Compromis de Vente


I am in the process of selling my French property. The buyer and me (the seller) signed the Compromis de Vente back in Feb. Is there a time limit on the agreement because the buyer is dragging her feet and this is not getting done, I can’t be wating forever ? There was no deposit. I would now prefer to canel the entire thing. Is this possible without penalty ?

Hi @grjack and welcome to Survive France! I don’t have any up-to-date informationon this but others do so they will be along soon. My understanding was that a deposit was usually paid at the comprimis stage but I am clearly wrong there…

What does your Notaire say ???
It might be a good idea to make contact and ask the question … maybe the Notaire is aware of why there is the delay and simply hasn’t told you, yet…

(I had thought that the Seller was “bound” to the Sale, but the Buyer had some escape clauses…)

I imagine that you will have to pay the Notaire’s fees, even if you are able to cancel without penalty…

I live abroad, the seller lives in Paris. We agreed that she would arrange the Notaire. Nothing is being done. I will go and get my own Notaire, but now prefer to keep the property. It seems there is no expiry of the Comprise de Vente and the buyer has all the escape clauses and the seller has none ?

If you know the name of the Notaire your Buyer is using… why not ask that Notaire what is going on???

Yes, quite possibly it would be a good idea to have your own Notaire… someone who can find whatever loophole is necessary to let you out of any obligations as smoothly as may be possible… but, I would have thought, you do need to know how things stand.

best of luck

Yes, I am going to have to get my own Notaire. She was managing the property rental and I don’t trust that she is disclosing the income correctly. She may want to proceed with accumulating the income , saying that the sale process is immenently closing but keep me on a string forever. No need to stump up the sale money and indefinte income for her. I cannot easily get to France with the Covid stuff and she knows that.

I don’t understand at all…your buyers notaire has been handling the rental of your property? Then by default he/she must be your notaire also.

If, as you presume, the notaire may be happily creaming off rental commission is there not a chance that the buyer walked away within the ten day ‘cooling off’ period and you have not been informed.

Under any normal sale the acte de vente will always be signed within two to three months of the signing of the compromis unless the buyer is having difficulty arranging financing or some such.

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I have only been taking her word. Stupidly. She has been putting me off for 6 months. “The notaire is being arranged”, " the money is coming through for the purchase", " cant get a notaire, they’re on leave", “can’t get a loan yet, buy its coming”. Meanwhile, she’s probably collecting rent on the side.

Time has come to end this and I want to know if I can just walk away, hire a property manager and cancel this charade ?

How did you sign a compromis de vente if it didn’t involve a notaire?

At the French consulate here in south Africa, witnessed by a notaire. I think the best bet may be for me to go back there. I was hoping that there is a time limit or non performance clause that could let me just put and end to this after about 8 months of nothing.

Signed in front of official witness at French consulate in Johannesburg. Consulate does not provide notary services. That apparently must be done in France. Hence the predicament relying on property management and legal services that I cannot meet with directly (due to living in a “red country” during covid)and groping around trying to find answers.

To confirm: signed in front of consulate witness in johannesburg, not notaire.

Thanks for explaining - tough one this, as you are doing it remotely and relying on the integrity of the other party in France. Is there anyone you know locally who you could get involved who can see what’s happening on the ground?

Yes, bottom line is trust(or lack of) due to travel restrictions. I will pursue finding an honest broker locally.
thanks Sue

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Have you contacted the Mairie which serves wherever you property is situated… ?

Slightly confused as in 99.99% of cases a compromis de vente will set the maximum delay for the final acte de vente at 3 or 4 months. Does yours really say nothing? (You don’t have to pay a deposit)

And a notaire is a public official, who is responsible to the State not to you or your buyer. They are not like a personal solicitor. There is usually really little point in having a separate one. It is rare that a Notaire is dodgy as penalties so severe…

Normally a compromis de vente is drawn up by a notaire, so also not understanding the buyer saying “they will find one”. Does whatever you signed include the phrase “sous signature privée (ou sous seing privé)”? If so, then no notaire was involved! And I guess that the notaire in SA was just notarising your signature.

So it sounds as if the person you are dealing with may well be not being honest with you. Who has the keys and is looking after the house? As the worst case scenario is that people are living in it and you may have a hard job getting them out😱

Otherwise the simplest approach might be to send registered letter to this person saying you do not wish to continue with the sale, and are cancelling the agreement. Leave it to them to argue that it remains valid after this length of time, as I think they would struggle to get a judge to agree with them! And then place the property with a local immobilier who will do everything for you.

Here’s a link to a model compromis de vente so you can see if what you have signed has the right things in it!

This is pretty much the path I have chosen Jane. I have contacted professional property managers and I am notifying the prospective buyer that I am canceling the sale. Let her sort out the legalities. I am convinced that
she has been letting out the property behind my back based on what other property managers have said to me. The market is certainly slower but not dead.

Many thanks