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An option is an offer to buy or sell property (or to let or hire it) coupled with an undertaking by the offeror not to revoke the offer for a period of time. An example of an option (stated in its most elementary form) is the following:
It is important to stress that, if a buyer is interested in a particular property and would like an option to buy, the option is legally valid only if the seller (i) makes a valid, written offer to sell the property to the buyer, and (ii) undertakes not to revoke the offer before a certain date. A buyer receiving such an offer has an option to buy the property, and he may exercise it by accepting the offer within the time limit stipulated. If the option is exercised, a binding contract of sale comes into existence between the seller and the purchaser.
It is in both parties’ interest that all the terms of the proposed contract be contained in the option. In the case where a buyer wishes to obtain an option on a property, an estate agent can use his normal “Offer to Purchase” document by changing the heading of the document to “Offer to Sell”. The document must then be completed and signed by the seller. The time limit for acceptance of the offer must be clearly stated. When presented with this offer, the purchaser has an option to purchase the property.   
Sometimes the option grantor is paid for granting the option. When calculating transfer duty, this amount must be added to the price paid for the property.

Normally, however, the parties agree that the money paid for the option should go towards payment of the purchase price if the option is exercised.

An option to let or hire immovable property need not be in writing to be valid. It is nevertheless always advisable to record such options in writing to avoid disputes.