The following are a selection of unsolicited letters of praise.
Stephen Smith – An Excellent French Legal Service
Stephen Smith – An Excellent French Legal
I visited France in May
and found a property which suited my requirements exactly, and which I wished
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.
Provided prompt, efficient and effective
Offered helpful advice and clarification to all
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
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
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
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
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
to date has been expensive
and time consuming.This is not my
dealing with Stephen
Smith.I only wish I had known of
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
e-mail and document sent and
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
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.
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
I have no hesitation in recommending Stephen Smith to anyone contemplating
life in France.
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.
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.
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
yours David Wilkinson
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
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.
& Marcia Fleck
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 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
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
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.
am currently buying a property in France and until I embarked upon
I assumed, foolishly, that it was as simple as buying a property in
UK. I was soon forced to rethink this decision and was fortunate
come into contact with Stephen Smith.
has moved things along smoothly. His advice has been invaluable and
knowledge of French law concerning property and inheritance has
out of the hole I was sliding into.
to Stephen I had a conversation with a French lawyer employed by a
firm, and although she was eager to help I found that her accent was
strong that it was a strain trying to understand exactly what she was
about. Fortunately, this does not happen in Stephen’s case as
is faultless and his use of everyday English without legal and
jargon is a great help.
have telephoned him many times and have always been able to reach him
minimum of delay. My emails have always been answered quickly,
within minutes. His fees compare very favourably with other firms
I have made enquiries of and I have already recommended his services
who are contemplating buying property in France.
would have no qualms about recommending him to anyone who wishes to
a French property with the minimum of fuss, delay and expense.
As absolute novices in the process of buying a house in France, we
absolute novices in the process of buying a house in France, we decided
money involved in instructing a UK based solicitor, who was a
in this area,would be well spent.
contacted a number of companies from advertisements placed in various
and finally decided to use Stephen Smith.
the transaction the response to queries and paperwork was prompt
efficient.Several changes were
suggested by Stephen to the Compris de
of which were accepted without question by the vendor.The
process went extremely smoothly and was finally concluded in
2002, some ten weeks after our offer for the property was accepted.
have no hesitation in using the services of Stephen Smith (France)
we decide to purchase additional property in France. We can make
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
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.
To whom it may concern
I have been asked to write briefly on my experience of using
the services of Stephen Smith of Stephen Smith (France) Ltd.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
With very best wishes.
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
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
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.
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.
John and Deborah Whittaker
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.
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.
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
I completed the purchase on the 8th at the
Notaires office, everything went very well & I am now pleased with the
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 ,
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
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.
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.
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.