As you may have read from my other posts we're selling our house so I thought I'd write about the DPE (Diagnostic de Performance Energetique) Energy Efficiency Report and other tests required for selling your home. The DPE is Obligatory as are the other tests given the age of our house (circa 1850).
The Immo chap swiftly moved to contact 'his recommended' Diagnostic Immobilier' contact who would give us 'preferential rates' (hmmm).
So on Thursday Monsieur Diagnostic arrived with his clipboard (I have a thing about people with clipboards and shuffling paper - I could tell there was going to be lots of paper shuffling going on to justify the extortionate fee I was going to be charged).
Firstly I had to fill out the info about the house - not much. Then he went around room by room measuring the windows and doors and room sizes. Now this is an art in France. When does your 140m2 house mysteriously shrink to become 129m2? When Monsieur Diagnostic tells you that the ceiling is too low below the beams for that area of the room to be counted as 'habitable' or when you have an opening between 2 rooms with a door frame but no doors - not habitable but with no frame - habitable (same space!) Or how about when your room sizes are not square (as is the case in most village houses) well he just guesses and takes a measurement randomly across the room and says the rooms will average out!
He notes the double glazing, the fully insulated walls, the width of the exterior stone walls, the reinforced concrete floors, the floor coverings and shuffles his papers some more.
Next is the Electricite test. He gets a little machine and plugs it into your plug sockets. All ok. Next he takes the cover off our 'new & french electrician installed circuit board' and asks who is the Bricoleur in the house? Why we ask? Ah because you need to cut off this extra wire here as you are not using it on your circuit board. Well actually Monsieur - we have never taken the cover off and we won't be taking it off again...we'll leave that to the qualified Electrician thanks.
He looks for the Earth 'Terre' in the basement - it has been covered in the conduit and so cannot be seen. I show him the receipt to demonstrate it was replaced in 2007 at a cost of 228 euro. "I will note that I cannot see it" he says. Ok well I guess you have to write something on your clipboard.
Next he calls up another man who will check for Plomb...lead (necessary if house built before 1949). This chap arrives with a radar machine (Geiger counter apparently) and goes around the house zapping the placo ( I follow with a cloth later wiping the marks off my clean paintwork!). This chap also does his own clipboard notes & measurements. There is much discussion between the two of them about how 'bien fait' la maison is and 'avec gout'. Obviously this flattery is taking the sting out of the fee :) Eventually Monsieur Plomb announces he cannot find any lead in my paintwork but then tells me at length why it is important when we have children not to have any lead. I particulary like the hand gestures of the kids eating the paint. As we passed this test - the next home owner won't have to repeat this again...lucky them.
Back to Monsieur Diagnostic - After confirming 3 times there is no gas in our village, he concludes we don't need a gas test. Phew that's a relief!
Next up is Amiante - Asbestos (mandatory for houses before 1st July 1997). Now I know we have an asbestos pipe out of the roof & the used water pipe in the garage too. Both he notes are in good condition so no problems there.
Now for the one I'm dreading - Termites. As we're in the South, this is a problem area and years ago the house did have an infestation but was treated before we bought it. We've not seen any but you always worry in case the little critters have sneaked back in the garage. After much stabbing with a stick & pulling off shards of old dry wood he concluded 'anciennes traces' but 'non vivant' Thank Goodness!
Finally the check up of natural hazards e.g. earthquake, flooding etc - no problems for us and this is valid for six months.
And so to the bill...320 euros. Plus we await the facture from Monsieur Plomb which will no doubt be another 100 euro au minimum. At least some of the tests are valid for a while and Monsieur Diagnostic offered to come back free of charge to redo the termites test if the house isn't sold within 6 months.
As for the DPE - It came out Green which is excellent for a house of it's age. By contrast the village house we have bought which hasn't yet been renovated is big red G.
His main recommendation was to install solar panels to heat the water - fair point and he mentioned that he couldn’t see the Earth.
Is the buyer better off for this information? What do you think? I’m light on best part of 500 euro so I hope they are grateful whoever they may be!