Property Alert


My wife and I had a hard time finding a house in the inland area of the Alpes Maritimes, which we knew very little about. Fortunately, we met Alistair, whose knowledge of the area and extensive real estate experience helped us a great deal. He quickly understood what kind of house and environment we were looking for, and quickly selected the houses that were likely to match our requirements. Thanks to him, we saved precious time and avoided a series of unnecessary visits. His assistance in negotiating the purchase was also very effective, and we were able to proceed with peace of mind. We would not hesitate to recommend him to anyone looking for a property.
Christian, Saint Barthelemy
December 13th 2023
"Alistair worked tirelessly to help me navigate the mysterious world of French residential real estate. I was slightly nervous about buying a house as a newcomer to France but couldn't be happier now that I'm staring out my window at a sunny, peaceful view. I really love my house! Alistair translated what I wanted into where I've ended up. Not only was he fluent in French and in the unusual process) but he dealt with everyone from sellers, agents, the notaire, my bank, insurance agents, and even potential resources for work I planned for after the purchase. We explored many homes and neighborhoods in and around Lorgues (after a long discussion to be sure that was where I wanted to be) and I ended up 2 km from downtown but in a super peaceful, pastoral, country setting. I would never have survived the bureaucratic (and emotional) process without Alistair's help. I have some friends who are contemplating a similar purchase and I've already introduced them to Alistair. I wouldn't hesitate to do the same for anyone. Misleading advertising and a somewhat arcane system mean purchasing French real estate can leave foreign buyers at a big disadvantage. Smartfinder is a very good solution for the problem."
Marnie Delaney, US - California
December 10th 2019
"Absolutely delighted with Alistair. He listened to us and produced a number of possibilities (even then, we must have looked at around 20 with him). He finally tipped us off about one which hadn’t even yet been advertised. It has turned out to be absolutely marvellous and just what we were looking for. He knows the area, he knows the culture, he knows what’s what and is a pleasure to deal with. After a total of five years in the area we have heard a large number of horror stories about buying houses, and the help of someone like Alistair is highly recommended. He also helped with the legal complexities of purchasing. Highly recommended!."
Chris and Alison, Var
October 9th 2019
I was extremely daunted at the prospect of buying a property in France but from start to finish Alistair made the process understandable and simple. I had been going directly to estate agents but found this confusing, time consuming and difficult. I decided to use Alistair to simplify the process. I gave him my requirements and he then did all the hard work of finding suitable properties. Within a short space of time he found my dream home and I moved to France ! - He was always available when I needed to ask questions and for his advice. - He dealt with the property agents and notaire for me throughout the buying process, alleviating much of the stress ! - He has also supported me after the sales process, answering queries, and contacting agents or notaires if required. Alistair has given me advice and help on so much more than buying properties in France and I am eternally grateful for that. I have now used Alistair for 3 property purchases in the Var and in Cannes and would use him again in a heartbeat. I thoroughly recommend him for his expertise and knowledge of the property market. He is personable and professional and has always gone above and beyond what is expected of him
Claire Randall, UK
May 1st 2019
The services provided by SmartFinder Home were as great as one can only imagine. Right at the beginning I was asked to give my ideal desired property in every detail. Then over time I received a "long list" of around 40 proposals to my key specifications. From that I selected the "short list" of the top 10 properties and the visits were planned with Mr. Alistair Phillips assisting in person to the visits on site. All appointments were well organized and competent agents of the sellers were available for queries of any kind. Having decided for one of those properties, SmartFinder Home actively supported the negotiations with the seller, working in my interest and an acceptable discount was negotiated and practical advice given on the purchase process. I was accompanied by Mr. Alistair Phillips personally to all meetings with the notaire and I was pleased to get again his advice in that process. Most appreciable was the after sales services, obtaining the right contacts to register for water, electricity, and Internet subscriptions. Highly recommended, in particular for a foreigner in France, who's knowledge of the local circumstances and language are minor.
Michael, Germany
October 16th 2018
I can’t thank Alistair enough for helping me to find a house to buy in Provence! He calmly guided me through every stage of the process, but did so much more. I knew roughly what area I was looking at, and had some essential requirements in terms of size, location and amenities. Based on those, Alistair assembled a long list of properties, and pre-visited quite a few. In discussion with him, we whittled the list down to a short list of 8, and he arranged for me to see all 8 over a period of 2 days. He accompanied me to each property, helping with questions to the sellers and their agents, and pointing out features I would not have picked up on myself. The process from then on seemed at first somewhat daunting, but I need not have worried. Again, Alistair helped with each stage. I am now the delighted owner of a house in Provence, just as I had wished. Friends who did not use the services of a housefinder like Alistair when they bought in Provence were amazed at the speed and ease with which I found and acquired a house. Their comment was that it took them 4 years to do what I had done in the space of 4 months. Alistair’s expertise and assistance were vital to me, and it has been a great pleasure dealing with him.
Fiona Jones, Scotland
August 27th 2018
After going through several agencies, made several visits but never conclusive, we ended up working with Mr. Phillips. ​After the first set of visits, he quickly identified our needs, our desires. He accompanied us in all the administrative procedures. Not being there, he made it easy for us and he found our "HOME SWEET HOME" very quickly. I can only thank him for all the work he has done with his team, his hours spent with us, emails, phone contacts and always listening to our doubts, our concerns. He deserves the medal of kindness and helpfulness among real estate agents.
Francine and Jean-Michel, Switzerland
June 8th 2018
I would just like to say how pleased we were that we used Smartfinder to help us find our home. Alistair did everything possible to make things go smoothly from negotiating the price to translations. It would have been very difficult for us to arrange all the viewings from the other side of France. Even after the sale was completed he has continued to assist with builders etc. We would thoroughly recommend people to use this service even if, like us, they have previous experience in buying French property. Once again, many thanks to Alistair and Smartfinder.
Colleen Hamilton, UK
February 22nd 2018
I contacted Smartfinder Home to find an apartment in the Gulf of St Tropez, being myself in real estate in Switzerland, I did not want to run after agencies. So I gave my criteria to Mr. Phillips, we made several visits and he found the right home for us. Mr. Phillips took care of everything - he advised us, accompanied to the notary and sacrificed his time to finalize the sale. I can only recommend Mr. Phillips' services for his professionalism, availability and kindness.
Pierre Sauser, Switzerland
August 18th 2017

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