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Testimonials

The following are a selection of unsolicited letters of praise.

Stephen Smith – An Excellent French Legal Service

Stephen Smith – An Excellent French Legal Service

 

 

 

I visited France in May and found a property which suited my requirements exactly, and which I wished to purchase.

 

Prior to visiting France, I had obtained initial information from various French Legal specialists about the service they offered.

 

Even before engaging his service, I found that Stephen offered the most helpful and comprehensive notes to explain the legal process when purchasing a property in France.  He also offered:

 

  • The most competitive fees
  • The most inviting presales help and advice
  • Absolute fluency in French (including all legal and technical terms)
  • No (time consuming) intermediaries.

 

Having decided to purchase the property, it was important for me to start and complete the initial stages of the legal process whilst still in France.  Stephen sprang into action at a moment’s notice, even though he was extremely busy and had annual leave pending. 

 

Stephen:

 

  • Provided prompt, efficient and effective responses
  • Offered helpful advice and clarification to all queries
  • Communicated effectively with the French Estate Agent to overcome any language difficulties
  • Enabled me to sign the contract and undertake all the necessary legal processes before returning to the UK.

 

As a result of this service, a potentially complex and harassing event progressed smoothly and efficiently.  I have been very pleased indeed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

To whom it may concern.

 

I have had the fortunate experience of having Stephen Smith deal with the very complicated tax problems with regard to my late father’s estate and French Inheritance Law.

 

I have found him to be professional, prompt and efficient while remaining approachable and friendly with the additional bonus of having all our dealings being conducted via e-mail thereby saving the large amounts of time and money involved in waiting for mail to travel across the world.

 

If the situation with the probate and French Tax Authorities goes as planned, Stephen will also have saved the estate a sum in excess of £20,000.00.

 

Stephen will be used for any future property purchases in France thus ensuring that the same problems do not arise again.

 

Yours sincerely

 

 

Annette West

annette@eject.co.za


I chose Stephen Smith after telephoning a number of companies and discussing my particular requirements

 

 

 

I chose Stephen Smith after telephoning a number of companies and discussing my particular requirements.  We are purchasing a new build property and I did not feel that the process warranted the high, fully inclusive costs that were often quoted.  Stephen was prepared to listen to what I felt was necessary and to quote accordingly. 

 

I have been particularly struck by the speed of his response and the ease with which I am able to communicate with him either by phone or email.  I have always received a response on the same day of contacting him!   He has proven very knowledgeable about all aspects of purchasing property in France, and I noted with interest that some of his competitors even send his booklet as an introduction!

 

I am confident that our purchase will continue to run smoothly and would not hesitate to recommend Stephen to anyone purchasing in France.

 

 

Vanessa Anderson

 


Professional Letter

 

Dear Stephen

I am not normally moved to write to thank people for doing their job well, today, I make an exception. I would like to thank you for your care and attention to detail in every stage of the purchase of our first French holiday home.

I have been impressed with your speed of response, the detail of that response whether by e-mail, telephone or letter. Although buying a foreign property is never going to be a cheap exercise I do feel that your approach as to giving choice of fixed fee or payment for time spent does offer excellent value for money by comparison to other quotes received. The completion of our French wills with your thorough explanation as to the options available has left Sue and I without worry as to the future of our French property if the worst were to happen.

I have no hesitation in recommending your services and would be pleased to share my experience with any of your prospective clients, either by e-mail or phone. You can be sure when it is time for Sue and I to buy again, we will be in touch.

Once again, many thanks

Ron & Sue Smith. 

 

 

 

 


reference david last

 

I have had more than a little experience of dealing with UK lawyers who

claim to understand French property law and French lawyers.  My experience

to date has been expensive and time consuming.  This is not my experience of

dealing with Stephen Smith.  I only wish I had known of Stephen's service

when I first purchased property in France, I know he would have saved me

both time and money.

 

Not only are Stephen's responses very fast, they are also informative, I've

been kept up to date and informed of discussions with the Immobilier, Notaire

and Mairie almost as they have occurred.  I've also been copied on every

e-mail and document sent and received.

 

I have no reason to doubt that Stephen's final charges will relate to the

quote I received, based on his charges to date.  This compares to my

experience of dealing with a well known solicitor and his firm's French

connection.  Any link to gangsters is purely intentional.

