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Buying a property in France

Having identified the property that you wish to buy, it is highly recommended that you appoint a Chartered Surveyor in France prior to you entering into the first stage of the buying contract, known as the ‘compromis de vente’. Specific legal advice should be sought as this is a legally binding contract that usually requires the payment of a 10% deposit that may be forfeited in the event of you withdrawing from the purchase.

In France, the vendor is required to provide diagnostic reports, collectively know as the Dossier de Diagnostic Technique including the following items: Asbestos, Lead, Termites, Energy Efficiency, Natural or Industrial Risks, Gas Installations, Electrical Wiring and Septic Tank.

However, the Dossier de Diagnostic Technique does not in any way report on the structural integrity and overall condition of the property.

The advantage of appointing a Chartered Surveyor in France to undertake a Survey prior to you entering into the binding acquisition contract is clear. The Survey provides you with a clearly written, jargon free report, that details and ranks any defects according to their level of importance, in order that an overall evaluation can be made. It also identifies matters that should be addressed with your solicitor, for example any boundary issues.

Armed with the Survey Report, you are then best placed to make a full evaluation and understand exactly what you are buying. This will facilitate your negotiation with the vendor. You may wish to proceed, fully informed as to what you are buying, with peace of mind. Alternatively, you may wish to utilise the survey information in your negotiation to take account of necessary repairs etc. Either way, with the benefit of a survey, you will be able to make informed decisions based on facts. In addition the Survey Report will help guide future planned maintenance to reduce costs.