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Kianusch Ayazi
Kianusch Ayazi, Rechtsanwalt
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We are in Rhineland-Palatinate (RLP.) When a purchase-price

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We are in Rhineland-Palatinate (RLP.)When a purchase-price offer is made towards a house, but the contract to transfer ownership is not yet signed, how binding is that offer?My understanding is; there is no legal binding of any kind until the contract to transfer ownership of the house is signed. Prior to that contract, the purchaser can "pull out" at any time (for example if they cannot get acceptable financing, or they find a problem with the house during an inspection.)Is there normally any contract signed to formalize the offer (the amount a purchaser is willing to pay, but prior to the agreement to transfer ownership of the house?)I'm seeking legal answers here (from an attorney, not a realtor.)

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Pursuant to section 311b of the German Civil Code (§ 311 BGB), an offer to purchase real estate needs to be notarized in order to become valid and binding. A respective offer that has not been notarized is null and void. The prospective buyer can withdraw at anytime without any legal consequences.

It is possible to enter into a pre-contract (so-called Vorvertrag) in order to make a legally binding undertaking towards purchasing real estate. However, such a pre-contract requires notarization as well in order to be valid. Otherwise, the pre-contract will also be null and void.

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Kunde: hat geantwortet vor 12 Tagen.
Thank you for your answer. For clarification, when you say the "offer that has been notarized", you mean the binding sales contract (Immobilienverkaufsvertrag)? So, any offer that has NOT been notarized is not binding in any way, correct?Also, if I understand correctly, the vorvertrag is not the transfer of ownership (Immobilienverkaufsvertrag), but a binding agreement to PURSUE the transfer of ownership…and any penalties from ending this contract are spelled out ONLY in the contract (and not by any legal statute.) Is this also correct?
Thanks!

That is absolutely correct.

Any offer or contract that has not been notarized is null and void due to § 311b BGB.

The "Vorvertrag" is not the transfer of ownership but an agreement in which the parties undertake to enter into a sales agreement at a later stage. The parties will have to compensate each other for any damages due to the breach of contract. The party claiming compensation must proof that there is a damage. Any financial damage must be compensated. A contractual penalty can also apply.

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