Can I withdraw after an offer to purchase?

The withdrawal of the buyer after acceptance of the offer to purchase is possible under certain conditions.

It is appropriate for the buyer who wishes to withdraw to have a precise knowledge of his rights in this matter and of what he risks in the event of non-compliance with the rules applicable to the sale of a house.

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The principle is that if the buyer is protected by law in view of the importance of his undertaking, it is also not possible for the buyer to withdraw at any time. This would unfairly penalize the seller of the property.

As such, in order to avoid being punished sometimes very heavily, it is advisable to the purchaser wishing to retract to call on a lawyer expert in real estate sales.

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Specifically, the purchaser of a new or old apartment building benefits from a period of withdrawal or reflection of 10 days which allows him to renounce the transaction in which he has undertaken, without having to justify a legitimate reason to the seller.

In practice, two situations may arise: either the withdrawal of the buyer after the acceptance of the offer to purchase occurs after the signing of the sale agreement, or the withdrawal occurs before the signature at the notary, when no compromise is signed.

Let us look at each of these assumptions in detail.


  • 1 Timeline of the buyer’s withdrawal
  • 2 Withdrawal of the buyer after acceptance of the offer to purchase and pre-contract
  • 3 Withdrawal of the buyer after acceptance of the offer to purchase and absence of a pre-contract

Timeline of buyer withdrawal

The sales process usually begins with a proposal from seller who wants to sell his property. This is the case, for example, for the sale of an apartment.

The proposal may also come from a potential buyer who undertakes to acquire a property in the event that the owner comes to sell it. This proposal is called an offer to purchase.

If a buyer accepts purely and simply the offer made by the seller specifying the essential elements of the sale, namely the thing and the price, this will lead to the definitive formation of the sale.

Indeed, if the buyer offers to buy the property at the price fixed by the seller, the sale is considered perfect, that is, in law, completed.

On the other hand, if the purchaser makes a proposal that differs from the offer, it must be analyzed as a counter-proposal. In this case, the seller is free to accept or refuse the proposal made by the purchaser.

Once the offer to purchase has been signed, the real estate sale process is launched but it is still possible for the buyer to reconsider his decision, later, through the withdrawal period or the reflection period.

Attention: the deposit of any sum of money at the time of the offer to purchase is prohibited by law, subject to penalty of penalty.

Withdrawal of the buyer after acceptance of the offer to purchase and pre-contract

The right to withdraw applies to any preliminary contract (unilateral promise of sale or compromise), whether it is established by act under private signature or by authentic act, the object of which is the acquisition of the property. Its deadline is 10 days.

Accuracy: the withdrawal period starts from the day after the first submission of the RAR notifying the preliminary contract to acquisition.

This option granted to the purchaser is a real moment of uncertainty for the seller who expects, at any time, to receive the withdrawal from his buyer. For example, in case of discovery of hidden defects in the house.

It should also be recalled that the purchaser who uses this option does not need to justify a legitimate reason with the seller. As for the seller, the seller will not get any compensation if his buyer withdrew.

If the withdrawal takes place after this period of 10 days, the buyer is no longer justified in invoking a right of withdrawal and will therefore have to compensate the seller if he intends to withdraw anyway.

If the buyer intends to withdraw despite the expiry of the period of the withdrawal option, the seller may either “force” the sale or obtain payment of the fixed asset compensation provided for the promise to sell.

In addition, the seller may ask the purchaser to pay compensation. In this case, this amount includes both damages and sums deposited as security by the purchaser.

Withdrawal of the buyer after acceptance of the offer to purchase and absence of a pre-contract

When the sale is recorded or carried out by an authentic act not preceded by a preliminary contract (usually unilateral promise or sale agreement), the purchaser also has a reflection period of 10 days.

It should be recalled that the period for reflection begins to run from the notification or delivery of the draft authentic act.

During this period of reflection, the deed of sale can in no case be signed and no sum can be paid. The situation is like “suspended”.

After this time, the purchaser can no longer use its power of reflection.

As such, if he retracts out of time, he may be forced by his seller to acquire the property and to officialize the sale at the notary.

Article written by Maître LauraMoinier

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