Ins and Outs of a Sale and Purchase Contract for French Property

When describing the whole process of buying property in France, a certain place is devoted to the specificity of a Sale & Purchase Contract.

Exist 2 types of a Sale & Purchase Contract in France: a Promesse de Vente and a Compromis de Vente. A deeper and detailed presentation of them both will be given below, but traditionally the second one is preferred more, because it provides everyone involved in the transaction with reciprocal obligations. The main aspect they differ in is the way of organizing the entire process: the promesse will operate only if it`s organized through a notary officer, and the compromis can be organized between the two parties concerned on principal to principal basis (there also can be an estate agent on the one part). Although both the types have a lot in common, quite often estate agents and notary officers practice some other standard forms of the contract or even their own ones to give an edge to one of the counterparts, especially when dealing with conditional clauses, when you had better be pretty attentive and cautious not to miss any clause you do not agree with or, on the contrary, want to be introduced in the agreement (access, planning, mortgage). You also shouldn`t get under a delusion that an avant-contract is almost the same as the Sale & Purchase Contract itself. In fact, it is like some kind of a document which just precedes the real contract, your signing the first one only will give you an opportunity to sign the second one on certain conditions later. Nevertheless, signing either the promesse or compromise makes you indentured to buy a house, land or apartment under the conditions of the agreement.

But remember, you`re still provided with a seven day cooling off period, which let you cancel the contract with no loss at all. This period starts from the moment you receive the copy of the signed document. But on the other hand, you may consummate a transaction only in seven days, because according to the law in France the agreement becomes binding only in a week.

Promesse de Vente
A Promesse unilatérale de vente (promesse de vente for short) is a ‘unilateral offer to sell’ and it`s prepared for a fixed price and fixed term by an owner, the counterparts agree on the duration, which normally is about three months, but it may be one year and even more, if it is referred to development properties. So the promesse is a good choice for a genuine, perfect professional in the sphere of property for sale, whose aim is to conclude a purchase (land, house, apartment, etc.) for further possible getting of a planning consent or land assembly. So in case if you choose this type of the agreement and then finally sign it, the deposit is usually of up to 10%. But anyway, the rule of a “cool-off period” of seven days still has legal force, and even if your plans have changed for some reason and you don`t want to buy land, house or apartment anymore, there won`t be any penalty for you in case of your withdrawing from the treaty. And if a week has passed after you signing the promesse, you either have to buy land or property (subject to all conditions discussed) or suffer losses because of losing your deposit. But before signing any contract you should think in advance about the conditions included in it, because not only you, but also a seller may quash a decision concerning the property for sale. So you had better include a clause, according to which you don`t just obtain damages, in case the owner changes his mind and his property is not for sale anymore, but also are given the right to enforce execution of the contract.

Compromis de Vente
A compromis de vente (or a promesse synallagmatique de vente) is usually recognized as a pretty well-known sale and purchase agreement. Under it the parts agree with each other on the purchase, and then the owner is obliged to sell to the vendee and the vendee, by the same token, is obliged to buy from the first one. This form of the contract is usually more preferred because it provides both the parties concerned with bilateral obligations. Touching the deposit, so it is of up to 10% of the total buying price set on the property for sale as well. Besides, you still may exercise the right which a seven day cooling off period gives you, and resile from the contract without loss in fixed dates, and get a refund similar to the promesse. You may see a fair contract template just by following the link a standard form of compromis de vente (these contracts have different variations of their format).