THE CONTRACT: The real estate sales transaction begins with the
offer. The offer is generally made in the form of a real estate
purchase and sale contract signed by the party presenting
it for the other's consideration.A real
estate purchase and sales transaction must be in writing to
be enforceable. Any document that names the parties to the
transaction, identifies the property, and states the price
will suffice as a real estate purchase and sales contract.
There are, however, two contracts that are widely used. The
first is the FAR/BAR contract which is created jointly by
the Florida Bar and the Florida Association of Realtors.The
FAR/BAR contact should bear a blue imprint of the state of
Florida. The second contract, more widely used in Broward
County, Florida is created by the Realtors Association of
Greater Fort Lauderdale and the Broward County Bar Association.
This contract should bear the names of the aforesaid associations
in red ink diagonally across the front. Review the legends
for authenticity before assuming that the contract you are
signing is a "standard" contract. There has been
at least one instance in the author's experience of persons
attempting to use contracts "forged" to look like
these contracts, but with very different terms. The best practice
is to review any contract word for word. If you do not care
to do this, you may assign the task to your real estate attorney.
Two important points to be aware of at this stage are first
that every term of the contract is negotiable and second that
once the contract is signed by both parties its terms generally
will be enforced no matter how unfair. So have your attorney
review the terms before the contact is fully executed. One
way to allow for this is to add to a contract "subject
to attorney review."
Note that if the other party makes a change
to the "contract," signs it and returns it to you,
it is still an "offer " and not a contract. You
may accept the offer by signing it without alteration, or
make additional changes and return your "counter-offer"
back to the other party. It only becomes a contract when the
party receiving the offer signs without making any changes.
Be sure to date and initial all changes, and if the "contract"
becomes confusing because of numerous changes, start over
with a fresh one.
The contract controls how the transaction occurs so it is
very important that there is no confusion as to what the parties
agreed to [..cont..]
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