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Understand the main acts related to the sale of real estate

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Whether you are a buyer or seller of real estate, it is necessary to understand the rules and contractual value of the acts of purchase or sale. To help you do this, we summarize here the specificities of the most common documents.

Long before the signature of an authentic (final) deed of sale, the relationship between seller and buyer is governed by so-called "private sub-segment" contracts that define their duties and commitments during the real estate sale process.

What is an offer to purchase ?

It is the price offer made by the potential buyer of a property in the old one. Written by a real estate agent, the offer to purchase defines the conditions of acquisition and the price proposed. It may include suspensive clauses such as obtaining a loan, a building permit or even the production of an urban planning certificate.

The real estate offer to purchase can be made both by email or by post.

The deed is generally subject to a short withdrawal period (one week) allowing the seller to accept or refuse the offer. If he agrees, the detailed conditions of the offer to purchase will be included in a sales agreement.

When you are looking to buy in new real estate, it will be more a question of a reservation contract. The property chosen on the plan will be reserved at the price fixed against payment by the buyer of a security deposit (placed in escrow) whose amount varies according to the time between the date of reservation and the beginning of the work.

A condition precedent allows the buyer to renounce without loss if he does not obtain his loan, for example, or if the new program is not finalized.

What is a promise to sell ?

It is the act by which the seller reserves his property for a single buyer. The reservation generally runs for 2 to 3 months during which he can neither sell it to another buyer nor renounce the sale (this period is often linked to the buyer obtaining a loan).

Upon signature, the seller undertakes to preserve his property in its original condition and not to rent it, unless otherwise agreed in writing by the buyer.

The promise to sell includes the agreed price as well as valuable information about the property (diagnosis of asbestos and pests, energy characteristics, urban planning rules, sanitation, proof of ownership, existence of a mortgage, co-ownership regulations, etc.). Some of these elements are mandatory for the sale of any real estate property. Others, specific to the property in question, will have to be identified with the assistance of a real estate professional in order to best meet the duty of information due to the purchaser.

The particularity of this deed: its validity is subject to registration by the tax authorities within 10 days of signature. Registration fees are the responsibility of the purchaser who, in addition, has a withdrawal period of 10 days.

What is a sales agreement ?

It is the mutual commitment signed by the seller and the buyer on the precise conditions of the sale of the property.

The deed includes all the elements contained in the promise to sell, plus the purchaser's commitments and the date of signature of the notarial deed.

The difference between a compromise and a promise to sell concerns two important points:

  • The compromise does not require any registration by the tax authorities
  • At signature, the buyer must pay a security deposit (usually 5% of the sale price). This deposit will be deducted from the total price of the final deed signed before a notary

Note that it takes an average of three months between the signing of the sales agreement and the authentic deed.