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What should you include in a real estate contract?

When you are ready to make a major financial move, such as buying a house or other real estate property, you will certainly want to do your research. Whether that research involves looking at several houses, consulting with real estate agents or reviewing your financial records, making sure everything is in order before making a purchase could help you avoid major setbacks.

Something you may not have considered when looking into your real estate options relates to creating a contract. Contracts can prove useful in a variety of scenarios, especially those involving the exchange of money. With real estate contracts, you and the selling party can come to terms on a number of aspects relating to the transaction you hope will take place.

What to include

This major purchase could either prove beneficial or detrimental depending on any scenarios that arise that you may not have anticipated. However, your real estate contract could help you plan for and avoid unnecessary difficulties. When drafting the contract, you may want to consider addressing:

  • Closing costs: Closing costs can add up to thousands of dollars, and thinking about these costs in addition to the down payment could help you better understand what you may end up paying out of pocket. However, you could use your contract to negotiate the obligation of these costs and potentially have the seller take responsibility.
  • Financing terms: Because you, like most people, likely cannot pay for the entirety of your home purchase upfront, you will need to obtain a mortgage loan. You may want to include stipulations in your contract that relate to your purchase offer's contingency on obtaining the interest rates and approval you desire.
  • Household items: In some cases, a seller may agree to leave certain appliances in the home after the sale. However, you may want to ensure that you detail these terms in the contract. Though a person may have verbally stated that a refrigerator or other item would stay, he or she could fail to honor that agreement. If it is in writing, there is a lesser chance of that happening.

These terms represent only a small few of what you could include in a real estate contract. You may also want to include information regarding the closing date, home inspection and other terms specific to your circumstances.

Obtaining information and assistance

Because contracts can be legally binding, you may want to ensure that any terms included in your real estate contract meet legal standards. In order to do so, you may find consulting with a real estate attorney useful. While your real estate agent may have the ability to provide some useful tips and information on the terms of your contract, an attorney could ensure its legality and that it would benefit you.

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