• What Is a Diagnostic Report In France?

    Diagnostic Report In France


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    Are you considering purchasing a property somewhere in the beautiful landscapes of the French Riviera? As a buyer, it’s crucial to understand the intricacies of French property surveys and diagnostic reports. These surveys play a pivotal role in safeguarding both buyers and sellers by ensuring the health, safety, and environmental impact of a property – and some are required by law.


    In this blog, we explain what you need to know.

    Compulsory Diagnostic Reports

    Several property surveys are obligatory during property transactions in France. These surveys include a series of diagnostic tests are consolidated into a single file called the dossier de diagnostic technique (Technical Diagnosis File), or DDT for short. The DDT contains essential information about the property’s condition and includes the following reports:

    • Asbestos Inspection: Relevant for buildings with permits issued before July 1st, 1997. This report identifies any asbestos-containing materials within the property.
    • Wastewater Inspection: Mandatory for properties not connected to public water drainage systems. It confirms conformity to current wastewater regulations.
    • Lead Inspection: Applies to properties built before January 1st, 1949. This report identifies the presence of lead and its potential effects on health.
    • Electrical Inspection: For buildings with electrical installations over 15 years old. It outlines the state of the electrical installation in the property.
    • Natural & Ecological Risk Inspection: Pertains to properties in areas prone to natural risks like flooding or landslides. It certifies the property’s risk exposure.
    • Gas Inspection: For buildings where the gas installation is over 15 years old. This report outlines the condition of the installation, and what action, if any, is necessary to bring it up to standard.
    • Termite/Fungal/Insect Inspection: Mandatory in certain areas and recommended for buildings over 25 years old. This report identifies the presence of pests.
    • Surface Area Inspection: Required for communal properties, indicating the living space’s total surface area.
    • Energy Performance Inspection: Applies to all buildings. This report assesses the property’s energy consumption, environmental impact, and greenhouse gas emissions.

    Read more: What Is a DPE Report in France?

    The Importance of Diagnostic Surveys

    Covering aspects like energy efficiency, water drainage, and potential risks, the DDT plays a crucial role in providing buyers with essential information about the property’s condition in terms of its health, safety, and environmental impact.


    The DDT is required by law on all properties up for sale, and it is the responsibility of the seller to commission it.


    Buyers should carefully review the DDT and consider its implications on the property’s value and condition before proceeding with the purchase.

    Additional Surveys: Building and Structural

    While diagnostic surveys are mandatory and comprehensive in what they cover, they don’t encompass all potential issues with a property.


    As such, buyers can choose to commission additional building and structural surveys performed by a professional property surveyor, which must be requested and paid for by the buyer. These surveys are highly recommended, because it is only by having such an investigation carried out that you can be sure there a no serious structural defects to the property – or, if there any defects, how much they will cost to rectify.


    Having such information is crucial to ensure you don’t end up spending your life savings on something that will cost the earth to rectify and remedy – and to put you in a strong position when it comes to price negotiations with the seller.


    There are three types of building survey you can commission:

    Responsibilities of Sellers and Buyers

    Sellers are responsible for commissioning and paying for mandatory diagnostic surveys. Buyers, meanwhile, can opt for additional surveys to ensure a comprehensive understanding of the property’s condition. Buyers interested in building surveys should organise them to be carried out before signing a sale and purchase agreement to establish necessary repairs as a condition of sale and potentially negotiate a lower purchase price.

    Charles Mackintosh – South of France Property Surveyor

    Navigating French property surveys and reports can be complex but understanding them is vital to ensure you know precisely what you’re getting into before committing to a property purchase.


    These surveys provide essential insights into a property’s condition, ensuring transparency and informed decisions. While mandatory surveys offer a baseline, it’s the additional that provide essential insights into a property’s condition and empower buyers to make fully informed decisions.


    If you’re considering a property purchase in the French Riviera and are in need of thorough property survey, then talk to Charles Mackintosh.


    A RICS Chartered Surveyor with over 30 years’ experience living and operating in the South of France, Charles provides highly regarded English language property surveys and advice to overseas buyers. Get in touch today for more information.

  • 5 Things to Know about Planning Permission in France


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    For overseas buyers purchasing a house in the beautiful and charming South of France, commissioning a property survey is a vital step in ensuring everything runs smoothly and that you end up with a property that will bring you joy and pleasure – not.


    Purchasing a property in France, whether for personal use or as a buy-to-let investment, is a dream come true for many. However, if your intentions involve substantial renovations, rebuilds, or significant alterations to the property you’ve got your eye on, you need to understand the challenges and nuances of French planning regulations and obtain planning permission to turn your dreams into reality.


    In this blog post, we’ll delve into five essential aspects of theFrench planning permission process to help you navigate it smoothly and make informed decisions.

    1.     You Will Nearly Always Need Planning Permission

    The first thing to realise is that planning permission – or autorisation de construire – is a legal requirement for most construction projects in France. You will need to obtain consent from the local planning authority for any brand new construction on your land or property, as well as for any plans you have that would increase the external surface area of the building or create new surface levels. Finally, you will also need to obtain planning consent for a change of use for an existing property.

    2.     There Are Different Types of French Planning Permission

    Next, you need to understand that there are different types of planning permission in France.

    Depending on the scope of your project, you’ll need to submit either a planning application (demande de déclaration préalable) for minor works, or a works declaration (demande permis de construire) for larger projects to the appropriate authorities in the area.


    The table below outlines under which circumstances you will need to submit each type of planning application.
    Planning application or works declaration?

