Selling or buying a home is one of the largest financial steps a person can take. There are many aspects of buying and selling real estate, but one of the most complicated to understand is the large volume of real estate forms to be completed before, during, and after the process. Whether you are using a licensed realtor or going it alone, the majority of real estate forms are not difficult to understand once they've been explained.
The most important real estate form is the contract. A real estate contract is an agreement between both the buyer and the seller to exchange the real property. The information included on the form must be accurate down to the last detail. The contract will include mostly basic information including the names of the buyer and seller, the property address and legal plot description as recorded in the county records where the property is located. Also included in the contract are the price for which the buyer and seller have agreed upon and a description of which non-structural items will be transferred with the sale, such as appliances, window coverings, swing sets, hot tubs, etc. The contract must also include any inspections the buyer is requesting to perform.
A real estate contract will also include an agreed upon date, time, and place of closing and list any contingencies or addendum that may be attached to the agreement. The contract may be changed and updated during the negotiation of the sale and each section must be initialed anytime a change is made. When all of the details are mutually agreed upon, the final signatures and initialed changes are binding.
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Another commonly used real estate form is a property disclosure form. This form outlines any structural defects that the seller is aware of and therefore must disclose to potential buyers. Water leaks, termite damage, and the presence of lead-based paint are all included in the disclosure. In most states, a property disclosure form is required to accompany a binding contract.
Most people elect to perform inspections of property before they buy. A home inspection can range from a whole house inspection to only a termite inspection. Any inspection that is performed must be documented and included in the real estate forms with copies provided to both parties and to any applicable buyer lender. If the buyer is obtaining a mortgage, all other real estate forms must be furnished to the lender as well.
If you are selling or buying a home without a real estate agent, consult with a real estate attorney or a mortgage broker before completing any real estate forms you do not completely understand.