn that full structural surveys are not a common practice in France like they are elsewhere in the world, and French buyers don’t tend to bother with them.

However, just because they aren’t a legal requirement, doesn’t mean it’s not in your best interest to have one conducted. Indeed, building surveys are nothing short of crucial for anyone looking to purchase property in France. A building survey is your key to uncovering potential problems with the property, ensuring structural integrity, and avoiding the headache of costly defects that might lurk beneath the paint and plasterwork of what you think is your dream home in Southern France.

Read more: What Type of House Survey Do You Need in the South of France?

Understanding the Risks of Purchasing French Property

When embarking on the exciting journey of purchasing property in France, it’s essential to be aware of the potential risks involved.

Risks of Not Getting a Property Survey Done


You Might Not Get a True Valuation

Opting to forgo a property survey can be a costly mistake. Without commissioning a comprehensive building survey report from a chartered building surveyor, you might not receive an accurate valuation of the property. This can lead to overpaying for a property or missing out on a potentially great deal.

You Won’t Have Peace of Mind

Property surveys provide peace of mind. They reveal the true condition of the property, highlighting any potential problems or costly defects. Without this knowledge, you might be in for unpleasant surprises down the road.

You Might Not Be Able to Make the Improvements You Want

If you plan to make improvements or renovations to your newly acquired property, a building survey is invaluable. It identifies structural integrity issues, ensuring that your dream home is safe for your desired upgrades. Skipping this step could hinder your ability to make the improvements you envision.

You Might Get Stung by Hidden Costs

Buying property in the South of France will often mean parting with more cash than outlined in the list price. Numerous hidden costs can impact your budget. Here are some of the additional expenses to consider.

Notaire Fees

Notaire fees encompass taxes and the notary’s fee itself, bundled together for payment as one sum – which is typically around 1% of the sale price. In addition to the notary fee, you’ll need to add TVA (VAT) at 20%. In addition, you will need to pay the droits d’enregistrement (stamp duty) and land registry costs. A qualified surveyor will be able to help you understand exactly how much these additional fees will amount to.

Estate Agent Fees

Real estate agent fees, typically ranging from 5% to 10% of the sale price, are another expense to account for. It’s important to note that not all estate agents include their commission in the listed price, and sometimes the buyer is responsible for paying these fees. Again, a building surveyor will help you understand everything you need to know.

Legal Fees

While not mandatory, having legal representation can provide peace of mind, especially if you’re not fluent in French. A lawyer who speaks the language can explain all documents and contracts clearly, ensuring you fully understand the legal aspects of your purchase.

Currency Exchange Fees

Converting your money for the property purchase and associated fees can also incur costs. Exchange rates fluctuate, so it’s wise to consider a currency exchange company that allows you to lock in your rate ahead of time, providing clarity on your expenses.

Charles Mackintosh – South of France Property Surveyor

Understanding these risks and hidden costs is essential for making informed decisions when buying property in the South of France. For professional advice and property surveys, don’t hesitate to contact Charles Mackintosh, a Chartered Surveyor with over 30 years’ experience serving overseas buyers in the region.