 

I am particularly impressed by Stephen's knowledge of and competence with

French planning procedures as during the course of my purchase a number of

issues arose, with respect to work carried out without the Mairies approval,

that could have caused considerable problems at some time in the future.

Stephen was able to identify the issues and suggest a course of action to

correct the issues and protect my position.

 

Best Regards

 

David Last

David.Last@eurobenefits.com


When I bought a property in France some three years ago I decided

When I bought a property in France some three years ago I decided, to begin
with, to manage without an English lawyer. Having thought better of this
idea and after a false start with a London firm, I instructed Stephen Smith.
I was impressed by his grasp of the subject, the competitiveness of his fees
and the competent way in which he dealt with the tail-end of the purchase
and the drafting of a French will.

This year, having run into problems after the sale of the French property, I
again instructed Stephen Smith. The problem, involving a notaire who seemed
very reluctant to hand over the proceeds from the sale, has been sorted out
quickly and satisfactorily.

I have not met Stephen Smith but he is most pleasant to deal with over the
'phone, willing to listen to suggestions and obviously on top of his
subject.

I have no hesitation in recommending Stephen Smith to anyone contemplating
life in France.

Lynne Gray


wilkinson

My wife and I are just completing our house purchase in Provence. It is a long and winding road with numerous pitfalls for the unwary. Personally the two major problems were language and law. We quickly discovered that when you get to the nitty gritty we needed a much higher standard of French than either of us possess. We have read all the books on buying a house in France but they do not prepare you for the jungle that is French law. It is absolutely imperative to use the services of a bilingual lawyer and we certainly found them difficult to find, though if you read FPN one is given the impression they are legion.

At the eleventh hour I phoned Stephen Smith who has a refreshingly upfront approach. After a twenty minute telephone conversation we agreed terms, reasonable, and he entered the fray with enthusiasm. Within twenty four hours a number of niggling fears and doubts had been allayed or sorted out. Our notaire was prevailed upon by Stephen to change certain aspects of the compromis to further protect our interests. Stephen always took our calls and gave relevant advice when necessary, liased with our notaire at length, something we found to be extremely difficult as he spoke NO english and  French at a million miles an hour, doucement had little effect after the second sentence. Whilst in France, shortly before we signed the compromis, a land issue was brought to our notice by the estate agent. I could not contact my French notaire or Stephen, outside office hours, I left a message on stephen's answerphone outlining the problem. When he phoned me that evening he had faxed the notaire, vendors notaire and estate agent. The problem was sorted out, explained to me in plain english and things progressed smoothly thereafter.

French property purchase is quite a complex matter. In locating Stephen I found an extremely knowledgable ally, he removes a great deal of the stress from the situation and more importantly explains and solves the problems as they occur, needless to say without him the whole experience could have turned into a nightmare.

 

yours David Wilkinson

 

 

 


Fleck

 

 

My wife and I have been dealing with Stephen J Smith (France) Ltd since

January. He has been assisting us with the purchase of a property in

France and with the legal and taxation implications thereof. We have always

dealt with Mr. Stephen Smith himself. He has proved to be courteous,

well-informed and extremely efficient. His replies to our queries have

always been swift, despite the complications of different time zones and the

inconvenience of weekends. He has been extremely patient of our ignorance in

French property matters and has explained many issues clearly and concisely.

 

We have appreciated very much Mr. Smith’s ability and willingness to respond

very quickly to our needs, which have occasionally been urgent in nature.

His knowledge of the French legal system has been invaluable and his ability

to deal directly with both French Notaires and members of the French legal

system has been of crucial importance.

 

We are still in the early stages of acquiring a property in France and much

of the advice that Mr. Smith has given deals with issues of a longer-term

nature. However, it is not premature to say that we would gladly recommend

Mr. Smith’s services to anyone considering purchase of property in France.

 

Alastair & Marcia Fleck


Darby

 

 

I am currently buying a property in France and until I embarked upon this

venture I assumed, foolishly, that it was as simple as buying a property in

the UK. I was soon forced to rethink this decision and was fortunate enough

to come into contact with Stephen Smith.

 

Stephen has moved things along smoothly. His advice has been invaluable and

his knowledge of French law concerning property and inheritance has lifted

me out of the hole I was sliding into.

 

Prior to Stephen I had a conversation with a French lawyer employed by a

local firm, and although she was eager to help I found that her accent was

so strong that it was a strain trying to understand exactly what she was

talking about. Fortunately, this does not happen in Stephen’s case as his

English is faultless and his use of everyday English without legal and

technical jargon is a great help.

