Real estate contracts are often long, difficult to understand documents. Buyers, sellers and investors can benefit from a basic understanding of some of the more common provisions.

Three specific examples that warrant careful review include:

  • Inspection. It is not uncommon for an offer to be contingent upon the results of property inspection. If such a provision is present, review it to make sure it specifically outlines the amount of time given to have the inspection complete.
  • Fixtures. The contract should clearly state what is included in the sale. This can include dishwashers, washers, dryers and other appliances.
  • Closing. There will likely be more than one provision that impacts the closing of the transaction. Two examples include provisions about closing costs and timeline. A buyer may include a provision within an offer that states the seller will cover a portion or the entirety of the closing costs. This can include costs associated with securing the title of the property as well as other fees and taxes. Both parties should review this provision. If it seems ambiguous, ask for clarification. Another closing provision should discuss the timeline of the transaction. The parties to a closing often set a timeline of between 30 and 60 days to complete the transaction.

In some cases, it is wise to take additional action to better ensure your interests are protected during the real estate transactions. An attorney experienced in real estate closings and title issues can review your documents and help reduce the risk of any surprises.