The Deal Is In The Details
No two real estate agreements are the same, the result of the infinite amount of twists and turns any purchase agreement can take. The intricacies of your own property will be unique to you but there are some common themes that can be applied to a purchase agreement to ensure that both buyer and seller are protected.
For home buyers, there are a slew of clauses that can be included in any contract to provide some extra aspects of the contract that could very well come in handy down the road. They could be clauses to save you money or clauses to allow you to get out of the contract without penalty and your realtor will offer up these clauses as applicable in your case if they indeed are.
It is entirely acceptable to make your offer contingent on some other action. In many cases, financial contingencies dictate that a real estate transaction is agreed to only if the buyer can secure financing for the deal. In some cases, this can turn a seller off if another offer is on the table that has no financial contingencies. If you are at all worried about either getting financed for enough money or about a home being offered on before you can push financing approval through, a financial contingency clause is one option for you.
Inspection contingencies can be common in some areas of the country and dictate that the buyer gets a chance to bring in an inspection professional or other consultation to tour the home and point out any weaknesses or issues that may need to be addressed. If issues are found, those can then become part of the negotiation of price or other terms of the contract.
Earnest money clauses can offer to a seller a bump up in earnest money if and when an offer is accepted. To communicate that interest in a real estate property is sincere, a buyer will often put down money in escrow as a good faith effort. By including a clause in the contract for earnest money to go up upon acceptance, that gives the seller a way to make a good faith effort in accepting the offer while still seeing a benefit in added earnest money, communicating an even more serious desire to buy the property.
Of course, the seller has every right to dispute anything in the contract, but that is all part of the negotiation of a deal. It is entirely possible that a particular part of the contract could become a sticking point and discussions will have to be made at that time, but that is what your realtor is for and there is usually some value in including clauses you deem important, even if they could be disputed later.
The best advice is to sit down with your realtor and make clear the clauses or conditions that are important to you. As with all twists and turns in a real estate deal, it is important that as a buyer you feel comfortable with all aspects of the purchase. The contract is perhaps the most important step, so be sure to investigate all of your options with your realtor.