Tips for buying

  • 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 Continued Rise of House Prices in France

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    Hi there, and welcome to your South of France surveyor’s second article on the topic of how to go about acquiring a mortgage to purchase your new property in this wonderful region of the world.


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  • Mortgages for Your Overseas Property – UK Bank vs South of France Brokers

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  • Trends in the South of France Property Market

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  • What to Expect in a HomeBuyer Report from your South of France Surveyor

    During the process of buying a property with your South of France surveyor, you are likely to need a survey carried out to establish its overall condition.


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  • Consulting a Chartered Surveyor in the South of France

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