skip to Main Content

Common pitfalls to avoid when buying Real Estate in France


There are several factors to consider when purchasing a home in France, whether you are looking for the perfect property, proposing an offer, or signing the Acte de Vente. Our guide will follow you through every step of the way, making sure you know what to do, as well as what not to! Here are the main mistakes to avoid while buying Real Estate in France.

Ask yourself the right questions, and you shall be answered. Underestimating the costs of renovation, purchasing a property without the requested surveys or permission certificates, a weak knowledge of French law, constitute all usual pitfalls one should avoid.

Pitfalls to avoid when property shopping:

At this fundamental step of the purchase, make sure you are critical enough, and that your opinion is not biased by the excitement of finding your match. Neighborhood, necessary renovations, access, seasonal changes, or downsides.

Depending on the nature of the Real Estate you should also know when and how to successfully complete your viewing. If it’s an apartment, do not hesitate to renew you visit once on weekdays and once on the weekend at different times let’s say.

Moreover, asking why the seller is selling cannot but be beneficial, in fact it can save your time and energy. Is it because of the bad neighbors? The noisy factory? The fresh divorce? The recent death of the previous owner?

Pitfalls to avoid when planning to undertake renovations:

Converting or buying an old property can be extremely costly. Reality will always be deceiving considering local builders and architects’ prices often vary depending on the location. So do not hesitate once when planning your budget and overprice the renovation costs so you make sure no extra-surprises will arise later. It will be then too late to cut short to the damages.

Pitfalls to avoid when planning permission or undergoing surveys:

Making sure the property has the right papers is necessary to stay in conformity. Extension of property, conversion of activity, all need a planned permission, so make sure it was already obtained in case of extension per example. An insurance guarantee is also to be considered, especially if the property is recent. Foul water drainage and sewer plumbing systems should also be verified: we will never emphasis enough about the importance of asking the right questions, at right times, and it applies here. A recent report concerning the drainage system can be requested in few cases, to study its compliance legally. In addition, if you are buying a complex with shard facilities, you should request a copy of the minute of the last year’s Annual General Meeting to study the coherence and preciseness of its management.

Appointing an architect to look over the property, in contrary to popular belief, is finally an option to consider. In fact, in contradiction to the diagnostic survey that is required by the seller, to get a building survey, you, as the buyer, should request it first. But don’t shy away! Our specialized team of professionals will gladly help you get through this process.

Avoiding common pitfalls while purchasing French property demands a lot of energy, time, and preparation. But if done the right way, it is totally worth the while. We tackle the legal aspect of this matter in the coming section. At Delcade, we got you covered!

About the Author :

Business lawyers, bilingual, specialized in acquisition law; Benoit Lafourcade is co-founder of Delcade lawyers & solicitors and founder of FRELA; registered as agents in personal and professional real estate transactions. Member of AAMTI (main association of French lawyers and agents).

FRELA : French Real Estate Lawyer Agency, specializing in acquisition law to secure real estate and business transactions in France.

Paris, 19 Rue du Colisee, 75008 Paris

Bordeaux, 78 Cours de Verdun, 33000 Bordeaux

Lille, 40 Theater Square, 59800 Lille

Back To Top