Buying and selling


1. Private sales:

Once you have found and looked over the property of your dreams, the one you “just have to have”, you will need to consult your notary to help you throughout the process of buying it.
a / The contract of sale:

Once you have agreed with the seller on the essential terms of the purchase, you will normally sign a contract of sale. This will be drawn up either by the estate agent who handled the sale of the property or by the seller’s Notary. Please be aware that if the contract of sale is drawn up by an estate agent, it really must be checked by both the seller’s and buyer’s Notary to ensure that your interests are properly protected.The buyer will not infrequently put his signature to an offer to buy before the contract of sale.

You must be very careful here, because if the offer is then countersigned by the seller, the sale is considered as perfected. If at all possible, the offer must be submitted to the Notary before signing to check that it has been correctly drafted.

The Notary charges no fees for assistance in drawing up the offer or perusing the contract of sale. This service is free of charge.

b / The conveyance:

The conveyance is executed within the time agreed by the parties, normally four months after signature of the contract of sale. This is not a legal deadline, but rather one for tax purposes. If more than four months elapses, the parties themselves will have to register the contract of sale and pay the registration duty. Otherwise, the Notary will deal with the matter.

c / The costs:

The costs of buying a property include registration fees, enrolment fees, processing fees, the engrossment fee, the Notary’s fees.

With respect to registration fees:

*In the Walloon Region: registration fees are an assessment payable to the State amounting to 12.5% of the purchase price. Some situations attract a lower rate of registration fees: reductions apply to lower middle-income dwellings, homes bought with “social” low-interest mortgage loans, mortgages created as security for a “social” mortgage loan or in the form of an interest-subsidized environmental home improvement loan (Eco-prêt).
* In the Brussels region: registration fees are 12.5%. A reduced basis of assessment is possible subject to meeting certain conditions.
* In the Flemish Region: registration fees are 12%. A reduced rate (3%) is also possible for the purchase of a family home, subject to certain conditions.

2. Public sales:

Public sales may be voluntary or in some cases, compulsory. The Notary dealing with this type of sale must advertise the property offered for sale through special advertisements placed in newspapers and on posters affixed to the property.

When drawing up the full particulars of the property to be sold, the Notary must include all the conditions of the sale in order that potential buyers be as fully informed as possible.

The auction will be held at the date, time and place advertised by the Notary. At the auction, bidding will commence and continue. If the final bid meets the seller’s reserve price, the property will be knocked down to the final bidder. However, if the final bid does not reach the seller’s reserve price, a second auction may be called. There will then be a period of 15 days in which anyone may make a higher bid. If a higher bid is made, a second auction is called in which the bidding will resume.

The costs will be payable by the successful bidder within 5 days and the purchase price within 6 weeks.

There are several advantages to a voluntary public sale: speed, transparency, extensive advertising, no agency commission, etc … The Notary will gladly discuss this with you.

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