Do I need to get a survey done on my French house?

Written by: Graham Gilbert Date: 19 February 2007

It's true that most French buyers do not get a full structural survey of a house carried out before they buy, but we would advise prudence here.

This relaxed approach sits well with the easy-going French quality of life we all aspire too - but rather like marriage, commit yourself in haste, repent at leisure. If you waste your precious life savings on what turns out to be the house from hell, your dream home will become a nightmare.

‘Getting a survey done’ is not part of the official process in France so if you want this extra reassurance you must have it done before you put in an offer – offers cannot be made ‘subject to survey’ as they are in the UK!

Most French buyers just ask a local architect or builder to give them their opinion, but the only specialist reports cover lead paint, asbestos and depending on the region, termites. French estate agents don't push you to get a survey done because they don't want a straightforward transaction to be disrupted by a 'nitpicking' surveyor unfamiliar with the local forms of construction and the French language.

But a full structural survey will let you know quite literally where you stand and enable you to budget confidently and plan your finances. Moreover, there are now many British surveyors offering their services in France and they are both familiar with local construction techniques and bilingual. We have a list of these professionals - contact us for details before you make an offer!

We'd love to hear from you!

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