In Florida it is often customary for a Realtor to make an offer without having a lawyer review the contract. I urge buyers and sellers to write “subject to my attorney’s review within 3 business days” into such a contract, and then get it to a lawyer pronto. Too often, clients come to me with a contract that can’t be renegotiated, yet it contains provisions they don’t like or understand. Many attorneys, myself included, will waive their fee for reviewing a contract when they are hired as the closing agent on the deal.
Here’s what I look for when reviewing this important agreement:
- Does it become a cash deal if the buyer can’t get financing? In many deals, buyers have a limited window to get out of a deal. If their financing falls through after that timetable, they are obligated to buy the property for cash (or lose their deposit). If a buyer can’t get the seller to agree to a more generous financing contingency, he should at least try to extend the time period for when he can walk.
- What happens if a special assessment is issued before the closing? Who pays it—the buyer, the seller or some sort of split? Contracts differ on this point and can be negotiated in your favor. Paying attention to this clause can minimize the prospect for a fight should the association slap on a special assessment, which can delay the closing and, in some cases, scuttle the deal and lead to lawsuits.
- How long is the inspection period? This is the time buyers have to get the home inspected and to void the deal if they are unhappy with the results. I have seen these range in contracts from 5 business days to 15 days or more. Since it can be tough to get a certified inspector to a property on short notice, buyers should not agree to timetables that are too tight.
For a free consultation on how the Law Offices of Gary Landau can assist you with your real estate transaction, contact us by email or call 954-979-6566. Attorney Gary Landau personally returns all calls to him.