Building Surveys

Buying a home is often the most important purchase of our lives. But, unlike most other purchases, there is no money-back guarantee or return policy if you later find out that it does not live up to your expectations.

The only way to avoid this is to have all the information in your hands before you go through with a purchase.

When you purchase a property in France there are a number of there are several compulsory diagnostic surveys that are legally required before a property sale can complete. These basic French building surveys check lead and asbestos levels, fungal or beetle infestations of any woodwork, and also include the Diagnostic Performance Energétique (DPE) test that relates to power consumption and insulation. They are commonly grouped together as a single report known as the Dossier de Diagnostic Technique (Technical Diagnostic File) or “DDT”.

What is not included in these mandatory surveys is a study of the building itself and any structural defects.

For peace of mind, most International buyers and increasingly many French buyers, also commission an independent building survey, which compliments the DDT and gives total piece of mind before committing to a sale.

“A pre-purchase surveyor can save you several tens of thousands of euros.”
Eric Merlier

What to expect from a Building Survey

For many years within Southern France Surveys Eric has carried out hundreds of building surveys. Surveys are shared as an oral report on site or, more often, a written report in the format of a RICS (Royal Institute for Chartered Surveyor) Technical Due Diligence report.

The survey will provide a list of:

  • structural defects to walls, roofs, and woodwork, and any external barns, buildings, outhouses, or pools
  • other considerations (external risks from surrounding properties/landscapes)
  • hard to reach roof diagnostics – carried out using an aerial drone
  • the evaluation of improvement projects

The information in this report puts buyers in a strong position to negotiate a price that reflects the true value of the property, taking ever detail into account.

Why choose Southern France Survey for your RICS Building Survey

Buying a property is a complex act. Especially buying on impulse that can turn into torment. I am at your side to give you an objective opinion.

Trained and insured in building pathology, Eric can inform you about the seriousness of the defects.

“From my experience of more than 20 years in the building industry as a business manager specializing in renovation and as a construction economist, I am able to assess the cost of restoration work at its fair price, thus allowing you to establish your overall budget. I will also estimate the cost of your improvement projects.”
Eric Merlier

Read how to book a structural survey and a guide to survey costs

Contact Eric to request more information about building survey services

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Frequently asked Questions about Buyer Surveys in France

What happens if you find many problems – but I still want to buy?

The conclusions of our reports are usually very nuanced and it is rare that the structural survey before a purchase results decision not to buy. More often, sale prices are renegotiated on the basis of evidence of the work that needs to be carried out to bring a property up to a modern standards; work which is often non-negotiable if there are structural risks, or a requirement of the purchaser, if they wish to continue with the sale.

What happens if I find problems with my house after the sale has completed?

In the event of a problem after the purchase, the new owner must bear the costs. The only alternative is to take legal action before the Tribunal, a long and above all very expensive process without being certain of the outcome of the trial. Therefore, the real estate inspection is part of a process of transparency, win-win between buyer and seller.

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