Good idea to get a builder to give the property a once over before buying?

9 Replies



Hi, we're thinking of putting in an offer on an old farmhouse (near Pamiers) but knowing nothing about French property we are thinking it might be wise to get a builder to look over it first?  I know there are official surveys the vendor is obliged to carry out, but never having bought a property in France before, we're not sure how much we can rely on them. Any thoughts?Also, any English speaking builder recommendations would be very welcome.CheersMike

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ashfieldsnowdrop 1464778396

The French obligatory survey Obligatoire, only looks at termites, risk of flooding, lead paint etc it is NOT a structural survey. We found an English Surveyor who lives nr St Chinian and paid him for a full survey, with formal report - just as we would get in UK. Easy to search for on web there is more than one wbsite through which you can locate an English surveyor.

Mike-Parry 1464804025

Great advice thank you. How much did you pay (if you don't mind me asking : )

ValDa (Aude) 1464898894

I would agree with this - the statutory survey is paid for by the vendor, and when there are problems, which the survey didn't indicated, the surveyor's client is actually the person who sold you the house - and not you. See my post on the other topic of employing a UK lawyer in a property purchase for more information.

Our statutory survey gave us an 'all-clear' on termites, and within a week of moving in we discovered we actually had a major problem! The surveyor did, eventually, organised a company to deal with the problem but only after we had reported his mistake to his Professional Indemnity Insurers (and named and shamed on here!).


Mike-Parry 1464899261

Thank you. Sounds like a mine field

phoenix1-537317 1465131047


I know a bit about old properties in that region. Its well worth while to have a Builder look it over. There are things like Asbestos that you might need to be aware of especially if you do renovations and rip it out wthout precautions. Another one to watch for is Capricorn beetles in the wooden beams. If you find these pests after you move in, it could cost you 5K to sort it. This is probably obvious but you need to make sure that the chimney is not a fire hazard and also is there a fosse septique or not ?, if not add on perhaps another 6K.

I don't know if I'm supposed to put the contact details of a builder on here but I will chance it. There is a a nice Guy named Kevin who does work around here . His number is 05 61 03 15 76.

phoenix1-537317 1465135275

Oh yeah, I just remembered a couple of other things that old houses around here offer, the first one is Loirs, you may know something about them but suffice it to say that if you have holes in the walls, the eaves, the roof etc, they will probably be joining you, so seal every hole up and makes sure there are no trees very close to the house and no Ivy. The other is snakes which I have discovered also appreciate a nice spot in the walls of an old house and might even turn up indoors as in the bathroom or a tiny cavity underneath the washing machine ! Owls too like old houses if they can find a way to get in under the roof but there is a plus to the Owls in that firstly the Loirs dread them and leave, secondly, the baby owls are very pretty if rather noisy from March to June. Did I mention mice who seem to love old houses as well because they always seem to find a way in and of course Ants who dutifully arrive every June. In the words of that famous football anthem "You will never walk alone" .

Anyway, its all well worth it if you love old houses as I do. Bonne Chance

Mike-Parry 1465394349

Thanks Phoenix, number noted

Mike-Parry 1466674052

Phoenix, did you actually get any work done by Kevin, and what sort of work was it?

tim08-487973 1470845256

Hi Mike,did you find a suitable builder for your project? If not mail me at  for more help.

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