5 Ways A Poor Home Sale Contract Could Cause Problems

Posted on: 11 November 2020

If you're not required to hire a real estate attorney for your home purchase or sale, should you still retain one to help with the contracts? The answer is probably yes. Why? While they appear somewhat standard, real estate contracts made by nonprofessionals can be at an even greater risk of failure than most business contracts.

Here are some of the most common ways that your contract could cause problems. 

1. Errors

A simple error can cost you thousands during a home sale. This might range from a misplaced digit in the price to the wrong party ordered to pay certain closing costs. In long contracts — such as real estate contracts can be — it can be difficult to spot these types of errors. The more professional eyes you have on the contract, the less chance there is that something will be missed. 

2. Omissions

Because they are legal documents, omissions cause binding situations. If your contract fails to address what happens to money already paid to the seller if the contract is breached, you may not receive this money back if something falls through. And a contract that doesn't specify which specific items of property are being sold may rob you of expected inclusions. 

3. Vague Wording

The wording of any contract is key to the fulfillment of the terms. But terminology that seems sufficient to the one writing it may not actually be as clear as it should be. For instance, the contract might indicate that earnest money is due in 30 days. But if the contract is vague about when that clock starts, you may end up with payment on a much different schedule than expected.  

4. Legal Requirements

The contract must specify certain things in order to be legally valid. Without these legal requirements, you may not be able to enforce the contract in its entirety. If a home is jointly owned and both owners are not included and sign off on it, for example, the contract wouldn't be enforceable. Details about the property may also need to be specified in order to make the sale valid. 

5. Negative Terms

Once a contract is signed, both parties are bound by its terms — no matter how good or bad for their side. If you aren't aware that a particular ingredient in the contract might not work out well for you or might cause an unwanted loophole, you will be stuck with it. Legal experts are trained to know what to look for. 

Clearly, there are many ways in which your home sale contract could go badly. Avoid these problems by working with an experienced real estate lawyer in your state. The small investment of time and money will help ensure a stress-free sale and minimal unwanted expenses. 


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