The written form requirement prevents confusion over the statement "congratulations on the purchase. Because when did you actually buy the property? Is that already with the congratulations of the real estate agent, or is there more to be arranged? In this blog post, we explain the importance of the written requirement and what you should pay attention to!
Written requirement in law
The written form requirement was incorporated into Dutch law in 2003 and aims to provide clarity about the agreements made between the buyer and seller. Putting the purchase agreement in writing prevents later discussions about the terms and conditions of the transaction. This protects both the consumer-buyer and the consumer-seller, as it gives them a clear overview of their rights and obligations. In a nutshell, a sale is not really concluded until both parties have agreed to the purchase agreement by signing it.
The writing requirement protects not only the buyer, but also the seller. An interesting example of this was confirmed by the Supreme Court, the highest court in the Netherlands, in 2011. In this case, a consumer seller, despite verbal agreement with a consumer buyer, refused to sign the purchase agreement because of a higher offer he received. The Supreme Court ruled that the seller cannot be legally forced to sign the purchase agreement. This means that until the purchase agreement is ratified in writing, the seller is free to accept a higher offer from another potential buyer. Moreover, the seller does not owe any damages to the first buyer.
A word is a word
It may sound strange, but the same principle also applies to written confirmations made by email, text message, or, for example, Whatsapp. Even if a real estate agent emails: 'congratulations you have been chosen as a buyer', it still applies that a purchase agreement must first be signed by both parties. As a result, a word is not always a word....
Reflection period after signing
Even after signing, the buyer still has three days of legal reflection time to abandon the purchase without giving a reason; this does not apply to the seller.