PURCHASING OR SELLING A HOUSE IN CT – Part 1: Overview of Offer
Buying or selling a home is usually the single largest transaction a person will make, and a consumer should be informed and educated about the process. There are many professionals involved in each real estate closing, including the real estate agent, the loan officer or mortgage broker, the inspector and the closing attorney, among others. Each person has their own role and responsibilities. This series of blog posts will provide a summary of the process from a real estate attorney’s perspective.
The potential buyer of a piece of residential real estate in Connecticut will start the purchasing process with a written offer. This offer will contain the relevant terms, such as property address, purchase price, closing date, mortgage amount, date by which to obtain mortgage, inspection terms, the date by which to accept, and all other terms and conditions. These provisions will be the topic of future blog posts. If the real estate is located in New Haven County, Hartford County, or most of the state except Fairfield County (which will be discussed in a future post), the offer will be made by the buyer on a contract form. This means that the buyer's offer contains all the applicable contract terms and conditions, and if the offer is accepted, the parties have a fully binding contract. So it is especially important that before the buyer submits their offer, and before it is accepted by the seller, that each party has a thorough understanding of the proposed agreement. Most localities have an 'official' contract approved by the local Board of Realtors and the local Bar Association, although each real estate agency may have their own version. The contract form contains all the 'boilerplate' provisions. The terms specific to the transaction must be added to the form and the entire form with all terms and conditions agreed to by both buyer and seller will comprise the final agreement. The property condition disclosure report and any other disclosures are also included at this time. Since the contract forms used in different areas and even by different brokers have differing provisions, you should always have an attorney review the terms and provisions before you sign it.
What are the important terms to include in the agreement? That will be the topic of the next blog post in this series.