Appendix A

Sample Real Estate Purchase Contract

Because a real estate purchase contract is a legal document, your real estate agent or lawyer should provide you the appropriate contract form for your area and help you fill it out. As a rule, these contracts range from somewhat complex to quite complex and sometimes convoluted. Most purchase contracts include a warning that says something like this:

“This is more than a receipt for money. It is intended to be a legally binding contract. Read it carefully.”

Heed the warning!

Purchase contracts vary in length, complexity, and terms from state to state and, within a state, from one locality to another. This appendix includes a sample of the California Association of Realtors’ real estate purchase contract. We chose California’s contract because it’s one of the most comprehensive residential real estate contracts around.

Warning Blank spaces are open invitations to confusion (at best) and deception (at worst)! Giving someone a contract with blank spaces above your signature is like giving someone a signed blank check. He can fill in whatever he wants over your signature, and you may have to pay. Do not leave any spaces blank on your contract.

Another important thing to check is the contract’s revision date — usually located in the lower-left or -right corner of the page. Be sure you’re working on the most recent version of the purchase contract. ...

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