Renovating a rundown old farmhouse or barn, a little cottage or even an abandoned chateau in France is an appealing prospect for many of us. For wannabe renovators, France offers a plethora of brilliant opportunities in the country, city and on the coast. Whether it’s a simple fixer-upper or a full-on restoration job here are some key tips for beginners to help make that dream renovation project successful.
Beginners Guide to Renovating in France
Before you buy: Do your research before you sign on the dotted line of the sale and purchase agreement…
Surveys: The notaire (French equivalent of conveyancing solicitor) will arrange for a survey but it’s not an in-depth evaluation like you’re used to in the UK. If you want a full structural survey then consider hiring your own surveyor.
Sources: Ask your immobillier (estate agent) or notaire for recommendations. Request validation that architects or engineers have the necessary qualifications for surveying.
RICS Organisation has a list of surveyors most of whom are British working in France. Click on box marked “Find a Surveyor”. Confirm registration to operate in France and have professional indemnity insurance for building surveys.
Be aware that there are often many caveats in contracts that act as a get-out clause for the surveyor should something be discovered later that was not picked up in the survey.
Consider hiring a local builder or “maître d’oeuvre” (building contracts manager) to take a look at the property. This should give you a good idea of the work involved and the costs of doing it. However you won’t get a guarantee this way.
A good survey may provide leeway for negotiation on the price of the property and can minimise risk.