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    3.     Small Renovations May Be Exempt

    Of course, you may only intend to carry out minor renovations to the existing building – and in some cases you may not need to obtain planning permission to execute these works.


    Small renovations in a building under 2m² usually do not require planning permission and you will likely not have to declare your plans at all. However, larger renovations necessitate a déclaration préalable, while major projects exceeding 20m² mandate a permis de construire.


    It may not always be entirely clear exactly which type of planning permission you will need. As such, you should always seek a trusted local advisor to help you navigate the process and ensure you do not break any laws.

    4.     Local Regulations

    The next thing to remember is that regulations in certain areas will differ from locality to locality. Precisely what the regulations are in the jurisdiction where your property is located will be outlined in the plan local d’urbanisme (PLU), which will dictate what is permissible. The local planning authority, such as the local town hall, is your go-to source for understanding these regulations.


    Engaging with local authorities, seeking their guidance, and maintaining open communication throughout the planning process is essential and will help prevent potential roadblocks.

    5.     Conservation Areas and Legal Obligations

    Properties within conservation areas or near historical monuments are subject to stringent regulations. Obtaining planning permission in such areas requires adherence to strict guidelines – however, in reality, the chances of being granted permission to build or significantly alter any buildings in such places are extremely slim.


    Perhaps more importantly for your project, no matter where you intend to build, obtaining the necessary permits involves submitting detailed plans and adhering to legal obligations. Non-compliance with planning laws can result in legal action, hefty fines of up to €300,000, and even prison time in extreme cases – so always make sure you follow the law to the letter.

    Charles Mackintosh – South of France Property Surveyor

    Navigating the French planning system can be complex, especially for non-French speakers. Consulting a professional, like a trusted property surveyor with expertise in planning permission, can simplify the process and ensure compliance.


    Charles Mackintosh is the man you’re looking for. With over 30 years’ experience living and operating in the region, Charles specialises in providing highly regarded English language property surveys and advice to overseas buyers.


    For more information, get in touch today.

  • The Impact of a French Property Survey on Property Valuation

    french property survey on property valuation

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    For overseas buyers purchasing a house in the beautiful and charming South of France, commissioning a property survey is a vital step in ensuring everything runs smoothly and that you end up with a property that will bring you joy and pleasure – not pain and regret.

    Indeed, investing in a French property can be a dream come true – but it’s crucial to make informed decisions so you can avoid potential pitfalls and enjoy a hassle-free buying experience. What’s important is to have as much knowledge as possible about a property before you commit to purchase – as a property’s true value may be quite different from the valuation listed by estate agents or sellers. Often, the only way to reach the truth is by commissioning a completely impartial survey report from a trusted South of France property surveyor.


    In this blog post, we’ll delve into how a comprehensive building survey can significantly impact the valuation of a French property and provide overseas buyers with invaluable insights that are worth every penny.

    Ensuring an Accurate Property Valuation

    Property valuation is a crucial aspect of purchasing real estate. However, a valuation is not included in the Dossier de Diagnostic Technique (DDT), which is a set of very basic building surveys all French properties are subject to by law. Indeed, the DDT only covers things like greenhouse gas emissions, natural risks, gas installations, lead paintwork, and that property complies with health and safety laws.

    Read more: The Role of a French Property Surveyor Explained

    A comprehensive survey conducted by certified surveyors, on the other hand, provides an unbiased and accurate assessment of the property’s worth based on various factors such as its condition, location, and the current market prices. Armed with this valuation report, buyers can confidently negotiate a fair price, ensuring they get the best value for their investment.

    Unveiling Hidden Defects and Costly Repairs

    A professional property survey conducted by an expert brings to light any defects that may remain unnoticed during standard property viewings – crucial before any sale and purchase agreement is signed. These defects, ranging from structural issues to problems with damp and mould, can have a substantial impact on the property’s value. By identifying these issues early on, a professional survey report reveals precisely what’s wrong with the property and how much needs to be spent on repairs, so buyers are truly informed as to what they’re getting into – and how the costs of these repairs impact the valuation.

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

    Leveraging Negotiation Power

    A detailed building survey report serves as a powerful tool during price negotiations. Any significant issues uncovered during the survey can be used as leverage to negotiate a lower asking price from the seller. In some cases, a survey report can motivate the seller to address the identified problems before moving ahead with the sale – or even make additional improvements to enhance the property’s value. This negotiation power allows buyers to strike a deal that aligns with the property’s actual condition, potential, and true value.

    Charles Mackintosh: South of France Property Surveyor

    For overseas buyers eager to secure their piece of paradise in the South of France, commissioning a professional property survey is nothing short of essential. A professional survey’s impact on property valuation cannot be overstated, as it reveals all defects, ensures accurate property pricing, and ultimately empowers buyers during negotiations.

    The knowledge gained from a survey equips buyers with the confidence they need to make informed decisions and strike a fair deal on any property they wish to purchase. In short, investing in a property survey is the key to unlocking the door to a successful and rewarding real estate investment.

    If you’re currently searching for a reliable South of France property surveyor, then look no further.

    Charles Mackintosh has been providing property surveys and valuations in the South of France for over 30 years, and regularly coordinates renovation projects for properties in need of updating. 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 today for more information.

  • The Role of a French Property Surveyor Explained

    french property surveyor

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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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  • What to Do After a Property Survey in France

    Having a professional building survey conducted is a critical milestone on the path towards buying your dream French property. A chartered building surveyor will carry out a completely impartial assessment of the property before the sale and purchase agreement has been finalised, so you know precisely what you’re getting into before you sign on the dotted line.

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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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