By John J. Torrone, Esq.
Purchasing a home is one of the largest investments that a person will make. If you purchase a home, due to the complex nature and technicalities involved, you should consult an attorney at the earliest stage of buying or selling a home.
Once an offer is accepted it is a binding legal contract, which creates certain obligations and rights for both a buyer and seller. These obligations and rights are often altered or expanded in the purchase and sale agreement. It is important to thoroughly review the purchase and sale agreement, as many issues addressed in it can have financial impacts on the transaction.
There are many so called, “standard form” purchase and sale agreements available from a number of different organizations, however, no one form is appropriate for all real estate transactions. These “standard forms” are often amended significantly for each transaction. These forms often contain intricate wording that can create a disadvantage to one or both parties.
There are many issues that need to be addressed when drafting a Purchase and Sale Agreement. The following is a list of some of the common provisions within such an agreement:
· Buyer’s right to have the home inspected by a qualified professional, and to inspect for pest, lead paint and other hazardous materials, and Title 5 issues;
· The purchase price and the amount of the deposit to be paid;
· Any items of personal property that are included in the sale such as appliances and above ground swimming pools;
· Seller’s obligation to vacate the property and remove all of there personal property prior to the closing;
· Seller’s obligation to transfer the property free of any tenants;
· Buyer’s obligation to obtain financing by a certain date;
· Seller’s right to keep the deposit if buyer defaults on its obligation;
· The date, time and location of the closing;
· The parties respective right to sue for damages;
· Credits to the Buyer towards closing costs; and,
· Obligation for hazard insurance, as well as, obligations to purchase even if house is destroyed.
In order to protect your investment it is imperative that you understand all of your obligations under the purchase and sale agreement prior to signing it. Signing an agreement prior to review with your attorney can be detrimental and costly if the agreement is poorly worded. There are often many matters that a buyer and seller many not recognize as problems, that if overlooked will likely cause undue stress and financial loss.
Once an agreement is entered into, it becomes very difficult for an attorney to protect the client if the client bargained away rights prior to consulting the attorney about the transaction.