Two options : find your home by an estate agent « agent immobilier » « agence immobilière » or directly by a particular vendor « particulier », « de particulier à particulier ».
If you visit the place with a real estate agent, he / she will sign a "bon de visite". It is a document that proves that you actually
visited the place with the agency. This document is useful for the professional (to prove he has actually done its job) but you also.
Beware, if you visit a home for the first time with an agency and that you sign a « bon de visite » you will need to purchase housing through the agency even though 2 weeks later you see it cheaper in another agency.
Take a tour agencies before, and if the owners also sell their home directly (probably cheaper since there is no agency fees) contact
the owners directly because after the visit with the agency you can't change.
You can request a visit to the home several times and if you've seen work to be done, you can also come with a professional to estimate the amount of work (remember that the estimate « devis » of this professional must be free).
If you buy a house, check in particular the so-called "servitudes" such a right of passage « droit de passage ».
A « droit de passage » means that the road that passes in the middle of your garden must remain open so that people
(neighbours in general) can go .... Clearly, it will always remain a little public and you do not have the right to close your path, it must remain accessible.
If the seller can not explain clearly the demarcation of the land, go to City Hall and ask to consult the "cadastre" or "plan cadastral" with the address of housing. You can also ask the council what is the level of urbanization of the area (in clear, will the council build a 10-storey building right in front of the house in 1 year !).
What is a « maison mitoyenne » ? Or a wall « mur mitoyen » ?
This means that the separation wall is common, often the roof is also common. In practice this means that you need to agree (and get on well !!) with your neighbors for the costs, repairs that affect the wall or roof.
The agency fees « frais d'agence »
If you purchase your home by a real estate agency, you must pay the commission agent. These costs are sometimes shared between the seller and the buyer, sometimes paid only by one or the other. As a buyer you can not decide.