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What is a sale agreement?

Article provided by SchoemanLaw Inc

Sale agreements are part of our daily lives. The selling of items has never been so easy in today’s life with technology. One can enter into a sale agreement on any online platform in the form of applications or via social media such as Let Go, Facebook, OLX or Gumtree to name just a few, which excludes the major online retailers.

Definition of a sale agreement

There is no clear definition as to what a purchase and sale agreement constitutes.  Some define the contract as one in which the seller undertakes to transfer possession of the thing sold in exchange for a price.[1] This is to some extent true but ignores the fact that the purpose of the contract is for the seller to transfer to the purchaser all proprietary rights in the thing sold.[2]

The essentials of a contract of sale

For a contract to be considered a contract of sale the essential elements must be present namely: the seller must intend to sell and the purchaser to buy, there must be agreement on the thing to be sold and on the price to be paid for it.[3]  Once the two essentials are present then a sale agreement exists.

Transfer of ownership

The general purpose of a transaction of sale is to transfer ownership in the thing sold from the seller to the buyer.  The contract of sale does not affect the transfer of ownership.[4]  The transfer of ownership is regulated by the law of property.[5]

One of the ways in which a person can acquire ownership of the thing is by taking transfer of the rights of ownership from the existing owner of the thing.[6]  Numerous requirements should be present to satisfy the delivery of the property sold in order to pass ownership, regardless of the nature of the thing sold.  These requirements include:

  1. The seller must be the owner of the thing sold;[7]
  2. Intention to transfer ownership;[8] and
  3. Delivery of the thing.[9]

Written agreements for all transactions are not required. Namely, everyday items which one sells on a social media platform would not require a written agreement.  However, for larger transactions, especially where proof is required when ownership is transferred, namely sale of motor vehicle or immovable property, a sale agreement is required to protect the seller and purchaser.

To protect yourself during a sale agreement is not always inexpensive.  However, as the seller, you would require protection to ensure payment and as the purchaser you would require protection to ensure the delivery of the thing purchased.

The SchoemanLaw Inc SME Self Service Desk can assist you..  The SME Self Service Desk provides professionally drafted terms and condition of a sale agreement at the fraction of the price.  It is drafted by attorneys.  Visit the SchoemanLaw website for more information.

© Beata Warnich

SchoemanLaw Inc is a proud Member of the NSBC.


[1] G Bradfield and K Lehmann, Principles of the Law of Sale & Lease, Second Edition; page 3.
[2] G Bradfield and K Lehmann, Principles of the Law of Sale & Lease, Second Edition; page 3.
[3] G Bradfield and K Lehmann, Principles of the Law of Sale & Lease, Second Edition; page 11.
[4] G Bradfield and K Lehmann, Principles of the Law of Sale & Lease, Second Edition; page 5.
[5] G Bradfield and K Lehmann, Principles of the Law of Sale & Lease, Second Edition; page 5.
[6] G Bradfield and K Lehmann, Principles of the Law of Sale & Lease, Second Edition; page 5.
[7] G Bradfield and K Lehmann, Principles of the Law of Sale & Lease, Second Edition; page 5.
[8] G Bradfield and K Lehmann, Principles of the Law of Sale & Lease, Second Edition; page 6-8.
[9] G Bradfield and K Lehmann, Principles of the Law of Sale & Lease, Second Edition; page 8-11.