 

I have telephoned him many times and have always been able to reach him with

the minimum of delay. My emails have always been answered quickly,

frequently within minutes. His fees compare very favourably with other firms

that I have made enquiries of and I have already recommended his services to

people who are contemplating buying property in France.

 

I would have no qualms about recommending him to anyone who wishes to

purchase a French property with the minimum of fuss, delay and expense.

 

T. Darby

 

 

 

 


I am currently buying a property in France and until I embarked upon this

venture I assumed, foolishly, that it was as simple as buying a property in

the UK. I was soon forced to rethink this decision and was fortunate enough

to come into contact with Stephen Smith.

 

Stephen has moved things along smoothly. His advice has been invaluable and

his knowledge of French law concerning property and inheritance has lifted

me out of the hole I was sliding into.

 

Prior to Stephen I had a conversation with a French lawyer employed by a

local firm, and although she was eager to help I found that her accent was

so strong that it was a strain trying to understand exactly what she was

talking about. Fortunately, this does not happen in Stephen’s case as his

English is faultless and his use of everyday English without legal and

technical jargon is a great help.

 

I have telephoned him many times and have always been able to reach him with

the minimum of delay. My emails have always been answered quickly,

frequently within minutes. His fees compare very favourably with other firms

that I have made enquiries of and I have already recommended his services to

people who are contemplating buying property in France.

 

I would have no qualms about recommending him to anyone who wishes to

purchase a French property with the minimum of fuss, delay and expense.

 

T. Darby




As absolute novices in the process of buying a house in France, we decided

As absolute novices in the process of buying a house in France, we decided

that the money involved in instructing a UK based solicitor, who was a

specialist in this area,  would be well spent.

 

We contacted a number of companies from advertisements placed in various

magazines and finally decided to use Stephen Smith.

 

Throughout the transaction the response to queries and paperwork was prompt

and efficient.  Several changes were suggested by Stephen to the Compris de

Vente, all of which were accepted without question by the vendor.  The

purchasing process went extremely smoothly and was finally concluded in

March 2002, some ten weeks after our offer for the property was accepted.

 

We would have no hesitation in using the services of Stephen Smith (France)

Ltd should we decide to purchase additional property in France. We can make

no greater recommendation than that.

 

John and Sue Andrews


Embarking on a house purchase is likely to be one of the most stressful events in anyone's life, setting out to purchase a house in another country where the legal system is very different to your own and where the vocabulary used far exceeds what you have become comfortable with in normal day-to-day situations is even more scary still !!!

Having decided that we wanted to buy a property in France, and would be spending time looking seriously at potential properties, we immediately decided to "sound out" some legal advisers in the UK who might help steer us through the legal process before we started viewing. Stephen was the first to respond to my e-mail enquiries and provided a great deal of "essential reading" and advice even before I had agreed to formally engage him. The ability to opt for a fixed price fee meant that I could at least keep some level of control over this part of my house purchase budget, and better still this enabled me to do "like for like" comparisons with other companies providing similar services.

Once we had found a property, made an offer, and the Compromis De Vente constructed, Stephen reviewed it and provided detailed feedback on it's contents on the same day that he received it, so we knew that it was safe to sign!! Where else would you get that kind of service?

With Stephen's help we have been guided through the potential minefield of this purchase, comfortable in the knowledge that we have made all our decisions in full knowledge of the facts and implications as a result of his input.

I would highly recommend Stephen Smith (France) Ltd to others going down the same route, not only because of his competitive rates and knowledgeable advice, but mainly due to his attention to customer service and overall efficiency.

Shaun Mason


 

 

To whom it may concern

 

 

Dear Sir

 

I have been asked to write briefly on my experience of using the services of Stephen Smith of Stephen Smith (France) Ltd.

 

Background

 

I was in the position of having found a suitable property in France and wished to make an offer for the property.  It was necessary under the circumstances that an offer be entered quickly.  In the first instance I had found a firm of Solicitors who specialized in French property transactions, but quickly needed to dismiss this firm as they would not give personal advice particular to my case and more importantly would not deal with the matter in hand of making an offer in a timely fashion.

 

I contacted my own firm of Solicitors, a large provincial firm, who recommended the services of Stephen Smith.

 

The transaction

 

Stephen Smith by the morning following the day on which I contacted him, had a full offer letter faxed to the agents of the French vendor.  In doing this, Stephen had taken my telephone calls late into the evening of the previous day, going far beyond what I would consider to be the remit of a professional adviser.

