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Handing over the keys

The buyer usually suggests the final signing date, but the idea is to come up with a date mutually acceptable to both parties. You do not have to be present for the signing, you can sign over power of attorney in advance, though most prefer to turn up for such a symbolic event. Depending on where you live, it can be complicated to get power of attorney remotely. If you are not sure you will be able to attend the signing then it you may wish to sign power of attorney for the sale at the same time as signing the Compromis de Vente. This will not prevent you attending if you decide to turn up after all.

Your responsibility is to ensure that the apartment, as well as any dependencies such as a cellar or garage, is free of all encumbrances. This includes furniture, rubbish, etc. If the buyer is obliged to call a removal company to remove old furniture, the seller will be billed for the service. The Notaire will withhold a more than adequate sum on the day, and return the difference once the removal company has sent the bill. The apartment should also be free from occupancy, if the contract is not explicitly sold on with a renter.

Once the signing is done, you should hand over all copies of any keys to the apartment and any annexes sold with it such as a cellar or garage. If you have handed power of attorney to your Notaire, your estate agent will be there to hand over the keys.

Picking up the cheque

Once the agency fee, the capital gains tax, mortage (and fiscal representative if outside the EEA) have all been paid off, the remaining cash is yours. These days the ‘cheque’ is virtual, payments are now only made electronically. You can provide your Notaire with bank details for any international bank. If you wish to use a currency broker to get a better exchange rate, ensure you contact the Notaire and arrange this with him in advance. There are strict anti-laundering laws which means he has to personally verify the seller is the true recipient.

Estate agency in Nice France