from Local Attorney, Michael H. Wasserman

Monday, May 4, 2009

New Real Estate Contract to Debut Soon

Ready to make that real estate deal? Get it in writing. A written contract is essential to any purchase and sale transaction. But where are you getting that contract and who's form are you going to use?

Lets face it, the blank forms look like endless mad-libs that are already littered with unreadable prose, even before the "missing words" get added in. Which one are you going to use?

There are scores of contract forms available to get to the essence of a real estate deal (the buyer's promise to the seller to turn over a whole bunch of money if the seller forks over a deed and the keys.

By my last count, I have at least 20 of those forms in my collection of contracts accumulated over the last few years. I have worked with nine different pre-printed (form) real estate contracts over the last year alone.

That does not even include the various forms used by new home (and condo) builders or condo conversion developers, each of whom seems to use a different form from the others, each crafted by that given developer's attorney, and increasingly, each more obnoxious than the others.

And then figure in the various riders that relocation companies and foreclosure / REO Asset Managers insist on.

The premises are simple, but (as always) buyers and sellers are cautioned to understand that
there is no one "standard" real estate contract anymore, just as there are no standard / simple transactions anymore.

As an attorney representing buyers and sellers, its just as important these days to understand which form of contract is being used as it is to understand the "negotiated" terms of the deal.

Which begs the question: are there ever too many choices of contracts? The Illinois Real Estate Lawyers Association, several other local bar associations, and boards of Realtors think not. Get ready for Version 5.0 of the "Multi Board" Contract, which should debut later this year.

I've been studying a draft form for about a week now, and I am very pleased to see several significant improvements over the last version, already three years old. Among the several changes are significant revisions of the inspection, attorney approval and mortgage financing contingencies.

More details to follow.