Moving in to your new French house is the final step in buying a property in France.
After signing the acte at the notaire’s office, the estate agent will hand over the keys. However, there are still a few more formalities for you to complete before you can relax.
The notaire will hand over a certificate of completion called an Attestation d’Acquisition (see our Knowledge Base). This document is a proof of ownership which is the temporary title deed. It will enable you to show proof of ownership, for example to the electric, gas and water suppliers.
After completion, the new owners must transfer the utilities into their names and the Estate agent will often help. The vendors will read the meters on completion day. Utilities send the final statements directly to the vendors at their new address.
The new owners will need property insurance because; this is a legal requirement in France. Property insurance remains the vendors’ responsibility until completion.
Insurance can be provided by a local insurance company or through a UK Insurer.
Insurance contracts for non-residents are standard. Second homes, left unoccupied for a period of time each year, carry a higher insurance premium.
Liability for local taxes is transferred to you automatically following registration of the sale at the Land Registry.
For the current year, the vendors will remain responsible for the payment of both, taxe d’habitation and taxe foncière.
The new owners must proportionally reimburse the vendors for taxe foncière from completion until the following 31 December. The vendors will bill the amount due to the buyers in due course. Importantly, it is the buyer’s responsibility to reimburse the vendors.
On completion, the notaire will retain the original deed and register the contract at the Land Registry using a Copie Authentique (see our Knowledge Base).
Notaires usually have a period of two months to register the deed at the Land Registry.
Where a French mortgage is involved the notaire will register the mortgage on behalf of the bank. Despite being covered by his professional insurance for two months, the notaire will proceed with the registration as soon as possible to anticipate any problem or potential charge that could be registered on the property.
The Land Registry will return the copy duly stamped with the registration number. Following this the notaire will close the client account and return any balance left on the provision for fees paid by them.
The title deed will be forwarded, usually within 6 months, to the client and a second copy called the Copie Executoire will be sent to the mortgage lender for their records.
Moving in to Your New French House
Finally, actually moving in to your new French house is now all that remains to be done.