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English Speaking French Advocates


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I am an American planning to purchase a house in France this year.  I am trying to find an English speaking French Advocate.  A British Solicitor is of little use to me since I am an American.  I plan to do some house hunting while I am in France on business.  I wanted to look at some houses in Brittany and Languedoc-Roussillon.  After selecting a house, I wanted to have it inspected [surveyed].  I want to insert a Suspensive Clause into the Compromis de Vente, stating that the sale is conditional upon satisfactory survey/inspection results.  

 

I have already attempted to find a reasonable Notary, but I am afraid none exist.  After telling one Notary that each inspection costs approximately 600 euros, he suggested that I take an Architect with me while I house hunt.  With these attitudes, I think it would be much better if I had a French advocate communicating with the Notary.

 

I have also contacted the United State embassy and received a list of English speaking Advocates, but none of the one that I have contacted has returned my email.   

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I don't mean to be rude here, but you seem to be setting out in a fashion different from the "French norm."  I'm sure you have your reasons for doing this.  Are you here in France?  Will you only be coming over for a short house hunting trip, not a long term living situation with house hunting done while living (perhaps renting) here?  This can affect the type of "service" / greeting you may receive.  The architect idea is not a bad one and they will have further contacts with other surveyors and inspectors.  However, I wish you luck in finding one that has the time to go with you on your house hunting excursions.  I do know one here in Provence, but that isn't the region in which you are searching... sorry.

Short of Paris, I think you may find it hard to get replies for this type of help.  You probably will find British Attorneys who MIGHT help you, but if they do not suit your needs, and the list the embassy provided you are not replying (no surprise) it may be hard.

Give this company a try.  Not sure if they work in the regions you are looking at, but they are very helpful and quite knowledgable.

http://www.skovgaard-europe.com/whoweare.htm

Good luck.

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Lori,

 

I do not reside in France.  I am a professor at an American university.  I plan to spend my summers in France. When I retire, I plan to spend half my time in the USA and half my time in France.  I do not know if you realize this, American house prices have been increasing 30% per year.  It is actually less expensive for me to buy a house in France and fly there, than purchase a summer house in the USA.  Plus, I enjoy France. 

 

Since I taught classes during the summer months this year, I free this Fall.  I will be in France for a conference in October and taking a couple of weeks to search for property.  During the time, I plan to look for housing.  I do not currently live in France, so multiple visits to properties are not a viable alternative. Nor does having an architect ‘tag along’ seem like a good idea to me.  Since I would have to pay for this architect to look at houses with me for a two week period, an architect could get very expensive fast.  Plus, in the short time I will be viewing houses, the Architect would not be able to carry out a very thorough inspect.  I know this because I am an engineer.  It would take me 3-to-5 hours to do an inspection.  I’d rather spend my time looking over houses for livability and talking to the neighbors to get a feel for a place.  Then hire a professional to inspect the house, while I am back in the USA.

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Well, it sounds like you have your plan set.  I'm sure it will work out for you.

As to house prices in the U.S.  I have heard about increases in California (where we are from).  We left a bit more than four years ago and have not returned, so I don't really keep up with it. 

Did you take a look at that website?  It is quite possible they might be able to offer you some assistance.  This is what they do..

There are a few others in France who do the same thing.  Just can't remember them off the top of my head.

Glad to hear there are still Americans coming to France, vacation or otherwise.

Again, best of luck to you.

 

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  • 3 months later...

Hi American

regarding the lack of response to e-mails.  Sorry this is a very French thing and especially so in the legal area.  lawyers seem to treat e-mails as very informal and in my experience rarely respond to them.  Best to phone write or fax.  My lawyer refused to answer e-amils (in French) and when I evenmtually plucked up the courage to phone, he said a fax was OK provided that I had signed it.

All a bit dark ages, but there you go.

Good luck

 

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Not sure if this will help because the company are actually UK based but with a fully independent French Department staffed by French lawyers.  The name of the company is Blake Lapthorne Linnell and their UK phone number is +44 (0) 2074211632.  Their www is: www.bllaw.co.uk and the head person is Philippe Piedon-Lavaux.

PeterCD

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  • 2 months later...

I think you have to start by throwing away the assumption that words/legal concepts move easily accross the Atlantic let alone the channel/manche in either direction. I believe a Notary in US legal speak is legally qualified person who will attest and seal a legal document subject to a set of well defined rules. You can really upset an English policman by saying "he is the man introduced to me as Phillip Marlowe eight years ago"  rather than saying "he is Phillip Marlow" whereas a Notary would praise you for your accuracy.

A French Notaire is much closer to a freelance tax collector and keeper of the french land registry. Until recently in the UK lawyers could not work on a contingency basis ( only be paid their costs if the won and then only from the amounts awarded as damages ) . In France even if you win a legal action you are not awarded costs.  The vast proportion of French notaires fees disappear in 'Social Security Costs' VAT ( not quite sales tax ) and other things wich do not end up in his or her pocket book.  

Suggets you buy 'Vital Issues'  - ' How to survive officialdom while living in France'  which tackles living in France from American view point. "The American's in Tolouse website"  if it is still running also gives a lot of useful advice assuming you start from a US basis. Found the link. The site has been running for at least 8 years.

http://www.americansintoulouse.com/

Sorry if the above seems a bit Xenophobic, my books shelves include well thumbed Jack London,  James Baldwin, Chester Himes, F Scotts Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway. On a good night I can rember who wrote both 'The Virginians' and 'The Virginian' . I can also whistle Rossini's William Tell Overture without bellowing 'Hi Ho Silver.

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Why are you looking for an avocat (if that is what you mean by advocate)?   They are like barristers in the UK and no use at all in property purchase.   You need a notaire, who is like a state official who will be involved in any house purchase (normally for both parties).   But you probably don't even need him until you have somewhere you want to buy......    Best would be to find a property you like and ask a local builder to look it over for you - surveyors don't really exist in France either.   The system is very different and it would be a good idea to familiarise yourself with it before you arrive.
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er - why are folks replying to this way after the guy was planning to be in France for a couple of weeks?  He's probably found out a lot more about how the system works by now and may even have already bought somewhere!
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