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Right of First Refusal Agreement

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The right of first refusal agreement grants one party the opportunity to purchase a property or asset before it is offered to others, usually on the same terms. If the party with the ROFR declines to enter a deal, the seller may accept alternative offers. A right of first refusal agreement is common in real estate leases since it allows renters to purchase homes they occupy first. This post will cover several key aspects of a right of first refusal agreement.

Important Clauses in the Right of First Refusal Agreement

The particular clauses in a ROFR agreement in the United States may vary based on the parties involved and the nature of the transaction. Nevertheless, some typical clauses that are frequently included are:

  • Scope: This clause specifies the property or asset covered by the agreement and determines the scope of the right of first refusal. It could provide a detailed property description, such as the address or legal description.
  • Financing Contingency: A condition in a ROFR agreement may allow the party to exercise the right to receive financing on terms comparable to those given to the third-party buyer. It ensures the party has a reasonable chance of obtaining the necessary finances.
  • Notification: This provision emphasizes the property owner's obligation to notify the party with first refusal about any potential sale or transfer of the property. It outlines how and when such notice must be given.
  • Offer: This section specifies the conditions under which the property owner must make an offer to the party having the right of first refusal. It may include the purchase price, payment terms, and other pertinent information.
  • Acceptance: This clause specifies how long the party with the right of first refusal has to accept or decline the offer. It usually contains a response deadline and the repercussions of failing to react on time.
  • Right to Assign: The agreement may indicate whether the party with the right of first refusal may assign their right to another party. The original party can transfer their right to purchase or lease the property to a third party if approved.

Benefits of Right of First Refusal Agreements

  • Acquire Property: A potential buyer with the right of first refusal can be the first in the queue to acquire the property. They can acquire the asset at a lower cost or secure a great investment opportunity. It also provides continuity for tenants who wish to acquire the home where they now reside, accumulating equity while not having to relocate.
  • Control and Security: The ROFR agreement gives the party with the right of first refusal a sense of control and security. They have the authority to determine whether or not to proceed with the deal, ensuring that their interests are protected.
  • Potential for Future Gain: If the property's value rises over time, the party with the right of first refusal can gain by purchasing it on predetermined terms, which may result in a profit if they choose to sell later.
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Key Considerations When Drafting a Right of First Refusal Agreement

A right of the first-refusal agreement must be carefully drafted to reflect the terms and conditions the concerned parties require. The specific terms and conditions of a ROFR agreement can vary depending on the negotiations between the parties involved. Consulting an attorney is important to understand the exact implications and requirements before drafting the agreement. When skillfully constructing such an agreement, the following considerations are important:

  • Specifying the Parties and the Assets: Beginning the agreement with a precise identification of the parties (grantor and grantee) and a description of the asset or property covered by the right of first refusal.
  • Defining the Essential Terms: Provide a definitions section to clarify and prevent misconceptions. Explain key phrases used in the contract, such as "right of first refusal," "notice and offer," "purchase conditions," and "exercise of right."
  • Stating the Scope and Restrictions: Clearly state the right of first refusal's restrictions and scope, including whether it covers the entire property or just a certain area. Indicate any restrictions, exclusions, or limitations that may apply to the grantee's right use.
  • Including the Mechanism for Offering Notice: Create a procedure by which the grantor will inform the grantee of their intention to sell the property. Include any relevant deadlines for the grantee to react and declare their desire to buy.
  • Describing Purchase Requirements: Mention the purchase price or the process used to determine the price. Describe any restrictions or stipulations that must be fulfilled for the acquisition to be finalized. Indicate the terms of payment, including a schedule and method of payment.
  • Exercising the Rights: Clearly describe the steps the grantee must take to exercise their right of first refusal. Give the grantee a timeframe by which they must notify you in writing whether they want to exercise the right. Discuss any property-transfer requirements, such as needed paperwork and closing procedures, in line with the law.
  • Establishing Conditions: Establish the conditions under which the grantee may relinquish or waive their right of first refusal. Any conditions or requirements that must be completed for the release or waiver to be effective should be specified.
  • Determining Governing Law and Jurisdiction: Indicate the laws that will apply to the agreement and the region or court that will handle any potential legal difficulties.
  • Providing for Execution: Leave enough room for both parties to sign and date the agreement. Include a place for witnesses or a notary public to sign and authenticate the agreement if required by local law.

Practical Applications of Right of First Refusal Agreements

A right-of-first-refusal clause is relevant in a few circumstances:

  • Between a Landlord and a Tenant: If a tenant or tenants are interested in purchasing the rental property in which they live and the lease has a right-of-first-refusal clause, the landlord must consider their offer first.
  • Among Family Members: This provision is typically utilized when a family member wants to purchase a home. When the residence goes on the market, the family member (or relatives) can bid first. However, if the family isn't interested in the property, the owner can sell it to a third party.
  • When Dealing with a Homeowners' Association or Condo Board: A homeowners association or condo board may include a right-of-first-refusal clause in their governing documents. It enables the board to screen prospective buyers before a homeowner accepts an offer. Many communities utilize the clause to protect themselves from scenarios such as discount sales that might reduce their worth. In other situations, it even allows the board to reject an offer completely.

Key Terms for Right of First Refusal Agreements

  • Grantor: The party who owns the property or asset and grants the right of first refusal.
  • Grantee: The party who receives the right of first refusal.
  • Right of First Refusal: A contractual clause that gives one party the right to match any offer or proposed transaction made by another party before it may be accepted.
  • Offer: A proposition or statement of interest from a third party to sell or transfer a certain asset or right.
  • Proposed Transaction: Any planned transaction or arrangement concerning the subject matter of the ROFR, such as the sale, lease, or transfer of property or assets.
  • Trigger Event: An event that initiates the right of first refusals, such as the owner's choice to sell, lease, or transfer the property or asset.

Final Thoughts on Right of First Refusal Agreements

A right of first refusal agreement allows the party with the defined right to purchase a property or asset before it is offered to others. This agreement guarantees that the party gets the first opportunity to acquire the property or asset on the agreed-upon conditions, allowing them to retain control and benefit from future opportunities. The party can make informed decisions, gain favorable conditions, and avoid missing out on important investments or acquisitions by exercising their right of first refusal.

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