Preliminary contract

There are two types of preliminary agreement.
You will be asked to sign either :
- A "Promesse de vente" : A binding undertaking to sell with an option(as opposed to an obligation) to purchase,

- A "Compromis de vente" : A binding agreement to sell and purchase. This is the most common type of contract.

Your notary will advise you which form of agreement is most suitable.Once you have signed this contract, you have a 7 day "cooling-off" period, following this period the contract becomes final and legally binding.

Estate agents often deal with the "Compromis de vente/promesse de vente". However the agent must be licensed to issue these and to take deposit monies. You should ask the agent to confirm this. Normally, however you will see this authority* on display within the agency.

The deposit is forfeited if you decide not to proceed, unless this is justified because of non-fulfilment of one of the specific clauses stated in the preliminary contract. These clauses are known as "Conditions Suspensives" and protect the buyer's right to withdraw from the contract prior to completion covering issues such as failure to obtain the necessary financing, proof of title to the property, good planning searches including the sellers statement as to the existence of any natural risks.

Provided that all the conditions of sale as noted in the "compromis or promesse" have been satisfied, it is usual for completion to take place within two or three months. Upon completion the remaining monies must be forthcoming and the purchaser and vendor will be both present to sign the "acte de vente". Should you be unable to attend the signing, a power of Attorney may be given to the notary.

In most cases vacant possession will be granted on the day of the signature. It is a legal requirement in France that all properties be insured at completion.

* called his or her "Carte Professionnelleā€