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When does a purchase sale agreement really take place?

Property Law

Antonio Flores Vila

23rd of March 2001

Q. We are having difficulty with a property purchase in Spain. The Estate Agent acting for the Vendor has apparently signed the contract without the Vendor having ratified it! We are told that Vendor does, however, definitely want to sell to us but cannot give possession until at least November 2001. What do you advise please?

Anonymous

    A. The fact that the vendor has not ratified, or confirmed, your offer means that there is yet no agreement signed. The fact that he has not yet signed the agreement precludes you from even thinking about possession, as he has not agreed to anything. The agent has not done anything wrong. He has been instructed by the vendor to market, take offers from buyers and receive deposits, but has not given a mandate to sell at any particular price.

    This first thing which needs to happen is that he agrees in writing to sell the property, on the conditions you mutually agree, including the date of completion and handing over of possession. Both issues do not need to coincide in time, as possession could be granted after of before.

    I advise you engage the services of a lawyer in order that all points are agreed in a contract. If the vendor delays his confirmation and you wish not to proceed, you need then to withdraw your offer and obtain refund of your monies. The agent cannot retain your deposit or a fraction of it.


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