 

The entire way through the transaction Stephen advised not only on the technical and legal aspects of the deal but also on the information and suggestions that were feeding through from the French agent.

 

Stephen put me in contact with professionals in France who advised on the property and who at the end of the day saved me a great deal of expense that was otherwise unexpected and denied by the agent.

 

Stephen was available to discuss matters on many occasions after I had already returned from work, and if unavailable at any time my calls were returned within only a few hours.

 


Conclusion

 

Having dealt with Stephen, I have had no hesitation to mention his name to contacts and friends alike, who are considering purchasing property in France or indeed have French property or tax issues.  More importantly, I have felt from a business stand point, that his expertise and attention to client matters is worth noting, and in particular given one opportunity to use his advice in connection with one of my own prospective clients, I had no hesitation of asking Stephen to advise jointly.

 

Should there be any questions, I would be more than happy to deal with them.

 

Yours faithfully

 

 

 

 

Neal Watkins

nealwatkins@cottageonthegreen.co.uk

 


Dear Stephen,

Now that we seem to be in sight of the finishing line, we thought it would be appropriate to express our appreciation for all the help and support you have given us over the last few months. As you know, we started this exploit from a position of profound ignorance, but have felt able to call on your expertise at any stage to guide us through the mysteries of French law and conveyancing practise, and you have made what could have been a nightmare into an enjoyable adventure - with even the occasional joke along the way!

Thankyou also for the speed with which you deal with queries and problems. It has been a great comfort to worried clients to have their doubts resolved so fast and with such efficiency.


With very many thanks, and kindest personal regards from us both,
Mary and Andrew Nelson.


Dear Stephen,

We initially contacted Stephen for a general discussion regarding the services he could provide us in our prospective house purchase in South West France. His depth of knowledge and network of other professionals who could assist us in the purchase of our house in France, so reassured us that we decided to engage his services.

Stephen liased with the French estate agent and a very difficult vendor on our behalf and gave us the benefit of his advice regarding the complex negotiations and I can honestly say that we would have been lost without him. In the end, we decided not to pursue our first house and even though we were now more experienced, did not think twice about engaging Stephen a second time. The peace of mind that comes with feeling you are in safe hands cannot be over stated!

Stephen responded very quickly to all our deadlines, often turning things round in seemingly impossible timeframes. Although I speak French reasonably fluently, nothing could have prepared me for the legal jargon, where oversights can all too easily be made. Knowing you have an expert legal adviser on your side is intensely comforting when the French legal machine swings into action.

Stephen's willingness to help, professional skills and customer focus were exceptional and we would not hesitate in recommending him to anyone seeking to purchase a home in France.



Nick and Lisa Dorey
01344 843833
ndorey@aol.com


Dear Stephen

Thank you for the work you have done in helping make my house purchase in France run so smoothly. I was particularly impressed by your speedy response on those occasions where I needed advice or opinions. I would have no hesitation in recommending you to anyone else I might know who is thinking of buying property in France.



Kind regards.

BB


Dear Stephen,

You have been a wonderful help through our problems, and as promised I
will certainly put your name forward to all our friends and business
colleagues.

With very best wishes.
Jackie Lochead


It was in February that I decided to move to France and because I plan well in advance, I started to look for a British Lawyer to help. I spoke to several firms, but it was Stephen with whom I felt most comfortable and also he responded perfectly reasonably when I asked some awkward questions about the difficulties of carrying out conveyancing on properties so far away. Moreover the Stephen Smith (France) Ltd website has so much more serious information than any of the others and I felt totally confident.

I was house-hunting from the November of that year and got close to buying twice before I actually did. This meant extra work for Stephen and he checked documents and telephoned notaires for me straight away when I asked. For the purchase I eventually made, I had to instruct a local notaire to act from Compromis stage onwards. The Estate agents wanted to handle this, but none of us could get on with their representative. I needed a letter of instruction for the notaire and Stephen was kind enough to dictate the form of words required. It was an emergency - I was about to walk away from the purchase! It was also the first time since my schooldays that I had taken a French dictée and the first time ever over the phone in a notaire's office.

He advised at every step of the way, was always contactable, responded promptly, and was , I felt, very, very good value for money.

Lesley Jolly.


