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The authentic act

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    The signing of the authentic deed takes place at the notary’s house, several months after that of the pre-contract. This is the date of the handing over of the keys and the transfer of ownership, the last step in the real estate transaction.

    The authentic deed is the notarial deed that takes all the details of the transaction included in the pre-contract, results in the payment of all the sums due between the parties, and records the transfer of ownership from seller to purchaser.

    The date of signing of this deed is agreed between the parties, without being able to exceed the pre-contract deadline (If it is a promise to sell:  the contract has a deadline at which the purchaser must announce whether or not to raise its option to purchase). This deadline was determined upstream, taking into account the administrative, legal, and specific constraints of each of the parties. It is usually expected within three months of the signing of the pre-contract, and can intervene more quickly when the purchaser finances its acquisition without a bank loan, or later if it is the will of the parties.

    Sometimes one of the parties needs to extend the pre-contract deadline, so an endorsement of the sales agreement will have to be drafted with a new deadline, which can only be done if both parties agree. Only the notary can shift the date unilaterally, if he is obliged to do so by administrative constraints.

    On D-Day, all parties must be present to sign the deed of sale, or in case of impossibility, have signed a power of attorney to be represented at the notary. The notary begins by reading the sales contract;  each party can then ask questions about misunderstood technical terms or clauses. As a public officer, the notary has an obligation to advise and inform individuals.

    Theentire price of the property is due to the seller on the day of the signing of the deed of sale. 

    At this time, the purchaser must also pay all the ancillary costs: acquisition costs (or notary fees) and, if applicable, real estate agency fees.

    In the absence of a challenge and irregularity, both parties can then sign the deed of sale. The document is co-signed by the notary, giving it its authentic character. The transfer of ownership is then effective.

    Theauthentic deed can be electronic: it  is signed in front of a notary on a digital medium (a tablet). In addition to the electronic signature, it is authenticated by the notary using a Real key, a special USB stick that contains the notary’s certificates.

    This system has been equipping some notaries since 2008 and allows to digitize official documents. Electronic acts have the same value as their paper version. Each signatory then receives a printed version, to be retained in addition to the digital title.

    In most cases, the transfer of ownership  automatically results in the enjoyment of the property, and the keys pass from one hand to the other. That said, it is possible  jouissance to shift the entry to a later date, if both parties agree.

    The transfer of ownership and the entry into enjoyment

    These two distinct concepts are sometimes shifted by a few days, weeks or even months, and the handing over of the keys may be shifted beyond the signature of the deed of sale at the notary

    The transfer of ownership: the purchaser becomes the owner of the property. Indeed, the deed of sale seals the entry into possession of the property: from that day on, the purchaser is liable for the charges and taxes that relate to the dwelling sold, and in return, if rents are collected because the property is sold rented for example, they are for the purchaser from that day on.

    Legally, the property tax is due by the owner onJanuary 1  of the current year, and the residential tax by the occupier (and/or the owner) on January 1. By default, a buyer is therefore exempt for the remainder of the current year.  In the case of the sale of housing, the property tax is divided pro-rata temporis. 

    Above all, the transfer of ownership means transferring risks and responsibilities from seller to purchaser. In case of handing over the keys after the signing of the deed of sale,the owner is exposed to unpleasant surprises without having occupied the property.

    In almost all cases, the keys are handed over on the day of the signing of the deed of sale. It is strongly advised to make a final visit to the accommodation just before going to the notary and signing the deed.

    This final visit allows you to check:

    • that the dwelling has not been damaged or modified
    • that it is free of any occupant
    • that there is no more furniture, or that the furniture included in the sale is there.

    The keys are given to the buyer, who enters into enjoyment from that moment on, and the entry into enjoyment and transfer of ownership are concomitant.

    But, by mutual agreement, the parties may defer entry into the game, which means that the keys will be handed over at a later date at the signing of the deed of sale. The entry into enjoyment is then deferred from the transfer of ownership. This is usually negotiated from the pre-contract, with the exact date of handing over the keys.

    The risk for the purchaser is that he may have to resort to deportation if the seller does not leave the premises on the scheduled date, and that he will no longer have recourse against the seller if the property is degraded.

    The deed of ownership

    The PROPRIETE ACT is the document that attests to your ownership, an authentic copy of which is issued to you by the notary several weeks after signing, after registration of the deed in the service of land advertising. Once registered, the deed of ownership is returned to the notary. The latter authenticates it and finally brings it to the buyer, a few months after the signing of the deed of sale. That said, the deed of ownership is not necessary to occupy the premises:

    When you build a house, it is the act of acquiring the land that acts as adeed of ownership of the new house. According to Article 552 of the Civil Code, “the ownership of the land takes over the property of the top and the bottom”. Everything that is built on land therefore automatically belongs to the owner of the latter.

    When you buy a property in VEFA (sale in future state of completion), that is to say that you buy this property on plan, the promoter will deliver the finished property and in accordance with the description and specifications that you have signed with the notary, you also receive an authentic copy of the title directly by mail after registration of the deed in the service of land advertising.

    Case of estates and donations:  it is thereal estatecertificate  issued by the notary that serves as the basis for the title of property. Written by the notary, it serves as a certificate of ownership and certifies the change of ownership. To regularize the situation, it must be written within 6 months of death

    What to do if the deed of ownership is lost?

    You can request a copy from the notarial study that wrote the deed, but there are situations in which it is impossible to recover a deed of ownership from the notary, either you do not know the name of the notary, or you are not the holder of the deed, or others.

    You can then contact the SPF (Land Advertising Service)  to get copies of the lost documents. Since 2010, the SPF has been replacing the now-defunc “Mortgage Office” (or Mortgage Preservation).

    The role of the SPF is to inform users about the legal situation of buildings. This includes title deeds, which canbe obtained by simple request,for a few euros.

    In the event of alost property,you can request a copy of the title by contacting the SPF, going to the nearest antenna or filling out a form to download. Remote solicitation can be carried out via the “Request for a Copy of Documents” form, available on the website.

    For a copy of a title published before 1/01/1956, you must complete the Cerfa 11273-05 (or number 3231-SD), and from 1/01/1956, Cerfa 11187-05 (or number 3236-SD)

    in BuyLegal documents
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