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Real Estate Forms

Real estate purchase agreement forms, letters of intent and more

Real estate transactions can be very complex from a legal standpoint. It is in the best interests of both the buyer and the seller to have the terms of the agreement clearly spelled out in legally binding documents which will hold up in court should a dispute ever arise. To address these issues, many different real estate forms are available for your use.

While real estate contracts are highly varied and are always intended for use in very specific situations, they all share some common features. First, they make the expectations and obligations of both parties explicit. Second, they identify the conditions under which their contents apply and/or become invalid.

Types of Real Estate Contracts

Some of the most common types of real estate forms include:

  • Contract for deed. Also known as a land contract, a contract for deed is an agreement in which the owner of a property agrees to finance the sale price for the buyer, and the buyer consents to repay that loan in regular installments. A contract for deed allows the seller to keep the property title, while the buyer is able to inhabit and use the property (but not sell it or do anything else that an owner cannot do).
  • Letters of intent. A letter of intent, or LOI, is used to specify the terms of an agreement to purchase land. They are not legally binding, but instead represent an agreement to negotiate the sale of the property in good faith.
  • Mortgage agreements. A mortgage agreement is a financing contract in which a lender agrees to finance the buyer's purchase of a piece of property in exchange for repayment of the funds plus interest. These documents are used both by financial institutions and by individuals who are financing a real estate transaction on behalf of another party.
  • Real estate purchase agreements. The function of a real estate purchase agreement is to formalize the terms and conditions associated with the sale of a piece of property. A standard real estate purchase agreement will include the agreed-upon purchase price, the amount of the down payment, the duration for which the offer is valid, the sale's closing date and any additional terms or conditions upon which the agreement depends (such as a home inspection).

If you are going to use standardized real estate forms to save yourself some money, it is still a good idea to have your lawyer look over the contract before you sign it (as opposed to paying your lawyer to actually write the contract). Given the amount of money involved in real estate transactions, it is highly advisable that you take the time to fully understand all the terms, conditions, expectations and obligations of the contracts you'll have to sign.

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