11. Buying Property in France: Completion Formalities

  1. Transfer of Funds
  2. Completion Date
  3. Condition of Property
  4. Deed of Sale
  5. Certificate of Purchase

11.4. Signing of the Acte Authentique (Deed of Sale)

When all the enquiries have been completed and funds are in place, then you will be invited to the notaire's office to sign the deed of sale, the acte authentique. Only notaires are authorised to prepare such a deed, which guarantees legal transfer of the property.

The notaire should read through the main clauses in the deed of sale, and if you cannot understand French, then arrangements should be made for an interpreter to be present. If the interpreter is provided by the notaire, you may be charged for such a service.

Nevertheless, surprising as it may seem, there is no requirement for the buyer and seller to be present in front of the notaire to complete the formalities.

If you are unable to get across to France for completion, you can arrange to give, say, a relative or friend already living in France the 'Power of Attorney' to sign on your behalf, (signer par procuration).

Clearly, this is not without risk, but it is not unusual, for instance, for a clerk in the notaire's office to be given this role.

In order to proceed in this way, you can sign the procuration at the time you sign the sale contract. Alternatively, the notaire will later send to you a copy of the deed of sale, together with a letter for you to sign authorising use of Power of Attorney. Generally, notaires expect such an authorisation to be signed in front of a legal notary in your own country, but practice does vary.

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