Since there are many different contract forms each will require specific information to be complete. It is in the seller's best interest to have an agreement that shows each aspect of the sale in the clearest possible language. A number of common areas would include:
The Property: There must be a full description, including street address and, with many forms, the lot, block, and subdivision.
Fixtures: What, specifically, comes with the property? The carpets? Curtain rods( Shrubs? Some forms furnish this information while others do not. It makes sense to fully spell out what is included in the sale.
Dates: What is the date of the agreement? When will settlement be held? What day will the buyers gain possession?
Terms: What are the terms of the sale? Will your mortgage be assumed? What will the deposit be at the time the offer is written? How much will the buyer pay as a down payment? What about the rate of interest and monthly payments?
Price: What is the full price of the property? Will the buyer pay extra for certain items such as a dining room fixture? Will you pay points forward settlement or other costs?
Parties: Exactly who is buying and who is selling? What names are to appear on the deed? Suppose the buyer is separated. Can you make a valid sale without the agreement of the spouse? See an attorney for the rules in your jurisdiction.
Proration: If you have pre-paid a year's taxes will the buyer make an adjustment if the tax year is not over? What about other items, such as fuel oil that is left in the tank?
Termites: Is a termite inspection required? What happens if termite damage is shown?
Condition: The seller should agree to deliver the property at settlement in the same condition that existed at the time of the sales agreement.
Contingencies: What special contingencies are required for your sale? Get specific language for contingencies from your attorney.
Settlement: Who selects the title company or settlement attorney? Who pays for these services. These questions are a matter of negotiation, though it is suggested that sellers should pay for settlement services when the settlement provider is selected by the purchasers.
This listing of possible contract topics is mot meant to be exclusive. Rather, it is to illustrate certain areas that can lead to prolonged conflict if not adequately stated in the sales agreement. To avoid contract disputes, agreements should be clear to both parties and drawn under the supervision of an attempt or real estate broker.
Peter G. Miller teaches the course, "How to Sell Your Home - With or Without a Broker" through the Consumernformation Institute in Washington.