Understanding Your Real Estate Contract

The first time you read through a real estate contract, it can feel a bit like you’re trying to read a foreign language – which is why it is so important that you choose a Realtor who will explain everything carefully. There are critical timelines and statements that cannot be overlooked if the contract is to progress, and sometimes you may even require the interpretation of additional experts, like lawyers, if the buyer or seller wishes to make changes. In fact, our state contracts advise all buyers and sellers to seek legal advice if they need explanations on areas of the law. Realtors are not attorneys and cannot act as such, but they do need to understand and be able to point out all of the critical elements and timelines.

Some of the most important steps in the timeline are:

Execution date of the contract. This date is the basis around which all other important events are scheduled. From this date, other deadlines are set, such as the date that the contract must be handed into the title company, with earnest money. Also, the date on which the option check must be handed in, to avoid negating the contract.

Option period. This is a time period during which you have the unrestricted right to back out of the contract for any reason. The option period gives you time to get inspections done, and then resolve between buyer and seller what items from the inspection will be repaired as part of the agreement. The buyer must get agreement on desired repairs within the option period, or they are giving up any rights to have the repair done.

Finance timeline. Another important deadline revolves around the financing of a real estate purchase. Critically, two items in the finance addendum must be completed within an agreed-to time period. One is buyer approval and the other is property approval. They have separate deadlines, and both must be understood carefully if a buyer is to avoid losing earnest money.

There are many other important facts, timelines, and requirements in our multiple page contracts and addenda that a buyer or seller will need to understand if they wish to reach closing. And that’s when having an experienced, professional agent at your side can be very important. We are very proud at Beth Ferester & Company to have only high-caliber, experienced agents who are committed to excellence in serving buyers and sellers.

Even if you just need advice or consultation about real estate, we welcome the opportunity to assist you.

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  1. JP O'Grady Canary Gold 4:56