Ten questions to ask when viewing a property in France

Ten questions to ask when viewing a property in France

The moment of truth when you are looking to buy a home is the actual visit to the sites selected on your shortlist. When you are viewing a property in France,  sometimes visiting more than one on the same day, seeing new faces and places, with a limited time to take it all in, it can be quite demanding on your powers of observation.

In a conversation with Nadia Jordan, an experienced property finder in France, we were discussing how difficult it is to keep your head when you have been searching for your future home and suddenly you drive up to that property that matches the ideal picture in your dreams. It is easy to get carried away in the moment and forget to ask the important information that will allow you to weigh the pros and cons objectively.

Even for the most organised househunter –dutiful taker of notes and pictures– when you are on the road and after you’ve seen a few properties the details of each can become a bit of a blur.

As a property finder Nadia represents the buyer, so she becomes their eyes and ears until they are able to come to France to see the property for themselves. It is very important in her line of work to get the details right. She mentioned that she keeps a list of ten questions to always ask an estate agent when viewing a property, so I asked her if I could share the list with you. Here it is.

Nadia’s list of 10 questions to ask the estate agent when viewing a property:

1. Why are the owners selling?

2. How long has the property been on the market?

3. Who owns the adjoining land and what is its status (agricultural or constructible)?

4. When was the roof last redone?

5. Are there any big infrastructure projects planned for the locality (motorways, wind farms, TGV lines, etc)?

6. Is broadband available at the property?

7. What fixtures, fittings and furniture are included in the sale? (i.e. cooker, kitchen and bathroom fittings, light fittings – the French often take everything with them, including the kitchen sink)

8. Where is the best place to get daily basics such as bread, croissants, etc? (usually there is a boulangerie or boucherie van that passes through the villages and hamlets at a certain time of day)

9. Are there any rights of way over the land?

10. Is the price negotiable and have the vendors had any offers so far?

I hope you find this list helpful. If you have first-hand experience of viewing a property in France, please feel free to share your experience.

Would you like to add a question to this list?  (Please add your comment below)

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Sylvia is a freelance journalist based in France, focusing on business and culture. A valued member of the France Media editorial team, Sylvia is a regular contributor to our publication.

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  • oz
    2015-08-16 13:00:41
    Are there loud barking dogs close by?


  • neville
    2014-10-31 18:45:13
    What are the neighbours like?


  • keneustice
    2014-10-17 18:01:47
    add to 10 questions. What are the taxes for the property? Has it air conditioning/ double glazing/ shutters? What is energy rating/ greenhouse gas emissions? Does the price include fees? What security is there? What services are there? Mains drainage or septic tank/fosse, if fosse is it a newish one under current law? How is the property heated, electric gas etc? What speed is the internet/ satellite TV? If Pool, is it salt water or chlorinated? Is it tiled or lined? When was it last refurbished (out of say 10 years renewal? Has there been an independent structural survey? Delete item 8, if you don'd know this, you have no homework at all.