In a private sale, the seller and the buyer agree on the sale price of a given property put up for sale. The conditions of sale are stipulated by mutual consent in a ‘provisional agreement’ (sales agreement). This agreement is final and binding on the two parties.
If the prospective buyer wants a longer cooling-off period, they can ask the owner for an option. This is a unilateral undertaking on the part of the seller not to sell to anyone else for a specific period (for example a week). If the prospective buyer decides to buy during this period, they have to inform the seller thereof in writing and the sale becomes final; this is called ‘exercising the option’. If, on the other hand, the prospective buyer decides not to buy and does not exercise their option by the deadline set, the sale does not take place and the owner can sell their property to someone else.
Given that exercising the option automatically renders the sale final, all conditions of sale have to be carefully set out in the option.
A public sale is a sale by auction which is announced through notices and advertising in the press.
The following information is provided:
- how prospective buyers can visit the property
- the identity of the notary who is putting the property up for sale
- the location of the sale
- the date and time of the sale.
A public sale is entirely managed by the notary and generally takes place in a coffee-house, auction house or before the justice of the peace. Prospective buyers can obtain information on all of the conditions of sale beforehand from the notary.
In a public sale, the notary, with the owner’s consent, awards the property to the highest bidder. The deed is then immediately drawn up and signed. There is therefore no sale agreement as is the case with a private sale.
The notaire.be website provides further information on public sales and explains the difference between a voluntary public sale and a judicial or compulsory public sale.
The buyer has to pay the price and the costs by the deadline set in the conditions of sale. The purchase price is generally paid within a period of one to two months after the final award. As far as the payment of costs is concerned, the deadline may be anything between one and eight days after the final award.
Sale by the federal authorities
The federal authorities also sell real estate and have their own website to do so: finimmoweb.be.
SPF Justice – Information Unit
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+32 2 542 65 11
FPS for Justice
Updated on 23 march 2022