The process of buying property in France isn’t especially long and drawn out, but when your dream home is almost yours, it can’t go fast enough, can it? After finding a property you love, securing a mortgage and patiently waiting several weeks, it’s finally time to complete the purchase – the only thing left to do is sign the Acte de Vente!
The Acte de Vente, also called the Acte Authentique, is the final contract that’s signed by both the buyer and seller during a property sale. The contract is prepared by a notaire, who also must be present to witness the signing. The notaire does not act on behalf of the buyer or the seller — instead, they’re a representative of the state (of the law in France, in other words).
What Does the Acte de Vente Say?
There are two main parts to the Acte de Vente. The first section has information about the parties involved in the sale, while the second section includes standard clauses.
A lot of the information from the Compromis de Vente will be included in the Acte de Vente. However, there will likely be differences, too. The Acte de Vente will have a more thorough description of the property, along with specific details of the mortgage and insurance policies.
The Acte de Vente will also have reports from the diagnostic surveys that were carried out (a mandatory part of buying property in France), along with a payable tax breakdown.
When Do You Sign the Acte de Vente?
Signing the Acte de Vente is usually within three to four months of signing the Compromis de Vente. The Compromis de Vente is the initial contract in the property buying process. It’s legally binding but not finalised – it will have a lot of information about the sale, but not necessarily the finalised info that the Acte de Vente will have. The signing of the Acte de Vente is the final step in purchasing the property and the only thing left to do before the home is officially yours.
The three- to four-month window is how long it typically takes for the notaire to check records and documentation for the property and its land. If you’re purchasing a new-build, the signing of the Acte de Vente will occur on the date of delivery that’s in the construction contract. However, even if there’s a set date for the signing, it can change. The notaire will let you know about any scheduling changes if the signing date moves.
What Is Involved in the Process of Signing the Acte de Vente?
Prior to the signing date, a draft of the contract will be sent, giving you time to go over the details and ask about anything you’re unsure of. You can opt to have a professional translator provide a translation of the contract and attend the signing. Note that the party that hires the translator will pay for their services.
It’s common for there to be a final property viewing right before signing the act de Vente. This is because there’s a clause in the contract that says the property is being sold as seen on the signing date.
The property buyer will need to have their birth certificate on hand during the signing, as well as marriage and divorce certificates, if applicable.
Transferring funds from the buyer’s account to the notaire should be completed at least 48 hours before the signing. During the signing, you may have to present a certificate of the origin of funds, which shows the source of the funds. This is often a requirement when transferring a large amount of money, and it can be provided by your bank.
Signing the Acte de Vente: The Final Step
The notaire will explain the Acte de Vente to you, including the results of the surveys. Then, it’s finally time to sign! This will complete the property purchase – you’ll receive the keys to your new home, and you can move in whenever you like.
Most modern notaires use electronic signature software now instead of having to sign by hand. After signing, both the buyer and the seller will receive an Attestation. This document allows the seller to cancel their insurance and anything else pertaining to the property, and it gives the buyer proof of ownership. Within three to six months, the new property owner will get a certified copy of the Acte de Vente to keep for their records.
What if I Can’t Be Present for the Signing?
While the contract must be signed in France, foreign buyers aren’t always able to be present. In this case, you can appoint a power of attorney to attend and sign on your behalf. Note that your property agent cannot act as your proxy.
At HomeHunts, our property agents are familiar with every step of the buying process and can help you make informed decisions to get your perfect home. If you would like to speak to one of the team to discuss your needs or just to have a chat about the market, you can call us on +33 970 44 66 43.