I've made an offer to buy a property in Saint-Martin (97150). What happens next?

I've made an offer to buy a property in Saint-Martin (97150). What happens next?

The process begins when the potential buyer submits a written offer to purchase to the seller. This offer specifies the proposed price, the terms of sale and any other negotiable conditions.

The seller then has the choice of accepting the offer as it is, rejecting it or making a counter-offer by proposing different terms, such as an adjusted price or other payment terms.

  • Rights and obligations : Once the offer has been accepted by the seller, the seller cannot accept another offer to purchase. The buyer is also bound. In theory, therefore, both parties are obliged to continue until the preliminary sale agreement has been signed. However, the buyer then has a right of withdrawal, as explained below.

Signature of the pre-contract : If the buyer and seller agree on the terms of the sale, they sign a pre-contract called “compromis de vente”, also known as a “promesse de vente”. This is a legally binding pre- contract that commits both parties to concluding the sale at a later date.

Withdrawal period : In France, once the pre-contract has been signed, the buyer has a legal withdrawal period of 10 days, during which the buyer may withdraw from the transaction without penalty. Only the notary who drew up the pre-contract may retain about a hundred euros (generally 500 to 550 euros in Saint-Martin) for the time spent preparing it. This withdrawal period does applies when the Buyers are using a company to buy the property. In other words, if the buyer is a company, it does not benefit from this withdrawal period.

Final deed of sale: Once the pre-contract has been signed and the buyer's withdrawal period has expired, the parties move on to the final deed of sale, also known as the “acte authentique”, which formalizes the transaction and registers the change of ownership 2 to 3 months after the signature of the pre-contract


  • Why is there a delay of several weeks or even months between the signing of the pre-contract and the final deed of sale?

This period takes into account the withdrawal period granted to the buyer and also the lifting of the “conditions” mentioned in the pre-contract. In general, the “conditions” relate to the lifting of the French local authority's right of pre-emption* and the buyer's bank loan. If the bank refuses the bank loan, the Buyer is no longer obliged to sign the final deed of sale and is released from his obligations without penalty. Other “conditions” may have been agreed between the buyer and seller.

This is a simplification of the process, but it gives a general idea of the key stages following the submission of an offer to purchase in France.

*The French local authority's right of pre-emption : In certain areas, the French local authority has the right to substitute itself for the buyer if it wishes to acquire the property on the same terms. The French local authority has 2 months in which to make a decision.

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