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Buying French property: What is a diagnostics inspection?

 

Best practice | Purchase guidance

Buying French property: What is a diagnostics inspection?

 

If you're buying a house in France, you'll be pleased to know that the seller is legally required to have a number of professional inspections carried out on the property. Known as a diagnostics survey, the written reports (combined into a dossier de diagnostic technique or DDT), will be included in the deed of sale.

 

Read on to find out more about French diagnostic reports, what's included, and what else you should consider before buying your dream home in France.

1. What is covered by diagnostic reports?

In France, having a diagnostics inspection on a property for sale is a legal necessity, although this does depend upon the importance placed upon them by the particular Department or local maire.

There are up to nine diagnostic inspections that can be required from the vendor before completion:

 

  • asbestos

  • drainage

  • electrical installations

  • energy use/carbon emissions

  • gas installations

  • lead

  • natural risks (flood, forest fires, earthquakes, mining and land pollution)

  • timber infestation (termite report).

 

Some regions now also check safety aspects of the property's swimming pool, including chemical storage and water disposal.

Inspections carried out are listed in the compromis de vente (the initial contract between the seller and the buyer) and your legal adviser will explain their importance to you.

2. Who pays for necessary building work?

While useful for understanding more about what you're buying, it's important to be aware that the reports are promoted as advisory documents only. In practice, this means that the seller has no responsibility to rectify any issues found, with the exception of timber infestation problems.

What's more, it's becoming increasingly common for notaires (public officials who oversee the property transaction process) to provide a time frame for the buyer to rectify post-purchase any health and safety issues raised within the DDT.

The bottom line is that most issues raised within these diagnostic reports will be your responsibility to fix after you buy the property, and need to be considered as part of your overall budget. 

3. How do I know where to start?

When it comes to fixing these issues, how do you know what the priorities should be and how much it will cost? 

An independent surveyor will be able to help. They can analyse the diagnostic reports for you, giving practical recommendations for rectifying issues, highlighting priorities and indicating associated costs for building work, so that you can plan your required spend.

 

A good survey will also provide a technical report on areas not covered within the diagnostic inspections: general condition, issues of damp, and any structural defects, giving you all the information you need to make an informed decision on your new home. 

How can we help you?

 

Before you buy your new home in France, find out how we can help you.

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