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Real Estate Sales Contracts

A real estate contract is a binding document that obligates both parties to its terms, and great care must be taken when drafting it. Any imprecise terms or sloppy drafting could come back to haunt one or both of the parties, especially the one who drafted it. One way to avoid the risks of a contractual mistake or oversight is to hire a real estate lawyer to review all terms. 

Each Transaction Should Have its Own Contract

There is no such thing as a typical real estate contract. Each transaction has its own terms that are negotiated by the buyer and seller. For example, there could be repairs that need to be made, and the contract will specify who is responsible for them. 

Every deal may have its own contingencies, and these need to be spelled out in the agreement. Otherwise, parties will not have the contractual protections necessary for their situation. Someone should closely review the contract, both as it is drafted, and before it is signed. After the real estate deal is closed, the parties lose the legal right to change the contract, and a judge will enforce what is written and interpret any ambiguities.

Everything should be in writing and included in the contract itself.  Text messages, verbal conversations and emails that include negotiations but that do not expressly make it into the contract will likely be deemed unenforceable.   

Clearly Address the Inspection Process and Other “Outs”

One important contingency is the inspection process. This is often what can hold up the deal and cause disputes between the seller and buyer. The reason why this is a contingency is that the buyer has the ability to walk away from the deal if the property cannot “pass” an inspection. Another common contingency gives the buyer an out if they cannot obtain the financing to buy the property. 

In addition, the contract should clearly specify what is included in the sale. The seller may wish to include some personal property items as part of the sale. The contract should exclude what the seller wants to retain, so the buyer does not expect to take possession of these when the deal closes. Otherwise, the buyer may be entitled to them as part of the transaction. All important material terms should be included.

Perhaps the most important part of the real estate sales contract is the provision that covers what happens when one of the parties does not live up to their obligations under the contract. This will give the other party the legal right to enforce the contract and penalize the other side when they have breached the terms. Parties need to watch out for provisions that might waive their right to a jury trial and it is important to include prevailing party provisions so there is an ability to recover attorneys fees and costs if a dispute arises.  It is also important to understand liquidated damages provisions before you sign.  Having a real estate attorney review a contract before execution may save time, money, and heartache for the parties later down the line.

What Our Clients Say

My family and I are thankful to Maddox, Segerblom and Canepa for their assistance during a three year case regarding construction defects to our home. We are truly appreciative of their knowledge, determination and assistance during this process. They were always courteous, and available to answer any and all of our concerns and questions. Thank you for the wonderful resolution. Many thanks to you and your staff.

Frances Castelli

We used Maddox, Segerblom & Canepa to represent us in a legal suit re problems in construction on new properties that we purchased from a developer.

We were very pleased with the representation provided by this law firm. They were fully communicative, responsive to our questions and were very knowledgeable about the issues that required resolution. Even after we reached a resolution, they have been responsive in making sure to point us in the right direction for help with repairs that are required.

We would recommend them to others with similar issues that require legal help.

Atam & Margo Lalchandani

Maddox, Segerblom & Canepa did a FANTASTIC job in our construction defects case. I interacted with several people from their office throughout our 2 year litigation. Their staff is friendly, knowledgeable and always prompt about getting back to you when you have questions/comments/concerns. I especially enjoyed working with Darcy, Ardea, Eva, and Sandra. Being part of a lawsuit is no fun for anyone, but if you have to be a part of one, I can’t say enough positive things about this firm!

Victoria Fox

The law firm of Maddox, Segerblom, and Canepa were amazing to work with. They were thorough and always available for any questions we had. We worked a lot with Sandy who was always professional, friendly, always on time for appointments and just a great person to represent this firm. We have never been involved in a law suit before and they made it comfortable for us. We appreciate the hard work the lawyers and people who work for the firm did and would recommend them.

Becky Loudenburg
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