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Mandat de vente ... how binding?


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A mate of ours in the village who has a holiday home came over just before Easter and bumped into his previous estate agent who managed to talk him into selling the house.  The morning he was leaving he told us this and told us the price - absolutely silly money - at least 30K less than we have known similar properties to go for.  We told him at the time that we thought it was well under-priced.  He said he didn't care if the house took a year or more to sell.  My husband said he thought it would sell within the week. Within two days of getting back to the UK our mate was told that he ha dbeen offered full asking price on the property.  Of course he now feels that (a) he was duped into putting it on at a low price and (b) that the agent already had the buyer lined up and consequently that was why he valued the house so low.

He has since changed his mind about selling the house but the agent has said that he can't because he signed a mandat de vente and that he can be taken to court if he doesn't sell.  I thought that this just gave the agent th exclusivity for the 3 month duration of the mandat.  In fact my parents lost a house in France a few years ago because although they signed a compromis de vente the owners had second thoughts at the last minute and decided not to sell and the notaire said there was nothing they could do about it.

Does anyone know the rules?  Have they changed since my parents failed in their purchase?  Was it naivety on my parents part in that they could have forced the sellers hand?  Is it different rules if a property is being marketed through a notaire or an agent? 

I feel so sorry for our mate because when he came to say goodbye last week I could tell he was already regretting having put the house on the market but I think he thought that it would take for ever to sell anyway and now not only may he have lost his house when he's had second thoughts about selling it, but also he's literally GIVING it away.

BTW I'm talking about the fact that he signed a mandat de vente between him and the agent, not a compromis with any buyer.

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There is no black and white rule here. There are SO many types of Mandates, and they are sometimes very difficult to understand, even for the french. Unless you have a copy of THE Mandate in front of you, it is not worth continuing the discussion. I would like to say that there is one particular Agency in the S.W. who have a Mandate which is one stop short of a swindle. So the moral of the story is, NEVER sign a mandate unless you fully understand it, or erased anything you don't agree with and signed that change in the margin.


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