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How to write a sales contract for a house?

Thomas Miller
03.11.2022, 17:19
3 min
Table of contents
modèle contrat de vente

Knowing all the points that a real estate deed of sale must contain is essential before concluding the contract to purchase a home. RealAdvisor explains all the compulsory elements and everything that both buyer and seller must check before the final signature at the notary's office.

How to draft a sales contract?

The contract of sale of a property is an official document drawn up and recorded by a notary, otherwise it has no legal value. It involves several mandatory documents in order to sell a house or a flat. As a minimum, the sales contract must contain the following elements:

  • the names and addresses of both parties
  • the address of the property, its land registry number, the surface area of the land (+ if possible the building insurance number)
  • the description of the property:
    - for new properties, this must include the description of the construction
    - for old properties, this must include the condition of the property at the time of sale
  • the purchase price agreed between the parties,
  • the wording of the payment of taxes (including property gains tax),
  • the terms and conditions of payment
  • the date of transfer of the property
  • the settlement of the renewal of existing insurance policies
  • the detailed wording of any easements, which must be consistent with the information contained in the Land Register
    any additional documents referring to a specific point in the sales contract
  • the regulations that apply if either party fails to comply with the contract

Beyond the legal elements, remember that a contract of sale is an impartial document. In other words, it represents the interests, rights and duties of both the seller and the buyer. Both parties must be equally involved.

For a seller: what to check?

Selling a house is as binding as buying one. In order to ensure that the sale contract is validated by the notary and that your buyer does not fail you:

  • Assemble the documents as quickly as possible, ideally as soon as your property is put up for sale.
  • Answer all the seller's questions, and even anticipate those that they may not have thought to ask.
  • If certain points of the contract have been forgotten in the draft, the notary can add them later, but he will charge you for each addition made before the final signing of the deed of sale...

For a buyer: what to check?

The seller may offer you a staggered sale, particularly if he has to sell the property to buy another. This procedure allows him to claim a new mortgage. For you, this is not a problem as long as everything is written down in the deed of sale.

  • Make sure that the details of the staggered sale and the timetable agreed between the two parties are specified.
  • Ask your solicitor to include a clause obliging the seller to pay you damages if he delays the final sale of the property: the amount should at least cover the cost of renting a second home and storing your furniture in the meantime..

Calling in a professional so as not to miss anything

How to sell your flat or house is not just a question of price or speed. With a real estate broker, you are guided and advised throughout the entire process, from the listing or viewing of a property to the signing of the notarial deeds.

  • The real estate broker gives you the benefit of his experience, even in special cases.
  • With a broker, you can be sure that you and the notary will draw up a sales contract in which neither party is prejudiced.

Points to remember: what should a real estate sales contract contain?

  • There are certain information and documents that must be included in a real estate sales contract.
  • Only a notary can certify and record a real estate sales contract.
  • Any sales contract must satisfy all parties: sellers and buyers alike.
  • A contract of sale represents a major financial and legal commitment: it is best to seek help and advice from a real estate professional.

Are you ready to start the sales process?


Are you officially an owner as soon as you sign a property sales contract?

In Switzerland, not quite. After the contract has been signed, the payment must of course be made, but also your entry in the Land Register as the new owner must be validated. Only when this last step is completed do you become the full and official owner of the property.

What is the legal value of a promise to purchase an off-plan flat?

It is quite common for the sale of an off-plan flat to require you to sign what is known as a 'reservation contract' or a 'promise to purchase'. If this contract is not authenticated by a notary, it has no legal value. You can ultimately retract and not buy the property in the same way that the seller can decide not to sell it to you. To avoid this kind of situation, always work with a real estate professional.

Can I choose the notary of my choice?

In Switzerland, it depends on where you are located, as the notary's office does not follow unified rules throughout the country. The sale and purchase of real estate in the cantons of Schaffhausen and Zurich requires the choice of an "official notary" who is a state official. In the other cantons, the services of a "free notary's office" can be used.

Thomas Miller
Thomas Miller has been a real estate agent for over 4 years now, when he is not in the field, he is dedicated to his second passion, writing, especially in the real estate market.
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