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Understand the Contrat de Vente

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When it comes to buying real estate in Ivory Coast, making sure you fully grasp the property sales contract is essential.

Indeed, not fully understanding the document you will sign can lead to financial losses, including the forfeiture of deposits, payment of penalties, unexpected costs, legal expenses, and potential poor investment decisions.

We've heard countless stories of people making costly mistakes when signing their property agreement in Ivory Coast. We want to help you avoid the same experience.

We'll give here a very brief overview regarding the property sales contract in Ivory Coast ; if you want a full checklist, please check our property pack for Ivory Coast.

What is the Contrat de Vente / Accord de Vente in Ivory Coast?

In Ivory Coast, the property purchase agreement is a crucial document in real estate transactions, known locally as "Contrat de Vente" or "Accord de Vente".

This contract outlines the terms and conditions agreed upon by the buyer and the seller. It's legally binding and serves as a formal record of the sale, providing security and clarity for both parties.

The property purchase agreement typically includes details such as the identification of the buyer and seller, a description of the property, the agreed-upon price, payment terms, and any conditions precedent (like obtaining financing or a satisfactory inspection).

In Ivory Coast, like in many countries, this agreement also lays out any obligations the parties have agreed upon, such as who pays for certain fees or taxes.

For international buyers or non-residents, the process largely remains the same, but it's important to be aware of any additional regulations or restrictions on foreign ownership of property.

Ivory Coast may have specific laws governing foreign investment in real estate, so it's advisable to consult with a local attorney or real estate professional to navigate these rules.

The signing of the property purchase agreement usually occurs once both parties have negotiated terms and are ready to formalize their intent to transfer the property.

Before signing, a deposit is typically paid by the buyer to the seller. This deposit, often a percentage of the purchase price, demonstrates the buyer's commitment and may be forfeited if the buyer backs out of the deal without a valid reason. The exact amount of the deposit varies and is subject to negotiation between the parties.

The process in Ivory Coast may differ slightly from other countries in terms of specific legal requirements, customary practices, and the involvement of various professionals like notaries.

For example, the role of a notary in Ivory Coast might be more central to the transaction process than in some other countries, overseeing the legality of the transaction and ensuring compliance with local laws.

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What should be included in the property purchase agreement in Ivory Coast?

In Ivory Coast, the property purchase agreement, a key document in real estate transactions, must adhere to certain legal requirements.

This agreement is governed by Ivorian property law, which is outlined in the country's civil code. The specific law governing property transactions is the Ivorian Civil Code, particularly the sections related to property ownership and sale.

A standard property purchase agreement in Ivory Coast should contain several mandatory clauses, including:

Mandatory Clause Description

Identification of Parties

Full names and identification details of both the buyer and the seller.

Description of Property

A detailed description of the property, including its location, size, boundaries, and any relevant physical attributes.

Sale Price and Payment Terms

Clearly stated sale price and the terms of payment, including the amount of any deposit paid, the schedule for future payments, and the method of payment.

Transfer of Ownership

Conditions under which the ownership of the property will be transferred from the seller to the buyer.

Representations and Warranties

Statements by the seller regarding the status of the property, such as its legal status, any encumbrances, and the condition of the property.

Obligations of the Parties

Any specific obligations of either the buyer or the seller, like payment of taxes, fees, or other charges.

Here are the additional clauses may include:

- Conditions that must be met for the transaction to proceed, such as obtaining financing, passing a property inspection, or the sale of the buyer's current home.

- Procedures for resolving any disputes that arise from the agreement, potentially including arbitration or mediation clauses.

- Conditions under which either party can terminate the agreement and the consequences of such termination.

Conditions or contingencies are an important aspect of the agreement. They allow either party to back out of the transaction under specific circumstances, like if a buyer fails to secure a mortgage or if significant issues are discovered during a property inspection.

In Ivory Coast, it's mandatory for the property purchase agreement to be authenticated by a notary. The notary plays a critical role in ensuring the legality of the transaction, verifying the identities of the parties involved, and confirming that the terms of the agreement are in accordance with Ivorian law.

The real estate agent, if involved, typically facilitates the negotiation and drafting of the property purchase agreement but is not a formal party to the agreement.

Their role is more advisory and intermediary, helping to bridge the gap between buyer and seller, ensuring that the terms meet both parties' needs and are in line with local regulations.

What's the signing process like?

Understanding the signing process of a property purchase agreement in Ivory Coast involves several key elements.

The agreement is bilateral and must be signed by both the buyer and the seller.

Either party can consist of multiple people. For instance, a couple can be buyers, or a property can be sold by several owners.

Both parties need to provide identification documents, such as national ID cards or passports. The seller must provide proof of ownership of the property, which could include a title deed.

Additionally, any relevant permits or certifications related to the property should be presented.

There are the Steps for Signing:

Steps Description

Drafting the Agreement

Initially, the property purchase agreement is drafted, detailing all terms agreed upon by both parties.

Review and Negotiation

Both parties review the agreement and negotiate any changes.

Finalization of Terms

Once the terms are agreed upon, the final version of the agreement is prepared.


The parties sign the agreement in the presence of a notary. This step formalizes the transaction.

