How to Write when For Sale by Owner
real estate clauses that you will require in a for sale by owner
transaction, will be included in the forms that you obtain from one of
the sources that I suggested on The Main Contracts and Clauses Page.
Before proceeding to read the following information concerning clauses, please carefully read the Disclaimer Here
There are times when you need to write some of your own for sale by owner contract clauses to complete the contract. Here are a couple ways to accomplish that task.
By the way, if you need blank real estate contracts, (you should always have some on hand, or know where to obtain them quickly), you can find the best of the best at: Where to Obtain FSBO Contract Forms.
Pros and Cons - Real Estate Lawyer
Pro: The real estate clauses should be written correctly giving you peace of mind.
Con: Time. If you have a hot buyer sitting at your kitchen table, having to wait until the next day or until the long week-end is over, can be a real deal killer.
Pros and Cons - A Real Estate Agent
Pro: The real estate clauses, should be written correctly.
Pro: A real estate agent should be much more accessible in the evening or week-end than a lawyer.
Con: A real estate agent may be reluctant to help you as a for sale by owner to write contract clauses, especially if they are busy.
Pros and Cons - Write the Clauses Yourself
Pro: You can write the real estate clauses right there and then, while the buyer(s) are in front of you. The contract can then be signed. BIG PLUS!.
Con: Making a mistake which could nullify the contract because it was written incorrectly.
Note: If a buyer does the big escape because of a incorrectly written contract clause, the deal probably would have went sour anyway.
How to Overcome the Poorly Written Clause
Let's set the scene.
It's 7:00 pm on Friday night and you and those hot buyers John and Mary, have come to an agreement in principal to purchase your house.
You have agreed on the price, closing date, the deposit and what was to be included in the purchase price.
The blanks in the contract have been filled out and you are down to the final page awaiting signatures to be applied.
The buyer then brings up the fact that they would like to have a property inspection performed on the property as part of the purchase agreement.
Unfortunately, you as the seller, do not have a form for this. Oh! oh! What do you do now?
Do you wait until Monday to contact your lawyer?
Do you call a real estate agent you met at an open house last week?
Do you write the real estate clause yourself?
Play it Safe and Save the Deal!
The first thing you MUST do. Hey, I'm not even going to make this a suggestion! Insert the 2 real estate clauses spelled out below on your Agreement of Purchase and Sale.
If there is not enough room, use an Addendum Form or failing that, you can write or print it out on a separate piece of paper and make at the very minimum, one extra copy for the buyer.
You should really have probably 4 copies so as to have a copy for each lawyer.
You could call this form Addendum "A" or if you have an "A" call it Addendum "B"
First you add this information if not already present.
Forming part of the Agreement of Purchase and Sale for the property known as ________________________ and dated the ____ day of ________, 20_____. (or words to that affect.)
This Contract is subject to the approval as to form and content by the seller's lawyer upon acceptance of this contract by both the seller and the buyer. If said approval is not given by the seller's lawyer on or before the following condition date and time, the seller shall notify the buyer or the buyer's lawyer in writing and may declare this contract null and void and the buyer's deposit shall be returned in full, without interest or penalty. The condition date is the ____ day of the ____ month in the year of ________ at or before ________ a.m./p.m.
and now for the buyer
This Contract is subject to the approval as to form and content by the buyer's lawyer upon acceptance of this contract by both the seller and the buyer. If said approval is not given by the buyer's lawyer on or before the following condition date and time, the buyer shall notify the seller or the seller's lawyer in writing and may declare this contract null and void and the buyer's deposit shall be returned in full, without interest or penalty. The condition date is the ____ day of the ____ month in the year of ________ at or before ________ a.m./p.m.
After the contract clauses have been added and if this is say a piece of paper that you have done up yourself, or there is no signature spaces on the form you are using, just add at the bottom
Seller: __________________________ Witness:_____________________
Seller: __________________________ Witness: _____________________
Buyer: __________________________ Witness: _____________________
Buyer: __________________________ Witness: ______________________
Dated this _____ day of __________ 20__________.
What you have done by inserting those clauses, is protect you and the buyer in case you mess up. OK? My suggestion is you ALWAYS include those clauses regardless.
One more thing: On your main Agreement of Purchase Sale add somewhere the following if required:
See Addendum "A" attached to and forming part of this Agreement of Purchase and Sale. If there is say 3 Addendum you could just put Addendum "A", "B", and "C".
Instead of say "Addendum A" you might want to use "Schedule A"
Great. Here is how you do it. We will use the property inspection clause, but all clauses use the same basic format.
You ask the following questions:
Q. What is to be done?
A. A property inspection.
Q. Who is to do it?
A. A qualified building Inspector.
Q. Who is to pay for it?
A. The Buyer.
Q. In what time frame is it to be done?
A. On or before the ____ day of _____ month of 20____, at or before _____am/pm.
Q. What happens if the buyer is not satisfied with the property inspection?
A. Null and Void and Deposit returned to buyer.
Q. Can this clause be waived?
Q. What happens if time expires and there is no word from the buyer?
A. The clause (property inspection) is deemed to be satisfactory.
Now You Write the Real Estate Clauses
Each highlighted section below, answers one of the questions above.
This Offer is subject to the Buyer(s) having a full property inspection by a "qualified property inspector" of the buyer's choice and at the buyer's expense on or before the 21st day of September, 2011 by 3:00 pm. If the buyer is not satisfied with said inspection, the buyer shall notify the seller or the seller's solicitor, in writing, on or before the 21st day of September, 2011 by 3:00pm. Upon said written notification, this Contract shall be declared Null and Void and the buyer's deposit shall be returned in full without interest or penalty. This clause is for the sole benefit of the buyer(s) and can be waived. If no written notification is given to the seller or the seller's lawyer on or before the 21st day of September, 2011 by 3:00 pm, this clause shall be deemed satisfied.
I found a page on a real estate site that includes a bunch of real estate clauses, that you may want to use if needed. Please be advised that if you use any of these clauses, you do so totally at your own risk. The site itself comes from San Diego California, but I'm not sure about the clauses.
These clauses can be found at Library of Clauses
You Don't Have to be a Lawyer Or a Real Estate Agent
To Write Real Estate Clauses
When you write real estate clauses, they don't have to be in legal speak. The whole idea is to be very clear, so that all parties have no misunderstandings.
It's not so much what words are written, but that the clause spells out all the details.
Protection is Good
Hey have some fun. Practice writing real estate clauses by putting the questions to be answered then putting it into words.
Not every clause will have the waiver clause. Not every clause will have a cost attached.
The main thing to remember, is to use the "Subject to Lawyer Review Clause" somewhere in the Agreement of Purchase and Sale, and you should be just fine.
If you do write your own real estate clauses on the contract, I'd suggest you ask your lawyer to go over those clauses with you and let you know if they are satisfactory.
by Douglas F. Cameron