Know Your Contracts, Know Your Rights
Working in a real estate office, I get to see a lot of contracts pass through. As they pass, these contracts get reviewed many times over and more often than not, I hear someone ask the questions about what happens if XYZ happens. The answer my friends? The answers are in black and white right in the contract. Contracts are your key to everything in a home purchase. Not only do they make the purchase of the home happen, but they lay out all the details of the how and why of the transaction.
Every page of your home purchase contract contains the details of who, what, when, where, why, and how…in addition to “what if?” As a buyer or seller, you should read these thoroughly and know what is contained within each and every page. Have questions? Ask your agent. Have more questions? Ask a lawyer. You have the right to have all contracts reviewed by an attorney and when in doubt, even though we use forms that are pre-written (by teams of lawyers), it is always a good idea to fully understand what you are signing.
Your agent should explain the contract to you – not just read it out to you, but give you the details that explain what happens and why – to explain the nuances and what will/won’t happen because of each section of the contract.
We see a lot of contracts – we see great ones and we see ones that aren’t so great. The key to any contract is the details. If you want a repair, be specific. If you want to keep the refrigerator that’s in the kitchen, be specific. If you want the sellers to pay for an item, be specific. The more specific you are with the details, the more ironclad your contract becomes. While we always hope for the best and that there is never a need for lawsuits, these details don’t seem all that important until there is one. I’ve heard agents say “but that’s the way it’s always been done” – a dangerous phrase if ever I heard one. While some things are done without too much worry, it’s not until they become an issue and someone gets sued that it really matters much. By analyzing the details and knowing why they matter to the contract, you can protect yourself and your transaction from a lot of hassle. Never be afraid to ask a lot of questions and get the answers. With all the details that are involved in a contract, it will save you hours later if something goes wrong.
image courtesy of zigazou76