Making an offer on a home requires filling out a purchase contract. It's a multi-page document that conveys your offer in writing to the seller and lets him know how much you're willing to pay for the house. It includes other specifics like how much of a down payment you'll make, what items you expect to be included in the sale and, of course, the property address. In some states attorneys draft purchase contracts, but in most states a fill-in-the-blank purchase contract is routinely used. These are available through real estate agents and online legal document providers.
Fill in your name as the "buyer" on the purchase contract, as well as the amount of money you wish to put down on the home, and in what form the money will be, such as cash, cashier's check or personal check.
Get the signature of the agent or broker who will be holding the down payment and have her date the contract, as well. She should also fill in the name and phone number of the brokerage she is affiliated with.
Obtain the legal description of the property as well as the physical address -- including city, county, state and zip code -- and write it in on the first page of the contract. This information can come from the seller, the real estate agent or a title company.
List the items you expect to be included in the sale of the home. These are typically items like water heaters, refrigerators, light fixtures and window coverings. Your pre-printed purchase contract may list theses items and will provide you with a section to write in things that aren't already on the contract, as well as a place to write in items to be excluded and items that you will purchase from the seller under a separate transaction from the purchase of the home.
Fill in the amount you are offering on the property under "Purchase Price." The purchase price section includes spaces for you to break down the purchase price into categories: down payment, proceeds from a mortgage, loan assumption, seller financing, portion to be paid in cash at closing or "other." A portion of the total price will go next to the categories that apply to your purchase and those figures should add up to equal the offering amount.
Mark the financing condition that applies to the purchase. If you might be unable to obtain necessary financing and don't want to be obligated to buy the home without financing, you'll mark that the purchase is conditioned on you obtaining financing. If you don't need to qualify for a mortgage to make the purchase, you'll mark the option that indicates that the transaction is not conditioned on loan qualification.
Check the box that applies to the appraisal condition. This will tell the seller whether or not you will still purchase the home for the agreed upon amount if the home appraises for less than that amount.
Write in the conditions of possession. This tells the seller how soon after closing you expect to take physical possession of the property.
Complete the confirmation of agency disclosure. This is where the listing and selling agent and broker are identified and which party -- the buyer, seller or both -- the agent or agents represent. You must also initial this section of the contract; the seller will initial it when he accepts your offer.
Add any seller disclosures you require under "seller disclosures." Routine disclosures should already be listed, such as property condition disclosure, commitment for policy of title insurance, copies of leases affecting the property and written notice of conditions or problems that the seller is aware of.
Mark off the contract's contingencies; the evaluations and inspections that be "deal breakers" if unsatisfactory. These are items like your inspection and approval of the home, availability and cost of homeowner's insurance, satisfactory professional survey of the property and other evaluations and tests on the property that you might deem necessary.
Note whether there are additional terms you wish to place on the purchase, such as lead-based paint disclosures.
Ask for a home warranty plan, if you want one, and indicate if you wish the seller to select the warranty provider and pay for it. Write these items in the proper section of the contract.
Mark your dispute resolution preference. If a dispute arises before or after the sale is complete you should determine beforehand whether you want to submit to mediation or if you want that option to remain open.
Write the contract deadlines on the contract. These are the dates that items like the loan application and fee, seller disclosure, evaluations and inspections, loan denial, appraisal and closing are expected to be paid and completed by.
Fill in a deadline by which time you expect the seller to accept, reject or present a counter offer. This deadline includes a time as well as a date.
Sign and date below the acceptance deadline. Print your name, address and phone number where indicated on the final page of the contract. Initial and date the bottom of all pages where indicated.
Real estate boilerplate contracts vary by jurisdiction.
Do not add any special clauses, exceptions or conditions to the purchase contract. It is a legal and binding document and any incorrect wording or unclear verbiage can cause problems. Contact an attorney for help if it is necessary to include anything unusual in the contract.
Don't leave any lines blank on the purchase contract. If a section or item doesn't apply to your transaction write "N/A" on the line or next to the boxes to be checked.
Once the offer has been presented to the seller, he will fill in the acceptance, counter offer or rejection section and date and initial all pages of the contract and return it. You'll both sign and date the document receipt section once a final agreement has been reached.
There may be minor differences in contracts from state to state, but most require the same, basic information to be filled in.
- Washington Real Estate Fundamentals; Rockwell Publishing
- Starting Out: The Complete Home Buyer's Guide; Dian Hymer
- docstoc.com: Real Estate Purchase Contract Example
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