Signing a sales contract

The 'Compromis de vente'

In France after an offer has been accepted for the purchase of a property, both the vendor and the purchaser sign an initial contract called the 'compromis de vente'. This binds both parties subject to finances. It means that the vendor cannot accept another offer from a third party, however it also means that the purchaser cannot just pull out without risking losing their deposit. There is however a cooling off period of 7 days and clauses can be written into the contract to ensure that certain conditions are met prior to the signing of the final contract. At the signing of a compromis the buyers have to put down a deposit of between 5 and 10% which is paid to the notaire and kept by him until the signing of the final act. This can go towards the final notaires fees of 7%.The buyers will only get this deposit back if one of the clauses in the contract has not been met by the vendors or if they get refused finance. So think before you sign! Equally if the vendors pull out then they have to forfeit an amount which equals the deposit the buyers have put down.

The notaire is responsible for drawing up the compromis de vente and at 2 Valley Properties, one of our team will always be on hand to help you make sure that all the elements of the contract are correct. Within the contract you will see the full description and price of the property including, all plot numbers, plans, rights of way that may exist through the land, building restrictions and risk zones around the property. There should also be information about any outstanding mortgages, debts, or work to be carried out which had been agreed by the 'co-propriété' prior to the signing of the compromise de vente. The 'co-propriété' refers to apartment buildings where there is co-ownership of the communal areas and therefore shared repair and maintenance costs for corridors, lifts, gardens etc.

All of the relevant surveys should also be provided by the vendor at this stage of the sale. Read more about this in 'surveys'.

The date of the final contract signing is usually 2 to 3 months after the signing of the 'compromis de vente', subject to the notaires checks and finances.