What to Ask When Viewing a Property in the South of France

Think you’ve spotted your dream South of France property on an estate agent’s website?

 

We sincerely hope you have. But, before you get too carried away thinking about your new life in this glorious part of the world, it’s important – nay, imperative – to acquaint yourself with the full facts about the property.

 

To do so, you need to book a viewing, during which your number one priority is to weigh the pros and cons objectively.

 

Buying a home is daunting – especially in a foreign country. However, with the help of an experienced South of France Surveyor, you can conduct your viewing armed with the right questions to ask, to ascertain precisely whether or not the property is a good investment, if there are any issues that might create problems in the future and if it ticks all the boxes it needs to tick to make your South of France dreams come true.

Why Is the Property up for Sale?

This is one of the most important questions you can ask the seller.

 

Is it simply that they fancy a change of scenery? Perhaps they need a bigger house to make room for a growing family – or a smaller one now that their children have grown up and moved out. Or it could be that they are moving because they can’t keep up with the maintenance costs required to keep the house in shape.

 

You need to know the truth, as if it’s a matter of costs, then your dream home could soon turn into a nightmare just a few months down the line.

How Long Has the Property Been on the Market?

Dream properties with few problems at a good price tend to get snapped up pretty quickly. So, if this seemingly idyllic home in the South of France has been on the market for a few months already, you need to find out why.

 

Is the asking price too high? Are there issues other potential buyers have spotted that you haven’t?

 

Your South of France Surveyor will of course discover any potential problems, but it’s good to ask these questions and find out for yourself before you get too attached to the house. You can then discuss what you learn with your Surveyor and get the best advice about the potential pitfalls of the purchase.

Has the House Had Any Major Renovations Recently?

Again, your South of France Surveyor will assist you in gaining the full details, but it’s important that you ask the seller about any work that’s been recently undertaken – and ask for evidence, such as builder’s receipts or guarantees.

 

It’s also important to keep your nose trained while conducting your viewing. The musty smell of damp should sound alarm bells ringing. Similarly, a fresh coat of paint could mean the sellers are trying to cover up damp – or even cracks in the walls.

How Much Will Your Bills Be?

It’s all well and good finding your dream South of France property at a price you think you can afford – but can you keep up with the bills and other potential maintenance costs?

 

Property prices in France are generally lower than they are in the UK – and this can create the temptation to go for something that is bigger than you can afford in the long-term. Utilities, rates and the costs of maintenance all increase with the size of the house – and if you don’t do your sums correctly, although you may end up with a beautiful new home, all your money will go into running and keeping it in good repair, leaving you with little left to make the most of your new life.

Is There a Detailed List of What’s Included in the Sale?

There should be. White goods, garden fixtures, cupboards, hinges, locks, antennas – are these included in the sale? If not, then you will need to factor all such additional purchases into your budget, which could mean that you have less to spend on the actual property than you think.

 

You should ask if the seller can draw up and sign an inventory list, so you know precisely what’s included and what’s not.

Final Thoughts

This list is by no means exhaustive. The fact of the matter is that you must leave no stone unturned while conducting your viewings, as buying a home in the South of France is likely to be one of the biggest financial commitments you ever make. As such, the best thing you can do is enlist the services of a trusted Surveyor to assist you in the assessment of the property.

 

Charles Mackintosh has decades of experience working in the South of France property market and will be on hand to guide you through your options, help you ask the right questions, and ensure you find the right property at the right price in the right location.

 

Get in touch today for more information.