Selling your apartment in Ho Chi Minh City could likely be one of the biggest financial transactions you will undertake in your lifetime, and the price you agree on with a buyer, along with the closing costs you have to pay, will determine how much money you walk away with. The sale process can be both time consuming and procedurally stressful. So, please do not list your apartment for sale if you are not committed to selling. Remember that you are likely damaging the reputation of your apartment-or-sale if it is casually listed for sale over a long period.
Once you have made up your mind to sell your apartment in Ho Chi Minh City, it is important to understand clearly each step in the process until the transaction is completed. Failure to follow through on the process or delegating to the wrong real estate agent can lead to unnecessary time delays, additional costs, and the risk of your prospective buyer withdrawing his interest.

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▸ Step 1: Find a Buyer

The best strategy for finding a qualified buyer to sell your apartment is to keep the largest possible pool of buyers in mind and make your apartment property accessible to them. The more potential buyers you have, the more likely you will get suitable offers. Basically, you as a home seller should understand what profile of potential buyers will show interest in your apartment and how you can appeal to them.

As a rule of thumb, you should always maximise the marketing exposure of your apartment. Your personal choice on the method will determine how quick your sell your apartment and at what price. You can either market your apartment by yourself by listing the property on classified listing websites as a for-sale-by-owner (FSBO), openly choose to work with all real estate agents in the market, or appoint an exclusive seller’s agent to represent you. There are no right or wrong answers and all 3 methods to find a buyer come with its own pros and cons.

▸ Step 2: Negotiate Price, Payment Schedule and other Conditions

When you finally have an offer for a prospective buyer, the most difficult part of selling your apartment has just begun – the process of negotiating with the buyer to get what you need and want. In real estate, negotiations take the form of counteroffers. The way the buyer tells you he is interested in your apartment is through their offer. The way you tell them their offer is unacceptable, but you’re willing to negotiate, is the counteroffer. From the price to transact, to the payment schedule, right down to which appliances you leave behind when you move, every condition will be up for discussion between the buyer and yourself. When you receive an offer, you will do well to clarify the details:

  • Goodwill Deposit: How much will this be? (A serious offer is evident by a sufficient deposit amount)
  • Price: What exactly is the buyer offering, and what are the cost he wants you to include?
  • Payment: How will the payment be made? (Cash, bank transfer or mortgage loan)
  • Schedule: When can the payment be made in full?
  • Occupancy: How soon does the apartment need to be vacated?

Be prepared to be unsatisfied with the initial offer you get; it is very rare for an offer to have everything you are looking for. Usually, offers are not great or terrible. They are somewhere in between. The negotiation will go a lot smoother, with both parties happy if you are willing to be flexible in a little give-and-take. Keep in mind that every time you make a counteroffer, you risk buyers walking away from the sale. (of course, you also have that same option as well). If you have a sticking point on which you are unwilling to compromise, make sure it is so important to you that you accept the possibly of the sale falling apart.

The best advice you can get is to prioritise your needs. List the pros and cons of the offer so you can see what the trade-offs are: If you absolutely must sell your apartment by a deadline for whatever reasons, be ready to give your buyer some financial incentive for agreeing to your urgent timeframe. Or if you have a strict bottom-line to meet financially, be flexible when it comes to the buyer’s other requests. 

▸ Step 3: Accept Offer and Close the Deal

When you are finally willing to accept an offer on the table, you will need to work fast to close the deal. This will take to form of you accepting the Goodwill Deposit in cash or bank transfer (amount varies from VND 100 million to 500 million) from the prospective buyer, with both parties signing the exact same Deposit Agreement prepared by your real estate agent, if you have appointed one.

At this point in the selling process, if both the buyer and you the seller change your minds and choose to terminate the transaction, a penalty will be subjected. You as the seller will have to pay a penalty amounting to double the Goodwill Deposit amount paid by the buyer should you choose not to sell your apartment.

You can choose to allow the buyer to stretch the bulk of the payment to you before signing the Sale and Purchase Agreement (SPA) or “Agreement to Transfer SPA” contract in the case of an apartment that has not receive the Ownership Certificate). This payment period is decided on a willing seller willing buyer basis. Usually, most buyers will have the payment prepared in 1 to 2 months, with few situations requiring a longer payment period exceeding 3 months.

As a rule of thumb, the collection of the payment monies (either in cash or bank transfer) and signing the SPA or “Agreement to Transfer SPA” contract is executed back-to-back at the notary office. Either of these contracts are prepared by the notary office using their standard format. The notary officer will witness the signing of the contacts, endorse and stamp on it – The deal is now closed. 

▸ Step 4: Preparing Documents for Transferring Apartment

Prior to the meeting between the buyer and seller at a notary office, you the seller will need to prepare the following documents as required by the notary office.

Marriage Certificate: For sellers who are married, this document is compulsory even if the property is purchased under one name, the spouse must also be present at the notary office to give consent to selling the apartment. If the spouse is not able to be present, he/she will need to provide a notarized Authorization Letter (Power of Attorney) to the husband/wife. For sellers who are single, a “No Record of Marriage” document from the registrar of marriage at your respective home country is needed.

Ownership Certificate: For apartments that have been issued with an Ownership Certificate (pink book) by competent authorities in Ho Chi Minh City, you the seller will need to bring the original copy down to the notary office.  

Original Sale and Purchase Agreement: In the case where the Ownership Certificate for the apartment is yet to be issued. You the seller will need this document that was either signed with the developer (new launch property) or the “Agreement to Transfer SPA” signed at the point when you bought the apartment from another seller.

Letter of Confirmation: You the seller will need to submit a request form to the developer to assign the Sale and Purchase Agreement, and the developer subsequently, issue a Letter of Confirmation undertaking that the apartment has not yet applied for Ownership Certificate, is allowed by law to be transferred and the total payment amount the developer received for the apartment (situation whereby Ownership Certificate is not yet issued).

▸ Step 5: Executing the Transfer of Apartment

Both the you the seller and your buyer will fix an appointment with a Notary Office and meet together to execute the signing of a SPA (resale) or Agreement to Transfer SPA (sub-sale). Prior to signing the contract on that day, you will collect the payment of up to an accumulated 95% to 98% of the agreed price from the buyer.

The Notary Officer will witness, stamp and endorse on the contract (notarisation). And you will handover keys and Ownership Certificate (if any) to the property to the buyer.

▸ Step 6: Transaction Completion

Finally, after the notary office appointment, you the seller will need to complete the submission of seller’s “Personal Income Tax (PIT) Declaration Form” at the local tax department and subsequently return to pay the PIT upon receipt of the formal Tax Notification within 7 to 10 days from your initial submission.

In the situation whereby the apartment does not have an Ownership Certificate, you the seller will have to send the original copies of the “Agreement to Transfer SPA”, “PIT Declaration Form”, “Receipt of PIT Payment” and all original copies of the SPA to the developer to issue a letter of “Final Confirmation” of the transfer. 

In the situation whereby the apartment has an Ownership Certificate, you will need to support your buyer in submitting his application for the change of name on the apartment Ownership Certificate (popularly known as pink book) with the local People’s Committee office, together with the notarized copy of the “Agreement to Transfer SPA”, and the seller’s “PIT Declaration Form” and “’Receipt of PIT Payment”. 


This article is intended to be an informational resource to help home sellers understand the process of selling a Ho Chi Minh City apartment. It is by no means a replacement for professional home selling services. Home sellers are advised to engage the professional services of a career-minded real estate agent and use the information in this article to ensure that your interests are protected.