These pages answer some frequently asked questions about our services. Please read our disclaimer. Please feel free to raise any interesting points you may have. Just contact us. This is not an advisory service but we are happy to informally exchange views on interesting points raised. Just click here.

Frequently Asked Questions - 1

  • Can you buy something for me in your name?

    No. This is a way to circumvent the law and, as such, is prohibited. Anyone who offers to do that for you can go to prison, the property can be confiscated, and your money lost. We don't do that kind of thing.

  • Do we need to meet with you?

    No. We are used to dealing with clients from all over the world who are not able to meet with us in person, and everything can normally be done by e-mail, fax, phone or post. However, we would always be pleased to meet with you and discuss matters personally if that is more convenient to you. If you feel you really would like to meet up, an appointment can be arranged but you would need to discuss this with us first: we would have to charge expenses or a fee should we have to take the time to travel to see you.

    Please note that French authorities will require evidence of your ťtat civil. This is the description of an individual by reference to his or her parentage, date and place of birth and marriage, the regime matrimonial under which he or she was married, his or her divorce and remarriage, nationality etc. In France a married woman is known by her maiden name, 'wife of' her husband. If you are more than one buyer, the obligations which you undertake can be enforced against you all jointly or against each individually. If you intend to buy in the name of one or more individuals, you must provide - so therefore please let us have - a photocopy of the first 6 pages (if you have an old blue British passport) or the last 2 pages (if you have a new red British passport) of the passports of all the proposed buyers. You will also be required to provide photocopies of your birth certificates and, if appropriate, photocopies of your marriage certificates or photocopies of your divorce decrees. If you have mislaid or destroyed any of these documents, certified copies will be required. The French authorities sometimes require that such certificates be not more than 3 months old. This means that the certified copy of the UK entry of the relevant event must have been issued not more than 3 months before its use, and it is quite useless explaining to the French that such a certified copy issued many years previously is equally valid as proof of the event related in it. French translations may also be required.

  • Do you have someone who speaks French?

    Yes, bilingually. Just contact us.

  • How are you paid for your services?

    We have a commission-sharing arrangement with our counterparts in France. Most French estate agents pay us a very similar amount, so there is little reason for us to favour one agent against another, except for reasons which would be in your best interests.

    Information is sent to clients free of charge by e-mail only. We do not copy any of our material any more onto paper. This saves an enormous amount of time and cost.

    We recognise that no client has money to waste. We therefore try very hard to minimise the cost to our clients. Being specialists helps us to do this. Doing something for the hundredth time is always faster - and thus cheaper - than doing it for the first time. We have introduced a range of ways of paying for our services. Please pick the way that suits you best.

    In most cases we will quote you a fixed fee for dealing with your work. For example, our fee structure for an introductory meeting is £100 for a two- hour session at our offices in Ipswich (the same rate applies for a telephone discussion). A two- hour introductory meeting or telephone discussion is normally sufficient to cover a very large amount of ground. It will point you in the right direction - we may then discuss what further help you require and effect all necessary introductions. We suggest that you make a list of all of your questions whilst reading information from our lists of FAQ's to use as an agenda

    We can also help in many other ways always at a reasonable price. Please Contact Us for further advice or to book an appointment. If you do decide to choose our services, please let us know as soon as possible so that we can provide you with a quote.

    If you do not wish to proceed on a fixed- quote fee basis, we will agree with you a method of charging on a time-spent basis. Our hourly rates are competitive within this specialist marketplace. In many cases, a preliminary budget of (say) £500 can be agreed beyond which we will not exceed without your express authority.

    The basis upon which we undertake any work is that we ask all our prospective clients at the outset for a certain amount of money on account of our likely fees and disbursements. Most clients are willing to accept this arrangement.

    Providing translations of any of the relevant French or English documents will incur further fees. Our basic translation charges (French to English or English to French) are £250 plus VAT per thousand words. Other factors such as urgency, undue difficulty, highly specialised or barely legible texts may be taken into account. Accurate estimates of fees and completion times are more easily given on sight of the relevant texts for translation.

    Courriers fees and other possible out-of-pocket expenses incurred on your behalf are made at cost and we make no profit from them. Before such expenditure is incurred, it is a requirement that you provide sufficient funds to cover these expenses. We will try to give you as much notice as possible of payments that may be required.

    We will also have to pass on to you the cost of any surveyors fees, bank charges and the like levied in respect of your particular transaction.

  • How can you help me?

