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Hidden costs of diagnostics

WHEN buying a property, remember to factor in potential costs due to problems flagged up by the diagnostics

WHEN buying a property, remember to factor in potential costs due to problems flagged up by the diagnostics - the obligatory professional check certificates.

While most work suggested in these is a recommendation, not an obligation, you are required to meet good safety standards if you plan to let out the property (and, of course, you may wish to have the work done for your own health and safety).

The seller must give copies of diagnostics on signing the compromis de vente. Do not expect perfection in older buildings - however significant problems should suggest a rethink or further haggling. Potential costs and considerations of diagnostics include:

* Septic tank: if it is a hazard you must have it put right in a year - about €10,000 according to the magazine Le Particulier.

* Termite infestation: c.€1,500-3,000.

* Electrics: in a two-bedroom apartment, a defective system can be made to meet minimum standards for c.€1,000-€2000 (three times as much for the latest norms)

* Lead: Relates to lead paint, and only exceptionally is there an obligation to put it right. Often it is only on limited areas, like balconies. Having areas repainted is around €35/50/m2 of wall.

* Gas: work is mainly required where there is serious, immediate danger - and in this case it is up to the seller to pay.

* Asbestos: where this is found, especially if it is in a poor condition, it can be advisable for health reasons, to have it removed - €5,000-€7,000 for a 70m2 roof.

* Energy performance: considered poor if graded E, F or G. Such a building will be costly to heat and you may need to install double glazing/insulation etc.

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