Deed of sale: definition

The deed of sale is a notarized deed that often follows the synallagmatic promise of sale – or compromise of sale – in a real estate transaction. Carried out by a notary and registered with the tax authorities, it seals the sale. More precisely, it establishes and validates the transfer of ownership of the property sold, from the seller to the buyer. Its signature is followed by the payment of the sale price of the property as well as the notary’s fees, but also by the handing over of the keys if the entry into possession is not deferred.

The different types of deeds of sale

There are different types of authentic instruments that accompany everyday moments such as a real estate purchase, a marriage or a death. The purpose of the authentic act is to secure a transaction that can operate in many fields.

In the specific context of real estate, there are several types of authenticated deeds of sale adapted to the circumstances:

The simple deed of sale which is used in most cases. It is drafted by a notary and its signature seals the sale of a property between two individuals.
The deed of sale by auction used in the sale by auction of a seized property.
The deed of sale in the future state of completion acts in the singular case of the sale of a real estate to be built or in the course of construction.

The synallagmatic promise of sale, or compromise of sale, can be considered as an authentic act. Indeed, in accordance with Article 1589 of the Civil Code, “The promise of sale is worth selling when there is mutual consent of both parties on the thing and on the price. The deed of sale, which will be carried out by the notary following this promise, will validate the change of ownership.

Finally, it should be noted that the notarial deed of sale can now be signed in digital format. This document has the same legal value as the deed of sale in paper format.

The elements in the deed of sale

The authentic act of sale is, like all official acts, subject to strict rules imposed here by decree no. 55-44 of January 4, 1955. It therefore contains the following elements:

  • the date in full, as well as the place of signature of the act;
  • the identity of the notary and the address of his office;
  • the identity of the seller and the buyer of the property;
  • the legal qualification of the act ;
  • the complete designation of the property;
  • the sales price and payment terms;
  • the mention of the reading of the act by the parties;
  • the signature.

If the deed is made before a witness, their identity must be mentioned. Moreover, the deed of sale will be published in the real estate file of the land registry office. In addition to the points listed above, it will be necessary to mention, among other things and in accordance with article 34-1 of the above-mentioned decree, the following elements:

  • the publication reference of the property title;
  • charges and conditions;
  • the entry into possession (represented by the delivery of the keys).

How is a deed of sale carried out?

Before signing the deed of sale, and in accordance with the preliminary contract (unilateral or synallagmatic promise of sale), the notary will prepare the sale. He will therefore check all the information inherent to the sale with the owner-seller as well as the annexed documents (technical diagnosis file). The aim here is to guarantee to the buyer that the property does not contain any hidden defects. If this is not the case, the seller is exposed to legal proceedings which can go as far as the cancellation of the sale and the payment of damages.

At the signing of the deed of sale, the seller and the buyer, or their proxies with power of attorney, are received by the notary. If the buyer finances the purchase with a loan, the notary releases the necessary amount from the bank. Thus, the payment of the amounts due can take place at the time of signing the deed of sale. The notary reads the deed before each party initials and signs the deed. The purchaser then receives the title deed and the keys to the property (unless the handover of the keys is deferred in accordance with the preliminary contract).

After the signature, the notary proceeds to the publication of the deed of sale at the land registry office as well as to its registration with the tax authorities.

The advantages of a deed of sale

The notarial deed of sale is an essential official document in a real estate transaction.

First of all, it represents legal security since the authentic act guarantees the validity of the sale and protects the parties in case of litigation. The notary, by his status of public officer, has a role of protection during the real estate transaction, but he also has an indisputable position. The drafting of the authentic act of sale allows to contractualize this transaction. By this means, the notary confirms the transparency of the conditions of sale and the respect of the administrative formalities: suspensive clauses, annexed documents, etc.

Once the deed of sale is signed, the sale of the property is final and indisputable (except in exceptional cases: defect in consent or fraud, hidden defect).

What is the cost of a deed of sale?

The notarial deed of sale is part of the notary’s duties and is part of what is commonly called the notary’s fees. These fees are paid by the buyer, in most cases, at the time of the signature of the deed of sale together with the payment of the sale price. The notary fees are broken down as follows:

  • Taxes paid to the State and to local authorities (land registration tax, departmental and communal taxes) which represent 80% of the costs.
  • The disbursements which include the expenses advanced on behalf of the purchaser and which represent 10% of the fees.
  • The emoluments which designate the fees of the notary and which also represent 10% of the expenses. They are calculated according to a scale fixed according to the value of the property. They can vary according to the type of property, new or old, from 2 to 8 %.

Note that the drafting of the preliminary sales agreement is included in the notary fees. It is therefore advisable to rely on the notary to draw up this preliminary contract, which is essential to the smooth running of a real estate sale.

Is it possible to retract after the signing of the deed?

It is possible to retract after the signature of the notarial act of sale, in the case this last one would not be preceded by a promise or a compromise of sale. Indeed, the law provides for a withdrawal period of 10 days as from the signature.

If the notarial deed of sale is preceded by a promise or a compromise of sale, the 10-day withdrawal period applies as of the receipt of the preliminary contract. In this case, the signing of the deed of sale makes the sale final.

Differences between the compromis de vente and the acte authentique de vente ?

The compromis de vente and the acte authentique de vente are two different, but complementary documents that come into play during a real estate transaction.

The preliminary sales agreement is a pre-contract, in the same way as the unilateral promise to sell. It allows both parties to agree on the terms of the sale before signing a deed. It offers a withdrawal period of 10 calendar days from the receipt of the deed, as well as the protection of the parties in case of unfulfilled suspensive clauses. It can be carried out by a notary, by a real estate agent or by either of the parties. It is then called a private deed.

The deed of sale is an official contract that seals the real estate transaction within the legal framework. It must be drawn up by a notary and contains all the information concerning the seller, the buyer, the public officer, the property and the conditions of the sale. It makes the transfer of ownership from the seller to the buyer final.

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