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Agreement to purchase (Compromis de vente)

French Riviera property and the compromis de vente

Once you have found your perfect property and a price has been agreed (note that it's not always possible to negotiate on price - seek advice from your agent regarding each property), the next stage will be to sign a document agreeing to purchase.

This is your preliminary contract and the most commonly used  one in the South of France is the 'Compromis de vente' or if you are buying off-plan, a 'Contrat de Reservation'.

This document sets out the details of the purchase with information about the property, the people/companies involved (seller's and buyer's details) and the price, including estimated legal fees as well as details of how you plan to pay for the property. The standard 'compromis de vente' will include legal clauses and  the sale/purchase will be held subject to these certain legal conditions, such as verifying  good property title and that there are no rights of easement that could affect the value of the property etc.

Both the buyer and the seller can insert their own clauses into the contract, such as making it subject to the reparation of a swimming pool etc (although the all-encompassing "subject to survey" does not exist). There are also standard clauses that appear in the contract such as making the sale conditional to obtaining a mortgage. 

The contract must be signed  and dated by both the vendor and purchaser and then it is a legal requirement that the contract is either sent to the purchaser by registered letter or that it is received and signed  in person at the Notaire's office in front of the Notaire assigned to the sale.  You will also receive a selection of certificates, called "diagnostiques" which are the equivalent of an English survey.

Compromis de vente