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How can you avoid unfavorable terms in a real estate contract?

Most people in South Florida probably know the basics about purchasing real estate. It goes something like this: a buyer finds a piece of property that is for sale, the buyer and seller negotiate the terms of the sale, money is exchanged and title of the property is transferred. It seems pretty simple, right? There's just one problem: the terms in the contract that is negotiated between the parties can come back to haunt one side or the other if they don't get it right before the contract is signed.

So, how can a South Florida resident avoid unfavorable terms in their real estate contract? Probably the most important part for both buyer and seller is to be up front about what they want. For instance, a buyer typically wants the property to be transferred completely unencumbered by liens or other issues, and the buyer also wants the seller to disclose any potential problems with the property prior to the sale. From the seller's point of view, there needs to be some certainty that the buyer can pay what they promise when they promise to do so.

Why is it so important to get the contract terms right prior to putting pen to paper? Our readers probably know, because it can be quite obvious - if there is a problem, the result could be a real estate dispute that leads to litigation.

Both buyers and sellers involved in a real estate transaction will typically have an attorney review the contract at issue prior to signing it. The timing is critical - after a contract is already signed, there probably isn't much that an attorney can do to alter the terms of the contract.

Those dealing with a dispute regarding a real estate transaction should understand their rights and legal remedies. This could help them enforce all or part of a current contract or help them seek damages for a breach.

Source: www.americanbar.org, "Buying and Selling a Home," Accessed Feb. 28, 2015

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