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Contract for Sale of Real Estate

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A contract for the sale of real estate is a lawfully binding contract that governs the sale and purchase of real estate between the real buyers and the sellers. It lays down the terms and conditions that are to be fulfilled for a valid contract. It includes various information, such as the transaction terms, furnishing requirements, and other obligations from the buyer and the seller. However, before entering into a contract, a lot of information must be gained by both parties to give effect to a valid contract.

Contents of a Contract for Sale of Real Estate

A contract for the sale of real estate contains various information. Contents of the contract for the purchase of real estate are listed below.

  • Asset Identification Details: A real estate sale contract outlines the specifications of the asset being sold, such as the house. It provides the physical location, size, landmark location, length, and width of the asset for proper identification.
  • Price and Conditions: The contract for the sale of real estate also contains the transaction price and other conditions levied upon the sale of the real estate. It also outlines the deposit required to secure the deal in the first place and the process of paying the remaining balance.
  • Due Diligence: A section of due diligence is always included in the contract for the sale of real estate, which requires a purchaser to acknowledge it while giving effect to the agreement. It also consists of the indemnification clause and the purchaser's acknowledgment of the asset. It also levies the right to terminate the deal under certain conditions.
  • Conditions Applicable Before Closing: The contract of sale for real estate also lists down the conditions that must be fulfilled before closing the deal to make it legally binding. It provides outlines for the seller that he must adhere to in case of unforeseen litigation impacting the transaction. It also provides the insurance and warranties that will continue to exist to maintain the exclusivity of the real estate.
  • Remedies for the Damages: The contract for the sale of real estate provides for circumstances in which the seller is required to take cognizance of the damage to the real estate. It defines the level of damages and the remedies available for the buyer as well as for the seller.

Note: You can also check out the template of the contract for the sale of real estate for a better understanding: Contract for sale (SEC.Gov)

Key Conditions for Smooth Transactions in Contract for Sale of Real Estate

In a contract for the sale of real estate, there can be various conditions that must be fulfilled for the contract to come into existence successfully without any hindrance. Here are some of the conditions that can be listed in a contract of sale of real estate:

  • Inspection of the Property: It is always a good idea to include a home inspection contingency in your contract for the sale of real estate. This clause helps you inspect the property and check every significant detail before you make the deal. It also saves the buyer in case the buyer walks away from the deal if the home inspection reveals certain expensive repairs, flaws, or unfavorable conditions of the property. Any negligence on the part of the buyer will have future financial implications. For instance, if the buyer discovers during the home inspection that the property has some leakage that the seller did not disclose earlier could result in significant expenses. The buyer is free to back out of the agreement. This will not be considered a breach of contract.
  • Furnishing: The contract for the sale of real estate must specify additions that are made while negotiating on any fixtures and appliances that need to be included as a condition for the purchase. For example, If the buyer wants appliances or furnishings of the property, for example, a refrigerator, sofa, washing machine, and other fixtures and appliances, then it is a better idea to enter into a written agreement with the seller regarding the same. Failure to list it in the contract will not provide benefits to the buyer.
  • Mutual Decision on the Closing Date: The date of closing the contract must be decided mutually by both parties. Mutually decide a date within which you think will be convenient for removing all the contingencies and obtaining all the paperwork. Don't decide simply based on assumptions; be sure to analyze all the situations before concluding. For example, suppose the buyer and seller agree to keep a date of closing on 30th March. However, they failed to consider that all the paperwork and other responsibilities might not be completed within the same time. In this scenario, this will fail the transfer of the real estate property.
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Earnest Money in a Contract for Sale of Real Estate

Earnest money is the deposit made by the buyer to the seller, representing the buyer's good faith in purchasing, such as acquiring a new home. However, it is only sometimes refundable, subject to conditions laid down in the contract. The amount of earnest money must be decided and specified in the contract. This serves as insurance for the seller that their time and effort are not going in vain and the buyer is genuinely willing to agree to purchase the real estate.

Note: For more information about earnest money, visit Earnest Money: What It Is and How Much It Is in Real Estate (investopedia.com).

Key Terms for a Contract for Sale of Real Estate

  • Earnest Money: Earnest money is the deposit made by the buyer to the seller, representing the buyer's good faith in purchasing.
  • Escrow Fees: It is a part of your monthly payment, which is used to pay property tax and make insurance payments.
  • Transfer Tax: It is the amount of fees charged by the Government to complete the transaction for the transfer of property from one owner to another.
  • Alienation of Property: It is the act of disposing of some part of the property over which the owner has the rights.

Final Thoughts on a Contract for Sale of Real Estate

A contract for sale is a legal document that is made to protect the interest of both the buyer and the seller. It gives effect to a valid purchase of the real estate between the parties upon fulfillment of the conditions as agreed by them. It is drafted to help the parties avoid unfavorable situations by accounting for unwanted contingencies involved with a home purchase and sale.

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