Sunday, 20 August 2017

Sunday, 20 August 2017

Should I have a survey report?

Some buyers – not many it has to be said, think about demanding a survey when they find their dream French house. They feel that it is the norm in the UK, and seek that extra reassurance.

Do you need that comfort blanket? Before answering, if you have a reasonable knowledge of houses you will probably back your own eyes and experience. Some agents offer the alternative of a local builder to express an opinion. The 'expert' in the bar is usually a bad idea, in our experience. If you have serious concerns you need a professional answer.

Ask the “surveyor”, (but beware they are not all surveyors), what they will report on, perhaps more importantly what is likely to be excluded and if you have any special worries, that they look at anything of particular concern or interest to you. Do ask in advance of the survey, rather than after it has been requested. In the grand scheme of things, a pre-purchase survey is a relatively small cost, typically a few thousand Euros for a medium size house. But that is a lot of money towards that new bathroom or other project that needs doing.

The Dossier de Diagnostic Technique (DDT) – the compulsory set of reports required before you can sign a Compromis de Vente (CdV) offers a wealth of information for a buyer. Some of it is limited, and some can be a little “over the top”, but very detailed information, a good base to start with. Remember though that these reports are measurements against new build standards for today, not a diagnostic of a C18th Manoir…….. So, use with caution.

Vendors are often wary of buyers requiring surveys. It is not common practice in France, and is frequently seen as a tool to try to renegotiate the price, therefore treated with suspicion. A good agent will take time to assure their vendor that requesting a survey is in fact a positive sign, since this is an investment on your part, an indication of serious interest. But it can create friction if not handled well. Negotiation is always a skill of diplomacy and good agents will broker a deal that suits all parties, the “win / win” scenario.

So, should you have a survey report? Yes, if it gives you peace of mind when confirming your choice of property purchase. But, as a warn of caution, many buyers who request a survey, then report back to us that they are proceeding in any case, as they were aware of everything highlighted in the report ...

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