As two people who both trained to be social workers in the days when that meant something, communication has been (and is) a central and vital phenomenon for us. We would like to thank and compliment you for the way you do business and have set your stall out to enable people to know enough to take and retain responsibility for their decisions.

With very best wishes

David Howes and Diane Williams


Dear Stephen

Please find enclose copies of our French wills as requested. We will amend our existing English wills in accordance with your instructions.

We just wanted to let you know how pleased we are with the services you have provided in relation to our French house purchase. We have felt ourselves to be in very safe hands, and the good humour and efficiency of you and your staff have made our dealings with you a pleasure. We couldn't be more pleased with the French house, and thanks to you the whole process was relatively hassle-free.

With very best wishes

Caroline and Mark


We do realise that we are not your only clients ( although you can make it feel like that ) and there are others depending on you to 'sort' their problems, so we hope that you will be able to enjoy some leisure when you are in France. We can hardly wait to get there as we hear that temps have reached -10 and there has been up to 20cms of snow, icy roads and large icicles in our part of Provence !

On 26th January I gave details of how we may be contacted whilst in France and I understand that at all times you may be reached through your Iswich office.

Enjoy your holiday,

With our best wishes

David and Jeanne Burgess


Let me also take this opportunity to thank you and your team for all your help over the last six months or so. Best wishes for the year ahead.

Julia Button


Dear Mr. Smith

Many thanks for all your help in buying our home in France. It all went to plan on Friday 19 November 2020 and we are very pleased with our new home.

Yours sincerely

John and Deborah Whittaker


Dear Stephen

I am glad to say that all went well although it seemed that the Notair (and the estate agent )were uneasy about the 'en Tontin', recommending that when we revisit him to collect the final papers we discuss inheritance and wills and then to possibly change it. I politely left it in the air. I would rather take your advice than his.

All in all it was a interesting experience.

I have not received your letter yet but will forward the due amount as soon as I do.

Many thanks for steering us through we will probably be moving to France around the 21st of October.

Regards

Roger A


Lastly, can I thank you for the personal attention and attention to detail that you've given our purchase; I'm still a little stressed now that we're into the home straight but without your help I'm sure I'd have even less hair !

If there are any places where I can recommend your services then do let me know and I'll drop them a line. One or two friends may be following in my footsteps and I'll certainly make sure they have your name.

Regards,

Mark


What a cracking good web site you have got. I wish all legal matters were so clearly explained. Well done.


Thank you for all the work that you have done for us.
Ann Tilman


Dear Stephen,

I completed the purchase on the 8th at the Notaires office, everything went very well & I am now pleased with the end result.

The Notaire was very helpful & the agent too .

I would like to thank you for your assistance with my purchase & I assume this concludes our business to date.

Thanks once again ,

Kind regards,

Richard Sweet.


Dear Stephen,

Thank you for your email confirming completion of purchase. I have already set up the insurances and will send a copy to the notaire as requested.

I would just like to take this opportunity to thank you and your team for all the work and assistance provided, it has been a great comfort to me to know that I had an experienced professional team looking after my interests.

Many thanks

Keith Wyld


30th July 2020-08-04

To Whom It May Concern

I have great pleasure in recommending the services of Stephen Smith and his team. At the beginning of the year I approached Stephen Smith Franc Ltd. To represent me in a potential purchase of a property in France, I have now successfully completed the purchase of my first overseas property.

From the beginning I was supplied with excellent information and guidance of the process and all following correspondence and communication was timely and prompt. At the appropriate stages I was given reports, by Stephen, as to the understanding of various documents requiring signature and how to action and respond to the documents for the notaire. It was a great comfort to me to know that I had an experienced professional team looking after my interests.

Should you require any further information I would be happy to be contacted.

Yours sincerely

KW


2nd August 2005

To Whom It May Concern

I can confirm that my wife and I used Stephen Smith's services to help us to purchase an apartment in Provence this June.

As British citizens with no knowledge of the house purchasing process, we found it invaluable to have Stephen and his team acting as a "two-way" facilitator between ourselves, our French estate agents and two sets of French notaries.

Indeed his advice enabled us to avoid making the mistake of purchasing a property with considerable planning consent issues, most of which were not being addresses by the French estate agents.

Subsequently we found an apartment which met our specifications and proceeded to a smooth completion.

Stephen's service enables British citizens to feel confident that they are following a clear, step-by-step process towards a risk-free purchase of a French property, instead of stumbling blindly in the desk.

Yours faithfully

PJP

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