Acte de vente - Can our attorney sign for us?

We’re in the process of buying a holiday home near Perpignan. We live in the UK and have been down to visit a couple of times since the offer was accepted but it’s unlikely that we’ll be able to be present for the signing of the acte de vente at the end of July due to work commitments. We’ve already given the estate agent power of attorney (with the requisite UK Notarys service) and he’s done a very impressive job to date. He’s advised that it may be necessary for us to arrange to visit the French Consulate in the UK to witness our signature on the acte de vente but I can’t see anything on the Consulate website that lets me book an appointment. I’ve also done a bit of online reseach to try to confirm the process, including a search of this website but I’m getting mixed information as to whether this can be signed on our behalf by the attorney or not.
Has anybody got recent first hand experience of the definitive answer?. I’d really like things to carry on as smoothly as they have done so far.

Hi Nick,

I just had a look at websites of property lawyers - attorneys in France and found this:
N’oubliez pas que désormais dans le cadre de vos dossiers votre avocat peut se charger de vos transactions immobilière
So your attorney can sign for you.
You might also like to email Celeste Ingals Legal Services if you are a US citizen as they are very good.
I’ve done several assignments for them as an interpreter here in France - including property purchase interpreting.
I ask whether you are American as I know the US Embassy Consular Services does witness signatures for a reasonable fee.
Hope this helps and if you’d like me to check the French Consulate in London website, just send me a message. I appreciate your concern in such a big step.
Best wishes,

Thank You for your reply Anna. Just to clarify that I’m a UK citizen and that the attorney I’m speaking about is the estate agent who has power of attorney on my behalf rather than being a property lawyer or attorney at law.

I have gone back to my attorney and asked him to speak to the Notaire again because he doesn’t seem to think that he can act on my behalf for the signing of the acte de vente and is still prompting me to go to the consulate.

I have been in touch with the consulate by email and they advise that they would need to see the document before they can confirm whether they can witness the signature or not. This surprises me because you would think that they would be fully aware if this was something that they were requested to do on a remotely regular basis. With more than 150,000 Uk citizens living in France you would imagine that they would have been asked this question quite often.

I’m keeping my fingers crossed that the Notaire and my attorney can work something out.

Thanks once again


Hi Nick

Is there no way the signing can be delayed slightly, until you can get there ? have given the Estate Agent a great deal of power… !!!

It is only my personal view… but…an Estate Agent works at selling property… the Buyer needs to be very aware of what the Purchase entails… and at our Signing fresh details about the property were discussed…which we had to accept, refuse or amend…can’t remember all of it, long time ago… just that we were very grateful that the Notaire and all the Sellers (7 siblings) were patient with us…

Is there not a different Notaire who could Sign for you on the Day itself, rather than the Estate Agent … ???

Hi Nick,

I understand more clearly now.
It’s rare that buyers could not get to France to sign the “acte de vente”.
But yes, it does occur.
I’ve interpreted at the sale of a Chateau, one family member couldn’t be
present, the rest of the family had power of attorney covering him.
However the buyers, a young British couple, were present.
There were lawyers present, and it was quite a lengthy afternoon.
Take a look at this link:
And the following link suggests that documents must be legalized (at the
town hall here but yes at the French Consulate in London for you).
Procuration pour signature acte de vente

Forum - Donation-Succession

Meilleure réponse: Bonjour, Demander au notaire la formule de procuration
de ta mère. La signature de ta mère devra être légalisée. Pour cela
contacter la mairie du domicile de ta mère. Il est…

There’s a Q/A forum on the French Consulate Website that you’ll find useful.

Any help needed with French, please ask.

I have a degree in linguistics, and also go all over France (but not
exclusively) to translate-interpret. I’ve often interpreted for property
purchase, and also handled all the written translation of legal documents.

Best wishes,



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French Notaries can accept powers of attorny , by members of their staff
When I bought my house, the English sellers did not have to move for the signatures !

Thank you for your advice Anna, Stella and Tim.
Some last minute developments this week have meant that we have now decided that it would be easier for us to arrange cover at work, load the dogs into the car and take three days out to drive down to Perpignan, meet with the Notaire and sign in person then hopefully collect the keys for our new house before grabbing a nights sleep and driving back a day later. Hoping to make it back to Dieppe on Friday night and hopefully avoid the grand depart!


Hi Nick… what an exciting time for you…good luck… :smiley: