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Columns : Let's Talk Real Estate - James Sarles Last Updated: Nov 12, 2012 - 3:06:04 PM


Understanding the Sales Contract
By James Sarles
Feb 23, 2007 - 3:53:01 PM

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The purchase or sale of a home is one of the most complicated business transactions most people will be involved in during their lifetime.

Whether the print is large or small, there is a lot of it! The purchase agreement covers not only the price of the property, but has many paragraphs covering the terms under which it will be conveyed to the new owners.

When you list your home for sale or when you begin your search for a new home, ask your Realtor for a copy of the standard purchase sales agreement. Familiarize yourself with the document ahead of time, and make certain you understand the responsibilities of both parties between the initial meeting of the minds and the closing date.

You should be aware of all of the deadlines in the purchase agreement. Each contract is different, but there are usually time limits covering the financing application, the loan commitment, and the closing.

The Bahamas Real Estate Association has standard contracts but most lawyers in Freeport prefer to write their own contracts.

It is customary for the seller’s attorney to prepare the first draft of the purchase sales agreement. You greatly increase the chances of a smooth transaction by being fully informed.

The stacks of papers that you have to sign in order to buy a house can leave you confused. The attorney conducting the closing will ask you to sign your name to countless documents that are filled with “legalese”.

Some buyers just barely glance at each form and sign them with out a lot of questions, while others find it very frustrating to try to read every form at the closing table.

You should try to understand the papers you sign. If you are getting a loan to buy the property, much of the paper work will come from the bank.

In most cases, there is little time to read everything in advance because the forms arrive at the closing office shortly before closing is scheduled to begin.

Most of the documents use standardized language, however, you should be able to get copies of the documents ahead of time from the lender so that you can have your questions answered and be comfortable with the settlement process.

When you are selling a home, the most important part of the transaction occurs after you have found the buyer.

If your property is being marketed professionally, the Realtor will put together the purchase offer and present it to you.

Even the lease agreements for rentals are very important to understand.

I recently leased a home to a nice family who had just moved to Freeport and they understood that the house they were renting was for sale and I would be allowed to show it to prospective buyers.

The very first showing resulted in a sale and based on the lease agreement the tenants had to leave the home in 90 days which is a standard clause.

They were not totally aware that they would have to leave the house if it was sold because they did not fully read the contract.

If there are clauses you do not fully agree with that could cause a problem for you “in the event” … there is nothing wrong with negotiating a mutually agreeable solution or alternative clause in the contract.

If both parties agree the clauses can be amended. Work closely with your attorneys and real estate agents to make sure that the contract s work for both parties.

Real Estate sales are complicated and a slight variation in language can sometimes cost you sale and/or a lot of money.

Whether you are buying or selling a property your Realtor and your attorney can bring professional experience to all the challenging situations that may arise and leave you with peace of mind as the transaction is brought to a satisfactory conclusion.  Until next week.

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