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The basics of real estate contracts

Anytime you buy or sell a piece of property here in Illinois, one of the first steps will more than likely be to negotiate and execute a written agreement with the other party. Unless you participate in real estate transactions on a regular basis, you may not have a clear understanding of what these real estate contracts involve. Below is some basic information about what these contracts include, which should give you a starting point for understanding them.

Of course, most contracts include basic information such as the personal details of the parties involved, and real estate contracts are no exception. They also include specific information regarding the property that is to be transferred and the price to which the parties agree. The contract should also include the current condition of the property and identify what is included with the sale in addition to the land (such as the structures on it).

The agreement also needs to include each party's rights and responsibilities, along with any factors upon which the sale depends. For instance, the purchase could rely on the buyer's ability to receive financing and verification of the condition of the property. Most real estate contracts also include what happens should the buyer decide not to complete the transaction. For instance, does the seller get to keep any deposits the buyer made.

These are just some of the basic provisions of real estate contracts. Each transaction is unique, and your contract will more than likely include other terms. Whether you are the buyer or seller, you have rights, and ensuring their protection needs to remain a priority throughout the process. In order to know what terms would best support your position, it may be beneficial to have an Illinois attorney advise and guide you through the negotiation process. 

Source:, "The Real Estate Purchase Contract", Elizabeth Weintraub, Accessed on Dec. 24, 2017

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