Bare ownership sale vs. life annuity sale

When it comes to selling a property in Belgium, there are two interesting and sometimes little-known options:

bare ownership sales and life annuity sales.


Although these two methods may seem similar, there are significant differences between them that are worth exploring, particularly in Brussels, one of the most dynamic areas of the Belgian property market.

1. Bare ownership sales :

Bare ownership sales involve transferring ownership of a property while retaining the usufruct, i.e. the right to live in it or receive rental income from it. The main features of bare ownership sales in Brussels are as follows:

The seller:

The seller transfers bare ownership of the property while retaining the usufruct. They may continue to live in the property or rent it out, but they no longer have full ownership.

The buyer:

The buyer acquires bare ownership of the property. They will have to wait until the usufructuary dies before taking full possession.


Purchase price:

The purchase price for bare ownership is generally lower than for full ownership, as the buyer cannot enjoy the property immediately.


Usufruct :

The usufructuary retains the right to live in or rent the property for the rest of his or her life.



The tax aspects of bare ownership vary according to the length of the usufruct and the value of the property. It can be advantageous from a tax point of view.

2. Life annuity sales :


Life annuity sales are another interesting option, especially for older sellers who wish to dispose of their property while benefiting from a life annuity. Here are the key points of a life annuity sale in Brussels:


The Seller:

The seller, also known as the creditor, sells his or her property in exchange for a regular life annuity and the right to remain in the property until his or her death.


The Purchaser:

The purchaser, or debirentier, pays a life annuity to the vendor in exchange for the right to become the owner of the property at term, i.e. on the death of the creditor.


Purchase price:

Unlike bare ownership sales, the purchase price of a life annuity is often higher, as it includes the life annuity paid to the vendor.


Life annuity:

The seller receives a regular life annuity from the buyer until his or her death, guaranteeing a stable income.



Life annuities are tax-advantaged in Belgium, with partial tax exemptions.


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