The Contract

The Contract

As soon as your offer is accepted, the seller’s agent or  

lawyer will begin preparing a formal contract for you to  

sign. It will detail all of the key terms of the sale: 


The amount that is due 


The property that is covered by the price, including  

any appliances or furnishings 


When the sale will be finalized 


What contingencies, or situations, would void the  

agreement, such as your inability to get financing  

within a certain period
Most of the language in the contract is standard— 

commonly known as boilerplate—but there may be some 

very specific provisions as well. For example, the sellers  

may want to make the sale contingent on their being able  

to move into their new home on schedule.

other approach is standard in the area 

where you’re looking, and the amount  

may not be negotiable. You may also have 

to pay for the services of your financing 

provider’s attorney, again depending on 

local custom. Using the provider’s attorney 

may be a cost-saving alternative, but hiring 

your own legal representative is a better 

idea and worth the added cost. 

Signing a Sales Contract

The terms of a purchase are spelled out in a legal contract 

the buyer and seller sign.






It’s important that you hire an experi-

enced real estate attorney to review  

the sales contract before you sign. The  

document’s language is specialized, and 

may include some conditions that favor 

the seller rather than you. You don’t  

want to agree to anything that could  

cost you extra time or money, or that 

might limit your rights.

You may want to ask your financial 

adviser, real estate agent, or lender to  

recommend a real estate attorney. Or  

if you’ve worked with an attorney in a  

different capacity, you may want to ask 

him or her for a recommendation.

An attorney may charge an hourly rate 

or a set fee calculated as a percentage of 

the purchase price. Generally, one or the