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There was a story about this in the Mail on Sunday, apparently, which as evidence quoted a UK solicitor (the same one that contributed the article referred to here recently about buying in sterling) who said that he would, under a competitive regime, be able to undercut the fees charged by a notaire for the purchase of a £10million property with which he had been recently involved - he thought the notaire's statutory 1% of the purchase price was excessive.

On more realistically priced houses I doubt if anybody will realistically offer a better deal than the established notaire system. The legal fees seem high, but the vast majority of what we pay goes on taxes, including the French equivalent of stamp duty and Land Registry fees, and I believe the notaires enjoy a degree of government subsidy anyway. 

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