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A real estate purchase agreement is open for negotiation

If you have your eye on a piece of property or home, you may have many questions about the steps you must take to make the purchase. Purchasing a new home, especially one that may be valued in the millions, is not something you want to do hastily or without taking careful consideration before signing any documents.

Nevertheless, your real estate agent may unintentionally rush you when it comes to signing a purchase agreement. The purchase agreement is a contract that binds you to buying the property and the owner to selling it based on the terms in the document. What you may not know and your agent may not tell you is that some of the terms of your purchase agreement are negotiable.

Where is there room for compromise?

Purchase agreements can vary from state to state and even within the state. Florida law, for example, allows agents to choose from several forms when preparing a purchase contract. However, these forms do allow you to negotiate with the seller on certain points. Unless your agent alerts you to these points, you may miss your opportunity to get a better deal on the home you want. Some points of negotiation include:

  • Closing costs: Are you willing to offer the asking price in exchange for the seller paying your closing costs? Has the house been on the market long enough that the seller may be willing to cover your closing costs?
  • Fees: Can you get a better rate on your escrow fees, taxes or inspections? You may have to shop around for these bargains.
  • Deposit: Will the seller come down on the amount of earnest money he or she expects at the signing of the contract?
  • Time: Can you get more time to secure your mortgage, complete your inspections, get an appraisal and complete other tasks?
  • Contingencies: Are there certain factors that will permit you to walk away from the sale, such as a poor inspection report?
  • Items: Did you notice items in the home, such as appliances, furniture or fixtures that you would like to remain in the home?

As much as you may love the home you are considering, it is wise to take your time and carefully review the purchase agreement before signing. In fact, you have every right to reach out to an attorney with experience in Florida real estate law to get advice on the terms of the contract and ensure your rights are protected throughout the process of purchasing real estate.

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