Act of sale: Timelines after signature

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You leave with the keys, but without your Ownership Title. However, the notaire has given you the Certificates of Ownership. These certificates represent, in some way, a provisional and simplified Ownership Title.



The title to the property identifies the property and its owner. It is given to each new buyer by the notary. It is an authentic deed which acts as a right of ownership to the purchaser. However, in the case of a real estate purchase, the title to the property is the copy of the deed of sale which is signed by each party (seller, buyer and notary) and registered with the land registry service.

Why do we need to wait for the title deed?

The notary has given you certificates of ownership (very useful for your administrative procedures: subscription for water, gas, electricity, telephone subscriptions, a fire insurance contract, registration of children at school). These certificates are in a way a provisional and simplified title deed.


Why don’t you get the title deed immediately?

During the signing appointment, the notary explained to you that the act of sale is published in the "Land Registry Service" and that it is necessary to wait several months before receiving the title deed and the final account of the operations which have been carried out.

After the purchase, the title deed is usually passed to the buyer within 6 months. The seller of course has left the purchased property and you can take possession of the premises while you wait to obtain property title.

The title deed consists of two parts: the standardized part and the developed part.

The standardized part is the one which is published, it must include:

  • description of the property,
  • the identification of the parties: the civil status of the seller and the buyer, addresses and contact details, their matrimonial regime, their nationality, their tax status, their capacity,
  • the loan-to-value-ratios, which means, the portion of ownership acquired by the buyer and that retained by the seller (often the buyer acquires full ownership),
  • the price of the property,
  • the terms of payment of the price,
  • the description of the division and the co-ownership regulations,
  • charges and conditions: payment of costs, distribution of local taxes and duties between the seller and the buyer,
  • declarations on real estate capital gains and on the seller's tax domicile,
  • registration fees,
  • the cadastral designation,
  • the contact details of the notary,
  • the contact details of the former owners,
  • the date and signature of the parties

The notary must also sign the deed.

Associated formalities to fulfill after the signing of the deed

It is important to know that the notary has as many formalities to complete after signing the act, compared to before.

During the appointment you had noticed that a voluminous file prior to the sale was put together. The questions were mainly related to the civil status services, the purchaser's criminal record, the BODACC, town planning, land registry, mortgage services and the seller's bank. Each property’s act of sale (apartment, house, or land) is preceded by constituting a specific file, regardless of the size of the transaction. The notary calls this file phase as "the preliminary formalities".

After the signing the sale, a certain number of operations, “the subsequent formalities”, are also carried out. The most important subsequent formality is registration. It takes place at the Land Registry Service. This is the moment when the act is published in the real estate file and when the notary pays the duties and taxes to the tax authorities, which are paid by the purchaser during the signature (improperly known as "notary fees").

In addition, the notary provides various administrations (land registry offices, Land Use advertising Office) with copies and extracts of the acts of sale. Among these documents, a special copy known as an "authentic copy", signed by the notary, will be returned to the latter with the tax administration stamps. This document makes up your title deed. Do not forget that the original title deep will be kept by the notary in its office for one hundred years, before being entrusted to the departmental archives service.

Tele@ctes (online acts)

In order to complete these post-sale formalities, the notary sticks to strict procedures. The actions take place through queues for the various administrative services to which the latter is obliged to address. However, due to the deployment of Tele@ctes, transmission and response times have been shortened.

Tele@ctes allows acts relating to real estate transfers to be passed on electronically to the Land Registry Service, Caisse des depots (transfer of funds) and the tax administration (payment of transfer rights, capital gains tax, etc. ...). Therefore, a change of owner is notified and passed onto the Land Registry Service in real time, and the financial flows are carried out through remote procedures set up with Caisse des Depots.

Electronic authentic act (AAE)

Technological developments have also paved the way for the electronic authentic act, now introduced into our legislative law. This is how the notary has opted for the electronic signature since several months.

After signing an electronic authentic act (AEE), a copy of the electronic act can also be given to the client with the certificate of ownership. Last but not least, the customer has, if he wishes, a dematerialized version that he can keep on his computer and send if need be to his bank, to his insurance company…

The acts signed by the notaries will be directly sent to the Land Registry Service for registration. At the end of the day, ownership changes could be completed in 48 hours, through secure high-speed links.

Each year, millions of acts are processed by these services and they are subject to rigorous monitoring. It takes rather long to process, and this is inevitable. With some exceptions, the notary sends all the documents to the various administrations within two months of signing the act of sale.

When your title deed (the "authentic copy"), with the official stamps, is sent back to your notary, the latter carries out the final accounting operations which is of concern to you and closes the account opened in your name in the office for your purchase.

If you overpaid while signing up, the credit balance is sent to you along with your account statement and title deed.

If you didn’t pay enough, the notary will ask you for an additional amount.

Funds held by notaries on behalf of their clients

These are governed by the Ordinance dated November 2, 1945 "relating to the status of the notarial profession" and amended by article 15 of the Ordinance dated May 27, 2014: "Notaries shall not keep cash in their office, for more than two days working, that it to say, more than 5% of the total amount of funds they hold, on behalf of their client and for any reason whatsoever (sale price, estate account, etc.). " Beyond this limit, these sums must be deposited in current accounts opened at the Caisse des Depots et Consignations, through Treasury accountants. "These funds can only be debit transactions for the settlement of the business, which is the source of the deposits."

When these sums are held even after a period of 3 months, these are then transferred by the notaries to mandatory deposit accounts opened at the Caisse des Dépots et Consignations. "These accounts can only be subject to debit and credit movements, with current cash accounts. These movements are identified on a case-per-case basis.".

Since the decree of June 28, 2021 fixing the rate and the methods for calculating the remuneration of the sums paid by the notaries on the compulsory deposit accounts opened at the Caisse des Dépôts et Consignations, the interest rate is 0.30%.

This remuneration is paid:

  • to the notary, for the interest paid on the amounts deposited by the notaries on the current cash accounts during the first 3 months. This is a quarterly payment.
  • and then to the client, for the interest paid on the amounts deposited by the notaries on the mandatory deposit accounts. This interest is calculated on a case-per-case basis and liquidated while closing each case, on the current cash account.