Which part of the buying process is the 'no going back now' part?
Client's Question: "I’ve heard that if I sign a ‘Compromis de Vente’ I will be obliged to go through with the purchase, is this true?"
The ‘compromis de vente’ is the initial sales contract drawn up either by the notaire or the agent in France. This is the most common form of sale agreement used in France, and will outline the terms of the sale, including such details as the price agreed for the property, the fees which will be paid to both agent and notaire and an expected completion date.
It is an important document, and can include what are called ‘clauses suspensives’: these will include terms which must be met before the sale can go ahead, so for example if you require a mortgage in order to complete the sale, this will be included here along with details of the amount to be borrowed, and the time needed to process the mortgage application and obtain the funds. Another example might be if you are buying a building which requires a ‘Certificat d’Urbanisme’ (outline consent to convert a farm building to a residence), it would be wise to include this as a ‘clause suspensive’.
The ‘compromis de vente’ will be signed by both vendor and buyer: the vendor is not able to back out of the sale once they have signed, but the buyer has a 7 day ‘cooling off period’, during which they can withdraw from the sale: this must be done in writing and by registered letter to the notaire handling the sale. Once the cooling off period has expired you are required to send your deposit to the notaire, usually 10% of the net vendor price. If you withdraw after this point (unless it is for reasons detailed in the ‘clauses suspensives’), you will lose your deposit, which would be used as compensation to the vendor, who still has the right in law to continue the proceedure and insist that the sale go ahead.
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