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Lacking Legal Counsel

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Posted On: 05/08/2013

Question:

I am trying to purchase a house from a private party without involving a real estate broker. We have agreed upon a price and the bank has approved my loan. The bank now needs a signed Purchase and Sale Agreement form, which I have been unable to locate online or obtain from a local office supply story. The bank does not carry them either. Can you tell me where I can get one of these forms, please? Time is important.

Answer:

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Real estate forms have become increasingly complex over the years as layer after layer has been added to protect both buyer and seller. Moreover, there are some forms that can be seen as pro-buyer and others can be seen as pro-seller. There are jurisdictions that require certain clauses and others that do not.

For instance, will there be a deposit with your offer? Who will hold deposit?

Will you have a professional home inspection? If yes, must the inspection be "satisfactory" to you or must you go through with the transaction regardless of what you find?

What happens if the appraised value of the property is less than the sale price? Will you have to bring the balance to closing in cash or is the deal off unless the price is renegotiated?

What comes with the property? Is there a list of items that have been declared "fixtures" that would not normally stay with the house?

You have found a home and a mortgage, but what you have not found is an attorney. To go further with this transaction, you need not a form but a lawyer, someone who can provide legal advice to you.

In this case, time is not important, if by "time" we mean rushing to complete a transaction without proper marketplace protections. Please contact a local attorney or legal clinic with experience in real estate and sign nothing until you do.

Peter G. Miller is the author of The Common-Sense Mortgage and a veteran real estate columnist. Have a question? Please write to peter@ctwfeatures.com.

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