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Understand the Hợp Đồng Mua Bán Nhà Đất

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When it comes to buying real estate in Vietnam, 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 Vietnam. We want to help you avoid the same experience.

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

What is the Hợp Đồng Mua Bán Nhà Đất in Vietnam?

In Vietnam, a property purchase agreement, locally known as "Hợp Đồng Mua Bán Nhà Đất," plays a crucial role in real estate transactions.

It's a formal contract outlining the terms and conditions agreed upon by the buyer and seller. This agreement is legally binding and serves as a guarantee for both parties, ensuring the transaction proceeds as agreed.

The process typically begins with the buyer and seller agreeing on the property details, price, and other conditions. Once these are settled, the property purchase agreement is drafted.

This agreement includes specifics like the property description, sale price, payment schedule, responsibilities of each party, and any conditions precedent to the sale (like obtaining necessary permits or approvals).

For international buyers or non-residents, there are additional considerations. Vietnam has specific regulations governing foreign ownership of property.

Generally, foreigners can buy property in Vietnam, but with certain restrictions, such as the type of property and location. It's important for international buyers to understand these regulations to ensure compliance.

The signing of the property purchase agreement is a significant step in the purchasing process. It usually occurs after preliminary discussions and once both parties are satisfied with the terms. At this stage, a deposit is often required.

The deposit, acting as a commitment from the buyer, is usually a percentage of the purchase price, often around 10-20%. This deposit is forfeited if the buyer backs out of the deal without a valid reason as per the terms of the agreement.

The way property purchase agreements work in Vietnam might differ from other countries.

For instance, the regulations surrounding foreign ownership and the specific legal framework governing real estate transactions might be unique compared to other countries.

Additionally, cultural and procedural nuances can influence how negotiations and transactions are conducted.

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What should be included in the property purchase agreement in Vietnam?

In Vietnam, a property purchase agreement, integral to real estate transactions, must comply with specific requirements outlined in the country's legal framework.

The governing law for such transactions is primarily the 2014 Law on Real Estate Business and the 2013 Law on Land.

The agreement should contain several mandatory clauses.

These include:

Mandatory Clause Description

Identification of the Parties

Full names and identification details of the buyer and seller.

Property Details

Precise description of the property, including its location, area, and any relevant legal status or land use rights.

Purchase Price

The agreed sale price and currency.

Payment Terms

How the payment is to be made, including any deposit, installment plans, and deadlines.

Delivery of Property

Terms regarding the handover of the property, including the date and condition in which it should be delivered.

Legal Compliance and Licenses

Assurance that the property complies with relevant laws and that necessary permits or licenses are in place.

Liabilities and Obligations

Responsibilities of both parties, including taxes, fees, and other costs associated with the transaction

In addition to these mandatory clauses, several additional clauses may be included:

- Statements by the seller regarding the property's condition, legal status, or any encumbrances.

- How disputes arising from the agreement will be resolved.

- Conditions covering unforeseeable events that prevent either party from fulfilling the agreement.

- Provisions to keep certain details of the transaction confidential.

The agreement can also include conditions or contingencies, like obtaining financing, the property passing certain inspections, or the sale being subject to the buyer selling their current home.

In terms of authentication, Vietnamese law requires that property purchase agreements be notarized to be legally binding. This notarization is done by a public notary who verifies the identity of the parties and the content of the agreement.

The role of a real estate agent in Vietnam can vary but typically includes facilitating the negotiation process, helping draft the agreement, and ensuring all legal requirements are met.

However, the agent's involvement doesn't replace the need for legal advice, especially regarding the drafting and reviewing of the property purchase agreement.

What's the signing process like?

In Vietnam, the signing process of a property purchase agreement is a crucial phase in real estate transactions and involves several key steps and considerations.

The property purchase agreement is typically bilateral, meaning both the buyer and the seller must sign it.

It's possible for "the buyer" or "the seller" to be multiple people, in which case all parties involved must sign. This is common in cases where the property is jointly owned or if the buyers are purchasing as a group or a family.

Both parties need to provide certain documents and information for the signing process.

The seller must present proof of property ownership, such as the land use right certificate, and personal identification documents. The buyer, on the other hand, needs to provide personal identification and proof of funds or financing for the purchase.

The specific timeline for signing can vary, but generally follows these steps:

Step Description

Drafting the Agreement

After agreeing on the terms, the property purchase agreement is drafted.

Review and Finalization

Both parties review the agreement, possibly with legal counsel, and make any necessary adjustments.


The agreement is signed by both parties. This can happen in a single meeting or over a series of meetings, depending on the complexity of the transaction and availability of the parties.


Once signed, the agreement needs to be notarized to become legally binding. This requires the physical presence of both parties at the notary office.

While preliminary agreements and discussions can occur remotely, the final signing and especially the notarization process typically require the physical presence of both parties. This is crucial for verifying identities and ensuring the validity of the signatures.

There's no fixed deadline for signing the property purchase agreement. It depends on the negotiation between the buyer and seller.