The timeline for these steps can vary, but typically it ranges from a few days to a few weeks, depending on how quickly both parties agree on the terms and how promptly they gather the necessary documents.

While remote signing might be possible in some jurisdictions, in Ivory Coast, it's generally required for both parties to be physically present, especially for the notarization process.

There is no specific legal deadline for signing the agreement, but it usually occurs after both parties have agreed on all terms and have the necessary documents ready.

Once signed, the contract remains valid until all obligations are fulfilled. However, any contingencies (like securing a mortgage) usually have specified deadlines.

After signing, the contract and the transfer of ownership must be registered with local authorities. This involves submitting the signed agreement and other necessary documents to the appropriate governmental body.

The notary typically facilitates this process, ensuring that the transfer is recorded in official property registers.

Any amendments after signing require the agreement of both parties and might need to be notarized again. Substantial changes might necessitate drafting a new agreement.

The timeframe for completing all paperwork and obtaining necessary approvals can range from a few weeks to a few months, depending on the complexity of the transaction and the efficiency of local administrative processes.

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How is the payment handled when signing a property purchase contract in Ivory Coast?

In Ivory Coast, the financial aspects of a property purchase agreement are crucial and involve several components.

Upon signing the sales agreement, you typically need to pay a down payment. This amount varies but is often negotiated between the buyer and the seller.

The standard down payment is usually around 10% to 20% of the property's sale price, but this can vary based on the agreement between the parties and the type of property.

Apart from the down payment, there may be additional upfront fees, such as notary fees, administrative charges, and potentially a real estate agent's commission, if involved.

The down payment is generally made directly to the seller or, in some cases, to an escrow account managed by a notary or real estate agent. The escrow account ensures the security of the transaction.

The down payment is usually due at the time of signing the sales agreement. However, the specific terms, including the payment schedule for the remainder of the price, are detailed in the agreement.

The buyer is typically responsible for paying property transfer taxes, which are a percentage of the sale price. These taxes must be paid to the relevant local authorities.

The down payment amount can be negotiated with the seller. It's part of the sales agreement terms and depends on both parties' willingness to compromise.

If the sale falls through, the down payment may be refundable, especially if the contract includes contingencies like a failed inspection or financing. The specific conditions for refund should be clearly stated in the agreement.

You can use a mortgage loan for the down payment, but this depends on the terms of your mortgage lender. Some buyers use their personal funds for greater flexibility.

An attorney or real estate agent can facilitate the payment process, ensuring that all legal requirements are met and that the transaction is executed smoothly.

It’s advisable to request a receipt or confirmation of payment when making the down payment. This serves as proof of the transaction.

For the buyer, apart from property transfer taxes, there may be ongoing property taxes. For the seller, capital gains tax might be applicable, depending on how long they owned the property and the profit made from the sale.

What are the potentials risks and pitfalls?

You might be interested in reading our article about the common risks and pitfalls surrounding a property transaction in Ivory Coast.

Understanding the risks and pitfalls in the property purchase agreement during real estate transactions in Ivory Coast is essential for both buyers and sellers.

Both the buyer and seller can potentially withdraw from the agreement, but the circumstances and consequences depend on the terms specified in the contract.

Typically, withdrawal is allowed if certain contingencies, like financing or inspection, are not met.

In Ivory Coast, there isn’t a universally mandated cooling-off period like in some other jurisdictions. The presence of such a period would depend on the specific terms of the agreement.

If a party withdraws without a valid motive as defined in the contract, they may face penalties. For example, a buyer unable to secure financing can back out if this was a contingency in the agreement.

If one party fails to fulfill their obligations, the other party may seek legal recourse. The penalties depend on the contract terms and might include forfeiture of the deposit or financial compensation.

The penalties for breach of contract vary. For example, if a buyer backs out without cause, they might lose their deposit. Conversely, if the seller withdraws arbitrarily, they might have to refund the deposit and potentially pay additional damages.

Real estate transactions in Ivory Coast may differ from other countries in terms of legal frameworks, the role of notaries, and customary practices in negotiations and contract enforcement.

For instance, the notary’s role in Ivory Coast is more central compared to some countries where private attorneys might handle most aspects of the transaction.

Potential risks include issues with property title, unforeseen legal complications, or discrepancies in property valuation.

Buyers should conduct thorough due diligence, including property inspections and verification of the seller's right to sell.

Common disputes include disagreements over property conditions, fulfillment of contract terms, or delays in payment or property handover. Disputes are typically resolved through negotiation, mediation, or, as a last resort, legal action.

The contract often stipulates the preferred dispute resolution method.

If defects or issues are discovered after signing, the buyer's recourse depends on the contract terms and whether the seller disclosed these issues. In some cases, the buyer might seek compensation or, in extreme cases, annulment of the sale.

Examples might include disputes over property boundaries, undisclosed property damage, or failure to vacate the property in time. Resolution often involves renegotiation or, if necessary, legal intervention.

This article is for informational purposes only and should not be considered financial advice. Readers are advised to consult with a qualified professional before making any investment decisions. We do not assume any liability for actions taken based on the information provided.