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Property Surveys

French Property Surveys - Diagnostics Techniques 

On signing the sale and purchase agreement, a seller should provide a buyer with all information relating to the technical condition of the property, and attach the survey reports in accordance with the existing French real estate legislation. As of November 1, 2007, when signing the sale and purchase deed to buy the real estate in France, the following survey reports are obligatory:

      • for the apartments: its total surface area (Loi Carrez)
      • the results of legally required reports:
      1. checks for lead, asbestos, termites in the property
      2. electrical wiring and gas installation reports
      3. energy and gas efficiency report
      4. natural risks statement depending on the object location zone.

The purpose of surveys is to inform the buyer about conditions of the acquired real estate. Deviations from the standards, revealed by the examination, are not the reasons for the seller to carry out the work on their elimination, except for cases when a high concentration of lead is detected, then a repair work is obligatory. In this case, the seller and the buyer should come to a mutual decision at the cost of whom, the seller or buyer, the property will be repaired. This may be a reason to reduce the sale price, or refuse a purchase.

Technical surveys in France are obligatory undertaken by qualified experts, with a certificate of competence approved by COFRAC (Comité français d'accréditation). The buyer has the right to demand a cancellation of the sale and purchase deed in the court or to reduce the price if the real state of the property does not correspond to the information contained in the survey reports.

Measurement of the total area (Certification de surface Loi Carrez) is carried out in residential property with an area of ​​not less than 8 m². It does not include the area of ​​the garage, basement, pantry, etc. The period of the validity of the report is not regulated. The difference in the stated and actual surface area can not exceed 5%. This report is not obligatory for the sale of an individual house.

A survey on the presence of asbestos (Etat amiante) is undertaken to all buildings built in France before July 1, 1997. Floors, wall coverings, partitions, beams, ceilings, floor tiles, shutters, sewer pipes, elevators, cellars and garbage collection facilities in common areas of the residence, as well as load-bearing structures and roofing in individual houses are subject to control. The period of the validity of the report is not regulated.

A report on the presence or otherwise of paintwork that contains lead is called Constat de risque d'exposition au plomb. This survey requirement applies to all properties built before January 1, 1949. In the absence of lead the period of the validity of the report is not regulated. In other cases, the report is valid for 1 year.

A report on the presence of termites is only required within designated areas of the country. The local city hall (mairie) will be able to advise you whether the property is located in one of these areas. The survey is called the Etat des risques parasitaires. The report is valid for 3 months.

The statement of natural and technological risks (Etat des risques naturels et technologiques): inspection of buildings and land plots is obligatory in the zones where there is a risk prevention plan in place or in preparation, or in those areas classified as at risk of seismic movement (information can be obtained from the city hall). The certificate is valid for 6 months.

The survey of energy efficiency and level of carbon dioxide emissions (Diagnostic de performance énergétique et GES) is carried out in the residential property. The report is valid for 10 years. This is general information that does not affect the sale and purchase process.

A report of the survey on a natural gas installation (état de l'installation intérieur de gaz) in the property applies to those properties where the gas installation has been set for at least fifteen years. The period of validity of the report is 3 years.

The electrical wiring (Etat des installations intérieures électriques) is checked in the residential premises equipped with electricity more than 15 years ago. The report is valid for 3 years.

Starting with 2013, when selling real estate in France, the owners should bring the individual sewerage system (état des installations d'assainissement non collectif) up to standard if it does not comply. The sewage examination is obligatory every 8 years.

Independent expert examination of real estate in France

When buying a property in France, upon the request of the buyer and before signing the sale and purchase deed, an independent expert can estimate the price of the property. When determining the market value of real estate, the following parameters are taken into account:

      • Property setting and planning
      • Property location and surroundings
      • Position on the real estate market
      • Quality and general condition of the property
      • Level of comfort
To value the property an independent expert makes a comparative analysis of real estate market, and, based on the database, he/she can give an objective appraisement of its value.

Upon the buyer request and before signing the sale and purchase deed, an independent construction expert can undertake technical surveys of the apartment, villa or land condition and provide a full report to the buyer.