However, once terms are agreed upon, it's advisable to sign as soon as possible to secure the deal.

The validity of the contract is usually defined within the agreement itself. This can vary based on the terms agreed upon by both parties, such as the expected date of property handover or completion of payment.

After notarization, the agreement must be registered with the relevant local authorities for the property transfer to be legally recognized.

This involves submitting the notarized contract along with other required documents to the local Land Registration Office.

Any amendments to the contract after signing are possible but must be agreed upon by both parties. These amendments also need to be documented and notarized to be legally valid.

The timeframe for completing all necessary paperwork and approvals can vary.

Generally, it may take a few weeks to a few months after signing the agreement, depending on the complexity of the transaction and the efficiency of local authorities.

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

In Vietnam, the financial aspects of a property purchase agreement are key to understanding your obligations and rights as a buyer.

When you sign the sales agreement, you're typically required to pay a deposit or down payment. This acts as a commitment to the transaction.

The standard down payment is often between 10% to 30% of the total property price.

However, this can vary based on the agreement between you and the seller.

Apart from the down payment, there might be additional fees such as notarization fees, legal fees if you hire an attorney, and possibly a brokerage fee if you're using a real estate agent. These costs should be clarified before signing the agreement.

The payment is usually made directly to the seller, but in some cases, especially in more complex transactions or when a real estate agent is involved, an escrow account might be used. This provides added security for the transaction.

The due date for the down payment is typically outlined in the sales agreement. It's usually due upon signing or within a short period after signing, but the exact timing should be specified in your contract.

There are tax implications for both the buyer and seller. In Vietnam, there are property transfer taxes, which are usually the responsibility of the seller.

However, these can sometimes be negotiated to be paid by the buyer. It's important to clarify who will bear these taxes in the sales agreement.

You can negotiate the down payment amount with the seller. This is part of the bargaining process and depends on various factors, including the seller's urgency to sell, market conditions, and the property's desirability.

If the sale falls through, the refundability of the down payment depends on the terms of the contract.

Generally, if the sale doesn't proceed due to a failed inspection or financing contingency (if such conditions were included in the contract), the down payment may be refundable.

But if you, as the buyer, simply change your mind, you might forfeit the down payment.

Typically, the down payment should come from your funds.

However, you can discuss with your lender whether you can use a mortgage loan for this purpose. This depends on the lender's policies and your financial arrangements.

An attorney can provide legal advice on the contract and help ensure that all financial aspects are in order. A real estate agent, if involved, might facilitate the transaction and ensure proper transfer of payments.

Always request a receipt or confirmation when making the down payment. This is a crucial record of your transaction and serves as proof of payment.

The seller typically has to pay capital gains tax on the sale.

As a buyer, you might be responsible for other taxes, like the aforementioned property transfer tax, depending on the agreement.

It’s vital to understand these implications to avoid unexpected expenses.

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 Vietnam.

Understanding the risks and pitfalls associated with property purchase agreements in Vietnam is important to navigate real estate transactions effectively.

Both the buyer and the seller can potentially withdraw from the agreement, but the circumstances and consequences vary depending on the terms of the contract.

Common reasons include failure to secure financing, discovery of legal issues with the property, or significant changes in market conditions.

In Vietnam, there isn't a standardized cooling-off period like in some Western countries.

Whether such a period exists and its duration would be dictated by the terms of the specific agreement between the buyer and seller. If included, weekends and public holidays are typically counted in the cooling-off period.

If a party withdraws from the agreement, whether they need a valid motive depends on the contract terms.

For example, a buyer might have a clause that allows withdrawal if they can't secure financing. Without such a clause, backing out could lead to penalties.

If one party fails to fulfill their obligations, the consequences are usually outlined in the agreement. This can include forfeiting the deposit, paying penalties, or being subject to legal action.

The exact penalties depend on the agreement's terms and the nature of the breach.

If a party withdraws or fails to meet their obligations, how the money (like a deposit) is handled depends on the contract terms. It could be returned, forfeited, or used as compensation, depending on the circumstances and agreement specifics.

In other countries, real estate transactions might have more standardized processes, such as defined cooling-off periods, more regulated financing options, and clearer guidelines for dispute resolution.

Vietnam’s real estate market, while growing, can have more variability in how transactions are structured and executed.

Buyers and sellers should be aware of risks like misrepresentation of property details, legal issues with property titles, and unexpected changes in market conditions. Ensuring due diligence, including legal and property checks, is crucial.

Disputes are not uncommon in real estate transactions. They often arise from misunderstandings about property conditions, delays in meeting obligations, or financing issues.

These disputes are typically resolved through negotiation, mediation, or, in more severe cases, legal action.

The process for resolving disputes usually involves negotiation between the parties, possibly with the help of legal advisors or mediators. If an amicable resolution can't be reached, the matter may need to be settled in court.

If defects or issues are discovered after signing, the recourse depends on the contract terms and Vietnamese law.

Buyers might have legal recourse if it can be shown that the seller knowingly concealed defects or if certain guarantees were included in the contract.

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.