What Details Should be Part of a Real Estate Contract?

by Lili Patch 11/18/2020

Image by mohamed Hassan from Pixabay

When you make an offer on a home, your real estate agent will create a real estate contract, also known as a purchase agreement. Before you sign this, you should make sure you understand it. This is a legally binding agreement, and you need to be certain you’ve made the right choice. So what’s really in a real estate contract? Here are the key points it will contain.

1. The Price

The price you are offering to pay for the home is a key point in the contract. This may or may not be what the seller listed the home for. Make sure your price reflects the current market trends and the condition of the property.

2. Important Dates

Your contract will include several important dates. These include:

Target date for the closing

Offer expiration date

Deadline for certain things, like the home inspection

Choose dates that are reasonable but that give you answers soon enough to make your own decisions about the purchase of the home.

3. Earnest Money

To show that you are serious about the offer, your contract will include earnest money. This is like a deposit on the purchase of the home, and the money will go towards the purchase at your closing. If you walk away from the home purchase without just cause, the seller can keep that earnest money

4. Contingencies

Contingencies are a major part of the contract, and often one that’s the least understood. These are the conditions you’re asking the seller to fulfill before you will proceed with the contract. Contingencies may include the inspection, any known repairs needed or any allowances you want to purchase items for the home or do repairs yourself. You can add any number of contingencies to the offer contract, but they do make the contract less appealing to the seller. That said, it’s always wise for buyers to make an offer contingent on inspection, as the inspection offers important protection.

5. Additional Details

Finally, the contract will include details about who pays for the various costs of the home sale, including the title insurance, closing costs, survey and inspections. It will also contain the details about how and when the utilities will change from the current owner to the new one if the sale moves forward.

Whether you are a buyer making an offer or a seller receiving one, take some time to have your real estate agent walk you through these components of the contract. Make sure you understand the document fully before you sign it. This will protect you from making a mistake on this serious and legally-binding agreement.

About the Author
Author

Lili Patch

Radio Personality turned Realtor; I welcome the opportunity to turn house selling and house hunting into a fun and educated experience. House buying should feel like you're shopping with a friend, and I will keep you in the loop the entire time so you will not be wondering what you just signed or what happens next. It's that seamless, and we may even have lunch or dinner. I do this because when I started my real estate journey on the east coast, buying my first condo at the age of 18, I was clueless. I wished I had someone who had made that a stress free transaction- but it wasn't, and thats how I got the Real Estate bug. Let's take a step back first though to my first "job", I studied communications and entered the broadcasting industry. Through the years I purchased some more properties, and felt there was a gap that needed to be filled in the Real Estate profession. I set the bar very high on skill set & customer service. I have Real Estate Licenses in 4 states, which means I have more education, and training than most agents. My level of knowledge, strategy and experience is what sets me apart. I know how important being an astute negotiator is, being relentless, and answering the phone when it rings. I have earned certifications as a Seller Representative Specialist (SRS), a Certified Home Marketing specialist (CHMS), and a Pricing Strategy Advisor (PSA).

Meeting with people and traveling both east coast and west coast has given me a broad appreciation of the different laws, protections, and scenario's you encounter in real estate. Having the benefit of my communication background coupled with the vast knowledge of multi-state experience has been the backbone of my success.