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  • The Role of a French Property Surveyor Explained

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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.

  • Don’t Let These 5 Problems Ruin Your French Property Surveys

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    When it comes to purchasing a property in France, having a thorough survey conducted by an experienced and professional property surveyor is a crucial step to ensure a smooth and hassle-free sale and purchase agreement – and see to it that you don’t plough your money into a rickety property with hidden defects which will be expensive to repair and maintain.


    However, many overseas buyers encounter certain problems arising throughout the building survey process in France, potentially leading to costly and frustrating consequences.


    In this blog post, we explore five key issues that you should be aware of to avoid any unpleasant surprises when conducting building surveys in France. Whether you are a first-time buyer or a seasoned investor, understanding and addressing these challenges will help safeguard your interests and ensure a successful property acquisition.


    So, let’s dive in and discover what these pitfalls are and how to navigate them.


    5 Common Problems Overseas Buyers Encounter with French Property Surveys


    Language Barrier

    Problem: When it comes to French property surveys, language barriers can become a significant obstacle for overseas buyers. Dealing with technical terms, legal documents, and general communication with French-speaking surveyors can be challenging if you’re not fluent in the language. Misinterpretations or misunderstandings due to language differences can lead to confusion and potential errors in the survey process.


    Solution: It’s essential to overcome this challenge by either hiring a bilingual surveyor or working with a translator to ensure clear communication and a comprehensive understanding of the survey findings.


    Read more: How to Find and Engage a Reputable Property Surveyor in France


    Lack of Familiarity with Local Property Market

    Problem: Being an expat means you may not have extensive knowledge of the local property market in France. This lack of familiarity with property types, construction techniques, and common issues found in French homes can make it challenging to accurately evaluate survey reports. Without understanding the nuances of the local market, you may struggle to identify potential red flags or assess the significance of the findings in your survey report.


    Solution: To overcome this challenge, you need to find an English-speaking property surveyor operating in France with many years of experience living and working in country. Their expertise will provide valuable insights that are easy to understand and thereby and ensure you make informed decisions based on both the current state of the local market and the survey report results.


    Read more: Is It a Good Time to Buy Property in the South of France?


    Limited Access to Surveyors

    Problem: Due to the fact there is no official surveying profession in France, simply finding and then securing the services of a reputable surveyor in the country can pose challenges, particularly if you are not physically present or lack local contacts. While it’s true that a basic survey known as the dossier de diagnostic technique (DDT) is legal requirement under French law, this only covers things like termites, asbestos, and the presence of natural or industrial risks rather than the structural integrity of the building.


    Ideally, you’re looking for a RICS chartered surveyor who trained in the UK and then moved to France to fill this gap in the market. However, finding such surveyors who are also reliable, experienced, and knowledgeable about working with international buyers can be difficult. As such, it’s important to conduct thorough research and identify surveyors who have a track record of delivering quality services to clients from abroad.


    Solution: Find a professional who is fluent in both French and English, as this will help facilitate effective communication throughout the survey process. You can look online to find English-speaking surveyors who now operate in France – though be sure to thoroughly vet your candidates.


    Read more: How to Choose the Right French Property Survey for You


    Legal and Regulatory Differences


    When conducting property surveys in France, it’s important to be aware of the legal and regulatory differences that exist compared to the UK. French property laws, regulations, and procedures vary from what you may be accustomed to at home. Nonetheless, understanding these legal requirements and potential implications is crucial to ensure compliance and protect your interests.


    Solution: Familiarise yourself with the specific regulations related to property surveys in France, such as planning permission laws, zoning restrictions, and environmental considerations. Additionally, if you’ve found an English-speaking property surveyor, you should consult with them about these issues. A good surveyor will be happy to provide all the guidance you need to navigate the intricacies of French property law to ensure a smooth and legally compliant purchase.


    Read more: Can You Buy a House in the South of France as a Non-Resident?


    Cost Considerations

    Problem: Property surveys are an important investment in the property buying process, but they can also add to your overall expenses – especially when you factor in other fees like notaire fees, estate agent fees, taxes, and currency exchange fees. As such, it’s essential to budget for your property purchase accordingly. The fees charged by surveyors may also vary depending on the size, complexity, and location of the property.


    Solution: The great thing about employing the services of a professional property surveyor is that they will help you with all your cost considerations and make sure you get the very best deal possible with your available budget. Additionally, the survey report you receive will put you in a strong position to negotiate with sellers over the asking price of the property.


    Read more: What Are the Hidden Costs of Buying Property in the South of France?


    Charles Mackintosh – RICS Chartered South of France Property Surveyor

    If you’re looking for a RICS chartered surveyor in the South of France who can solve all your problems, then look no further.


    Charles Mackintosh has over 30 years’ experience living and working in the region and specialises in providing highly regarded English-language property surveys and advice for overseas buyers. Get in touch today for more information.

  • How to Find and Engage a Reputable Property Surveyor in France

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    When it comes to buying a residential property in France, engaging a reputable chartered surveyor is essential for a successful and informed transaction – not least to ensure you won’t be in for any nasty surprises down the road once the deal’s done.


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  • How to Choose the Right French Property Survey for You

    Buying a property in France is an exciting endeavour, whether it’s a charming cottage in the countryside or a chic apartment in Paris. However, before you finalise the sale and purchase agreement, it’s crucial to conduct a building survey to assess the property’s condition and identify any potential issues.

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  • When to Get a Property Survey in South of France

    If you’re considering a property purchase in the South of France, you may be wondering when you should get a property survey conducted.

    While this will of course depend on the specific circumstances of your property purchase, in general, it’s in your best interests to have a survey conducted as early in the purchasing process as possible.

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  • What to Expect from a Property Survey in France

    No matter if you intend to buy a French property to live in or rent out for the tourist trade, the most sensible thing you can do is organise a building survey from a reputed chartered building surveyor with experience living and operating in the country.


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  • What You Need to Know About Renovating Property in France

    If you’re considering buying a property in the South of France, be it an apartment, a town house, or an older building, one option you may be weighing up is the potential of taking on a property as a renovation project.


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  • An Easy Guide on How to Get French Planning Permission

    Buying a property in France is the ultimate dream for many who picture their retirement years sipping fine wines on their sunny terrace, perhaps overlooking a glorious countryside filled with lavender fields, or a beach with gentle waves and golden sand.


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  • What Are the Hidden Costs of Buying Property in France?

    France is undoubtedly one of the most popular destinations to retire to in Europe. Indeed, according to a recent study, there are currently 150,000 Britons living in France, making it the second most popular European country for UK nationals (second only to Spain).


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  • How to Find the Right French Surveyor For Your Needs

    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.


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