Updated November 2, 2020:

There are several types of real estate contracts, and it is important to know that contracts are necessary for real estate deals. A contract is a legally enforceable document between two or more people. The contract consists of an offer, acceptance, consideration, legal capacity, and legality of purpose.

Take an example of John selling his property to Mary. Mary makes an offer to John, thereby meeting the first requirement of an offer. John then accepts the offer and therefore, we now have a formal acceptance in place. However, the contract is not yet enforceable.

We will now need consideration, also referred to some sort of value being exchanged between John and Mary. In this case, John is receiving a promise from Mary that she will purchase the property at the purchase price she offered, and John is making a promise to sell the property and transfer the deed over to Mary.

After consideration has taken place, the parties will need to be deemed legally capable in order to enter into the contract. So long as both John and Mary are at least 18 years of age and have the mental ability to enter into a contract, then this requirement is met.

Finally, the contract must have a legal purpose. In this case, John wants to sell his home to Mary, and therefore, it has a legal purpose.

Purchase Agreement

A purchase agreement is the most common type of real estate agreement. This contract specifies the details regarding the sale of property. It will include the address of the property, the price, names of both parties, signatures of both parties, and the closing date.

There are several kinds of purchase agreements as follows:

  • State/Association Purchase Agreement, which is the standard agreement between a purchaser and seller when a real estate agent is involved
  • General Purchase Agreement, which is a simply a shortened version of the above-mentioned contract, and is used usually when no real estate agent is involved in the transaction
  • Property-Specific Purchase Agreement, which could be used for vacant land or a mobile home

Real Estate Assignment Contract

A Real Estate Assignment Contract is used in a wholesale investment purchase. This could include distressed properties that are secured and then assigned to another buyer. There are certain terms added to this type of contract, as the term “assigns” is the common word used to differentiate it as an assignment contract.

Lease Agreement

This is a contract that binds an owner and a renter to the property. Therefore, the proper owner (referred to as a landlord) enters into an agreement with a tenant (the lessee) to reside in the home at a specified monthly rate. Additional items to be included in this agreement include payment of utilities and the security deposit. It’s important to ensure important items are mentioned in the lease agreement to prevent future legal disputes.

Power of Attorney

While a Power of Attorney is generally not used in a real estate contract, such documents could be used in situations if a party is unable to sign the contract, i.e. party is not physically in the country to sign, or has a mental disability. In this case, the party can hire another party to act as the power of attorney to sign on his or her behalf.

This type of contract can also be beneficial if you are the property owner of several investment (rental) properties or if you are carrying for an older parent or family member who might not have the ability to sign the contract.

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