The final signing
Before attending the final signing it is always a good idea to visit the property, to ensure that it is in the same condition as when you agreed the purchase and to check off any items that are being left behind. Your contact at Ascendant will accompany you on this visit and it is a useful time to meet the vendor and run through how any equipment or the utilities work.
The signing will take place at the notaire’s office. The notaire will read through the deed and explain the meaning of its contents. Any clarifications required will be raised at this point. We work with many excellent bilingual notaires who are able to explain and address any queries in English during the final signing. Your bilingual contact at Ascendant will also attend the final signing with you.
Most of our clients like to come to France for the final signing however it is not always possible, in which case you can grant the notaire, a parent or a friend power of attorney to sign the final deed of sale on your behalf. You should let us know well in advance if you would like to complete by power of attorney, as additional paperwork will need to be drawn up.
Before the signing you should ensure that the final balance has arrived with the notaire, otherwise the sale cannot complete. Funds can be transferred to the notaire’s bank account by international transfer and we are able to recommend currency transfer specialists if the balance is being sent from a non-euro account.
Once both parties have signed the agreement the notaire will issue the buyer with a certificate of sale as proof that you are the legal owner of the property. Then it’s time for the vendor to hand over the keys – and to celebrate!
Tying up the paperwork
Before you receive your full copy of the deed of sale the notaire must register and publish it with the authorities. This can take 6 months to complete. In the meantime the certificate of sale given to you at the end of the final signing will enable you to provide proof of purchase when required. Once the purchase is fully registered the original sales deed will be held by the notaire and you will be sent a copy for your records.
If you are buying a property in a co-ownership (e.g. an apartment) the notaire will information the management agent of your identify and contact details.
Once the final signing is completed the vendor will terminate their insurance policy on the property. You will need to take out a policy to cover you from the same date. Your Ascendant contact will be able to recommend an English-speaking insurance partner and arrange a quote for you well in advance.
Buyers are liable for local taxes and usually there is a pro-rata refund to the vendor on the day of the final signing. The notaire generally communicates the refund with the final balance, although sometimes the tax refund takes places after the final signing. The details are communicated to you through the notaire.
It is sensible to open a French bank account to pay for utilities and local taxes. If you are funding your purchase using a local French mortgage provider your contact will be able to help you set up an account with a local bank. Alternatively your contact at Ascendant will be able to help.
Once the final signing is complete we will inform the relevant utility companies of the change of ownership and provide the final meter readings as well as your contact details for future correspondence.