What form can this agreement take? Preliminary contract?
The agreement is usually a presale agreement/contract that establishes the seller’s obligation to sell and the buyer's obligation to purchase as soon as all conditions are fulfilled. It can also be an unilateral deed, entailing that only the seller is obliged to sell to a certain person and under certain conditions.
With whom must the parties (buyer/seller) formalize the initial agreement? Is a legal form imposed?
In both situations mentioned above, the preliminary contract can be achieved either by notarial deed (not mandatory), or by deed under private signature.
If it is a private deed, then a lawyer or a real estate agent will handle the preparation of the preliminary contract.
What are the legal effects of this preliminary contract? Is a preliminary contract necessary?
In the case of a bilateral promise of sale, both parties are obliged to fulfil their promise. The seller is obliged to sell, and the buyer obliged to buy.
However, these contracts have previous conditions, which are the necessary conditions for the sale to be realized.
The preliminary contract also states the period within which the sale will be realized; usually 1 to 3 months.
Are there amounts to be paid, and to whom? Can these amounts be repaid?
There is no obligation or minimum payment to be paid. However, 5 to 15 per cent of the agreed sale price is usually paid at the signing of the preliminary contract. If the sale is realized, this amount constitutes an advance on the price. If the sale is not realized even though all conditions are met, this amount goes to the seller as compensation for the damage. The seller may, however, force the buyer to purchase in the case of a bilateral promise of sale. If the sale is not realized as a result of non-fulfillment of a suspensive condition, the amount is returned to the purchaser.
Are there any consumer protection measures (coolingoff period, right of withdrawal)?
In the preliminary contract of sale, the parties may agree on a cooling–off period or on a right of withdrawal.
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