Real Estate Consulting


Agreement to sell

Barnes Bordeaux reveals the essentials on a crucial stage before the acquisition of a house or an apartment: the promise to sell.

Promesse de vente

The promise to sell, a pawn forward on the real estate chessboard

After several unsuccessful visits, you have finally found the home or apartment of your dreams. You fell in love, your favorite is certainly the right one, but you don't want to rush. How to "book" a property that interests you while granting you an additional period of reflection? By signing a promise to sell with the owner.

The promise to sell is a legal document that protects the future buyer. By signing it, the owner agrees to reserve his property for the interested buyer. He cannot refuse the sale, nor offer his property to another interested buyer. For the future buyer, the promise to sell is a pawn placed on the real estate chessboard, a pawn which gives it exclusivity and which he can, if he wishes, remove it.

An option period of two to three months

The cooling-off period that follows from the promise to sell, called the option period, generally varies between 2 and 3 months. During this time, the candidate (or beneficiary) has the right to reverse his decision. That said, if he does not buy the property, he loses the amounts paid at the signing of the promise to sell, the amount of which corresponds to 10% of the total price of the property. A considerable sum which is used to compensate the owner, if the promise is not kept. However, if the candidate keeps his promise, the amount paid is deducted from the purchase price.

Good to know: The 10% mentioned above does not include notary fees.

Registration and cost of the promise to sell

Once signed between the two parties, the promise to sell must be filed with the tax authorities (which is not the case with the sales agreement). Registration must be completed within 10 days from the day of signature. The costs are borne by the future buyer (around 125 €).

Agreement to sell and compromise to sell, what differences?

The promise to sell and the sales agreement are two very separate contracts. The first binds only the seller of the property, while the second also binds the future buyer. In the case of a sales agreement (or synallagmatic promise to sell), the seller can oblige the candidate to conclude the purchase by going to court. If he succeeds, he can also demand damages. Its filing with the tax authorities is not compulsory, an advantage that limits notary fees and administrative procedures. Provided, of course, that the buyer does not reverse his decision.

The purchase offer

This document, offered by some real estate agencies, is also called a price offer or unilateral offer to buy. Its main disadvantage for buyers: they are the only ones to commit. The purchase offer includes several information such as the price, and the response time. It is in the buyers' interest to set a fairly short deadline, preferably less than two weeks, and to include in the offer the purchase of conditions precedent. The seller of the property must communicate his response within the time limit by registered letter with acknowledgment of receipt. Article 1589-1 of the Civil Code stipulates that the seller cannot demand payment from the buyer, regardless of the amount.

The suspensive clauses

The suspensive clauses are the exceptions which can invalidate the commitment of the buyer and / or the seller. They relate to sales promises and sales agreements, before the final sale. They are established by mutual agreement between the two parties. The most common suspensive clauses include the impossibility of obtaining a mortgage to finance the purchase, the easements of town planning and the right of preemption exercised by the communes. The suspensive clauses allow the candidate to recover all of the sums paid, even if the sale of the property is not successful.

Use a notary

The promise to sell can be drawn up by the buyer and the candidate, without the help of a third party. It is however recommended to use a notary. He will inform the persons concerned of their commitments and help them to put the commitments made on paper, in particular the clauses granted. The use of a notary generates costs, but the amounts paid are low compared to the issues and possible problems in the event of a dispute.

Withdrawal period

Regardless of the clauses included in the document, you have 10 days to freely revise your decision, without having to give explanations. The withdrawal period is set by law. It is the same for buyers and sellers. It begins the day after notification of the promise to sell by a notary or by registered letter with acknowledgment of receipt.

Do you have other specific questions to ensure the success of your property investment in real estate Bordeaux? Do not hesitate to contact the advisers of the agency Barnes Bordeaux, specialist in the sale and rental of luxury real estate.