Here’s everything you need to know about signing the Acte de Vente .
What is the Acte de Vente?
The Acte de Vente or Acte Authentique is the final purchase-sale contract signed by the buyer and seller of a property in France. It must be prepared and witnessed by a notaire, who acts as a representative of the state. Those who will need to be present include the buyer, the seller, and the notaire, although it is also possible for foreign buyers to appoint a proxy to sign on their behalf.
When do you sign the Acte de Vente?
The Acte de Vente will usually be signed within three to four months from signing the Compromis de Vente for re-sale properties. This is the time that it takes for the notaire to carry out the process of checking records and documentation regarding the property and land.
For new-build properties, the timing of the signing will depend on the date of delivery specified in the original construction contract. The process can be fairly quick for a plot of land if the developer has already purchased the land and obtained planning permission.
What does the Acte de Vente or Acte Authentique say?
Much of the same information is covered in the Acte de Vente contract as in the Compromis de Vente. Differences include the fact that the Acte de Vente has a fuller description of the property, details of mortgage loans, details of insurance policies, and reports of mandatory diagnostic surveys such as lead, asbestos, termites, etc. Also included is a breakdown of the tax payable by the buyer and seller.
Signing the Acte de Vente for your French property purchase
A draft of the Acte de Vente contract will be sent to the vendor prior to signing, to ensure that all details are clear to them before the signing date. If necessary, a professional translator can be used to translate the contract and attend the signing. The cost of this service will be charged to the party requiring the translation.
A date will have been fixed for the signing well in advance, but many factors can cause it to change, so it is recommended to keep in touch with the estate agent and notaire to ensure things are running to schedule, in case travel arrangements need to be altered. Buyers will need to provide original birth, marriage, and divorce certificates at this stage too.
What if I can’t be present for the signing of the Acte de Vente?
The Acte de Vente contract must be signed and formalised in France. However, if any of the parties is unable to appear in person, it is possible to appoint a power of attorney for the representative to attend the signing. The estate agent, however, is not allowed to represent their client by power of attorney.
The Power of Attorney document will need to be witnessed by a notary public or solicitor in the country of origin, and comply with the proper consular legalisation if applicable.
Before signing the Acte de Vente: Transferring funds
By the time the contract is signed, the buyer should have made all the necessary arrangements to fund the purchase and pay the fees. This includes taxes, notaire’s fees, and the first insurance premium. All the necessary funds should have been transferred from the buyer to the notaire’s bank account in advance of the signing, and the notaire will also need to release money for the initial mortgage payments if necessary.
Signing the Acte de Vente: The final step
There is usually a viewing of the property arranged just prior to the signing formalities, because the Acte de Vente has a clause saying, “sold as seen on signing date”.
A good notaire will prepare you for the signing of the Acte de Vente and ensure that there are no last-minute problems. Then, on the day of the signing, you will present any additional requested documentation, the notaire will talk you through the contract you are about to sign, and finally… you’ll sign the official contract for your French property purchase. Congratulations!
Buying a Property in France?
From planning your property-hunting trip to collecting the keys—FrenchEntrée is here to guide you, advise you, and hold your hand through the entire process. Ready to get started on your property search? Browse our property for sale in locations all over France and become a FrenchEntrée member to receive property alerts and insider tips from our experts.
Want to make your French property dream a reality? Start by reading our Beginner’s Guide to Buying French Property, then follow our step by step articles detailing every stage of the purchase process.