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What A Real Estate Contract Really Says

If you are buying or selling a house, sooner or later you will be faced with the task of reading and signing A Real Estate Contract. These seemingly confusing sheets of paper are actually quite simple and necessary to outline the particulars of the property and the transaction. By the time you are finished with it, there may be many crossed out parts, additions and initials to make it seem even more scary! You should read it thoroughly and never sign anything unless you know exactly what each item means. Your real estate agent can help and it's not a bad idea to get a lawyer the specializes in real estate as well.

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Most real estate contracts are pretty basic. Although each state has a different legal form, their job is to list out the property specifics, any contingencies to the sale and the particulars of the sale.

To describe the property, it will show the property address and may have the type of dwelling. It will show the selling price and list any warranties included with the sale as well as any disclosures such as the presence of lead paint or even a ghost! In addition, it will list anything that is specifically included or excluded with the house. When I sold my house, we went back and forth over several items here - usually this includes things like the stove, the fridge, the drapes etc... As they seller you may not want to include some things in the house - a nice antique chandelier that you bought for the dining room for example and you will need to list these specifically else it is assumed that anything that is attached will be sold with the house.

The real estate contract will also call out the contingencies such as what inspections it has to pass and who is expected to pay for what repairs. Typically you will want a general home inspection as well as well and septic if they have private services. A separate terminate and pest inspection may be performed as well. The contract should also specify the time frame in which these inspections should take place.

A real estate contract will also call out the terms of the offer such as the offer amount and the down payment (usually held in escrow at the real estate agents office). It will state how long the seller has to respond to either sign and accept or counter offer. It will also specify how long the buyer has to secure financing and the mortgage terms. And finally, it will state a date and place for the closing and a date for the buyers to take possession of the house.

As you can see, the real estate contract is nothing to fear and is there to spell out the terms of the sale to protect both buyer and seller.

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