    How long is a piece of string?! If you want to buy or rent a property in France, FPS will be invaluable in helping you with the minimum of fuss and problems. Frustrating delays are easily avoided by instructing our bilingual team to help with all your French concerns. For example:

    • We can help you find a suitable property anywhere in France.
    • We are here to help you on a totally independent basis and can therefore help you to negotiate the best price.
    • We can discuss all the implications with you to ensure that you are fully aware of what you can do to make the transaction as easy as possible. Most issues are covered in our lists of FAQís.
    • We can report to you throughout as your transaction progresses.
    • We can discuss in whose name the property should be bought. A number of people buying in France have complications with children and ex-spouses. It is vital that in these and other circumstances you have expert help in dealing with any possible problems at the outset, i.e. before you make a legally binding purchase commitment. It is normally possible to solve and avoid mot problems, if they are looked at soon enough.
    • We can recommend and introduce you to professionals in France or the UK for all your legal, tax, financial, survey and insurance requirements.
    • We can help you if you are considering earning money from French property.
    • We can help you with translation (although we do not translate legal documents, we know who can) and any other technical problems.
    • We can also help you with accountants in France, advice on UK/French taxation, solving French legal disputes, bank accounts in France, builders quotes, general practical advice, paying bills, planning consents, SCIís and other property-holding companies and many other topics.
    • If we canít answer your question, we know someone who does!

    Our aim is to make the expertise of our company available to provide a comprehensive and unique service to serve the highly specialised needs of our clients.

    Everyone at FPS endeavours to maintain minimum standards of case management. The relevant standards are:

    • All telephone calls are returned within 24 hours.
    • All correspondence is replied to within 24 hours, but if the reply requires prolonged consideration a short acknowledgement is sent and a full reply within five working days.
    • All letters received from other persons in your case (other than those which relate to merely routine matters) will be sent to you within five working days of receipt, but if any letter or document requires prolonged consideration the full comments on the other personís communication may take up to ten working days to send you but no longer.

  • I donít want to receive any mail in my country concerning this property. Can you arrange that?

    Yes. Just contact us.

  • I want to launder money. Can you help me?

    No. We have never been and will never be involved in that kind of activity.

  • If you refer us to other advisers, do you get anything for that?

    No. It is not our policy to seek any direct rewards for referrals to lawyers or other third party firms. We also refuse any such offers on principle - as we are Proud of our complete independence. We do not charge fees to firms appearing on our Links page nor have any direct involvement in any firms listed there. Equally, no firm or individual is listed there if any adverse information comes to light from any FPS client using their particular services.

  • Is the price I see on the web site all I have to pay?
  • Iím afraid of the red tape and paperwork. Can you take care of it?

    Yes, we can take care of all the paper work: authorizations, permits and whatever else is required by law. You just have to give us a proxy (we can prepare this for you) to act as your representatives and even if you're not here in England or France, we can do everything, provided you pay the purchase price and give us the correct information.

  • What else can you arrange?

    For no fee we can immediately recommend and introduce you to:

    • French notaires
    • Independent lawyers in the UK who specialise in French property, succession law and inheritance tax matters (we strongly recommend that you take their advice before making a purchase commitment)
    • Surveyors, valuers, architects and builders throughout France
    • Banks and other lenders
    • Insurers

    For little or no fee, we can also arrange most other things such as paperwork, permits, furniture, finding that special present you want to take back. In most cases our fees are saved many times over by the savings that you are able to make.

  • What is so difficult about buying French property that I need your help?

    • The French language and culture (we know both very well). If you speak English only or non-fluent French, you can be at a disadvantage. The French know their laws, they expect you to know them as well. You may find it hard to believe, but you will receive no or very little advice from anyone in France, to include your notaire and/or accountant. All our clients come to them knowing exactly what they want.
    • The marketplace for French property (we know this very well). The French property market is almost always in motion and only on-the-ground expertise will get you in at the right price.
    • French law (we know this well). Unfortunately, it just isn't as easy as it is in the UK, the USA or other English-speaking countries.

    We are experienced with the complexities and vagaries of the French property market. We maintain an electronic database of available properties anywhere in France and can \"tweak\" that database to find properties that will interest you. We know how hard it will otherwise be for you to find, negotiate and buy from hundreds, sometimes thousands of miles away. FPS is on-the-ground throughout France and prepared to assist you starting today. We are technologically sophisticated and keep you closely informed during this exciting, but demanding endeavour. Please read through all the FAQ's on display. Then you will realise that our assistance will be invaluable before, during and after any transaction.