In North Dakota, Minnesota, and elsewhere throughout the United States, the sale of a particular parcel of real estate (whether residential or commercial in nature) begins with the preparation and execution of a real estate sales contract. This document is critical, as it not only describes the exchange that is to take place – that is, the parcel of property and the accompanying rights that the seller is exchanging for a sum certain provided by the buyer – but it also sets forth the rights each party has to the contract and provides a road map for the title company or law office closing the transaction.
Why You Should Not Do-it-Yourself When it Comes to Real Estate Contracts
“Do-it-yourself” or DIY is a popular concept when it comes to homes: instead of paying contractors and laborers thousands of dollars to complete a home improvement project, some homeowners will choose to do the project themselves and save money. Often times, however, the end result is not what they expected. Some home buyers or property buyers may take this same DIY philosophy and attempt to write their own sales contracts, too, and avoid paying an attorney to do this important work. This approach, however is fraught with peril. For example:
- The parties will be bound to the terms of the contract: If you fail to specify the rights and remedies you wish to have in the event that the other party breaches the contract (i.e., if the seller refuses to sell the property or the buyer fails to obtain financing within a reasonable time), you may not be able to pursue legal remedies that would otherwise compensate you for the economic harm you suffered.
- Errors or omissions can delay or derail your plans: While sales contracts for real estate do not necessarily need to be lengthy or complicated (in fact, they ought not be complicated so that both the buyer and the seller clearly understand their rights and responsibilities), these contracts do need to include certain, specific terms (the legal description of the property being sold, for example). Failing to include these necessary terms can result in your contract being unenforceable or, at the very least, requiring expensive and time-consuming litigation to clarify.
- Misunderstandings or vague terms can lead to an undoing of your contract: Both the buyer and the seller must have a “meeting of the minds” and agree to certain central, material elements of the sales contract. If the contract is drawn in language that is too vague, or if there is no evidence that both parties had the opportunity to visit with their own separate legal counsel about the contract, the contract can be set aside, or the closing may be delayed unnecessarily because the closing entity is not given clear instructions as to the parties’ intentions.
Thus, while an attorney’s assistance is not legally required in order to draft and execute a sales contract for real estate, such assistance can help ensure your sale or purchase is completed in a timely manner and with little disruption. Learn more about how a North Dakota or Minnesota real estate attorney can help you by contacting Dean Rindy at O’Keeffe O’Brien Lyson Attorneys online, or call 701-235-8000 or 877-235-8002.
Image courtesy of Unsplash/Pixabay