To restate the facts, you have looked for a house and have found one. You made an offer which the seller has accepted. For purposes of illustration, let’s say that you offered $200,000.00 for the house. You signed a binder agreement which outlines the terms of the sale, and you made sure your attorney received a copy of it. The home inspector you hired has made a report. You’re concerned about some missing shingles in the back of the house, a leaky faucet in the downstairs bathroom and some loose bricks in the front steps. Your attorney informs you that she has received the Contract of Sale (Purchase Agreement) from the seller’s attorney and would like to go over it with you.
First, let me demystify you with a brief description of the Contract of Sale (Purchase Agreement) document. Most residential real estate contracts are standard forms which are a few pages long, followed by add-on terms called “riders”. The standard form part of the Contract of Sale (Purchase Agreement) will be filled in with the basic terms of the transaction. The standard form provides spaces for names, addresses, purchase price, down payment, closing date, etc. As for the rider, every attorney seems to have a personalized list of specific terms deemed by him or her to be important enough to memorialize in writing at the end of the Contract of Sale (Purchase Agreement). As a good attorney experiences or hears of new and different real estate transaction problems over the years, he or she will adjust and add to his or her rider in order to protect future clients.
NOTE: A Contract of Sale (Purchase Agreement) is a flexible document and not just a form. You and your attorney can negotiate almost anything into a Contract of Sale and provide adequate protection for yourself against many occurrences.
The actual negotiation of a Contract of Sale (Purchase Agreement) may surprise you. It is not a knock-down, drag-out brawl around a long, polished table. In fact, it is quite common for you to sit down with the seller only once during the whole sale process – at the closing or settlement of the transaction.
The seller’s attorney usually drafts the Contract of Sale (Purchase Agreement) and forwards it to your attorney’s office. Your attorney should then speak with you about the house and what you want out of the deal. If you need assistance regarding closing, contact the very best real estate closing lawyers available.