Selling home: are online contracts OK to use?

brendainnjMarch 3, 2010

We are currently selling our home in PA, while we live about 90 miles away in NJ. We have a buyer for our house who has been pre-approved for the selling price of the house. Now we need to obtain a contract. My husband has been searching online for contracts to print & use--is this a safe way to go? Has anyone else done this? I know we could call a lawyer, but we're really trying to save money right now. We're selling the house "as is" which is about $20k under market value just to get rid of it & help pay for repairs to our current home as well as pay for kid's college bills. Because of the distance, most of our transactions will be through the mail, fax or email.

Thanks for any help or advice!

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Billl

Every state has a "standard" contract approved by your state bar and realtor association. If you can't find it online, you should head to the library.

However, while I understand your desire to save money, this is not the place to do it. You should have the contract tailored to your specific circumstances by an experienced professional. Laws vary by state, so you need someone with local knowledge.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2010 at 10:43AM
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brickeyee

"Every state has a "standard" contract approved by your state bar and realtor association. If you can't find it online, you should head to the library."

Not true at all.

In Virginia each local board of realtors has a 'standard contract' for use by its members, and copyrighted to limit its use by others.

The board of realtors is a private group you pay to join if you want to use the 'realtor' name.

There are a number of federal rules that must be followed (like the lead paint information) in addition to state/city/county/other laws and rules.

Try an attorney and explain what you want.
A 'standard' contract and a review of it after filling it out should not be very expensive.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2010 at 2:08PM
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susana_2006

I'd definitely have a real estate attorney do this. I've found that the state regulations regarding inspection and time limits and earnest money to be different.
To be safe, I'd use a professional on this.
Good luck
Susan

    Bookmark   March 3, 2010 at 6:24PM
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berniek

The seller normally does not write the offer contract, it's the buyer who presents the contract to the seller.
Let the buyer do what is their responsibility and you have an attorney review the contract for you.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2010 at 8:48PM
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mariend

I agree with berniek, it is the seller that does this and I asumer neithe of you have agents so that is why it is very important that the attorneys are involved. You will probably need an attorney from PA, specializing in RE.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2010 at 10:12PM
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linda117117

The seller normally does not write the offer contract, it's the buyer who presents the contract to the seller.

In some areas of NY the sellers atty writes the contract. The buyer or buyers agent writes an offer to purchase which is "not" a contract.

What is customary in your state? If attys are used, use one. There are just too many bases to cover. Will the buyers be using an atty? Are your buyers first time home buyers? Do either of you know the process? There are additional forms and disclosures which have to be filled out. Who will be doing a title search, who will order it? Each state does it a little different, if you're not familiar with how things are done, hire an atty to take it from here.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2010 at 10:32PM
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brendainnj

Thank you all for the many thoughtful responses. linda, we are somewhat familiar with the process, in that this is the 3rd house we've sold; however we've always had R.E. agents before. I do have a friend who is retired from RE who is offering some guidance so we're not completely blind. She basically said to check our original contract of the house against one that we use to make sure they are the same and gave me a number for a title search co to use. The title company then does a lot of the legal work involved. Also the buyers are actually friends of ours who are currently living in the house--long story but they needed a place to move to quickly with a newborn and our house was just sitting there empty. It was the right thing to do and it's been a win-win situation thus far, now that they've lived there they like the house & don't want to move again. So I'm not foreseeing any difficulties, but wanted to be sure. But I do understand that it's better to be "safe than sorry".

    Bookmark   March 3, 2010 at 11:32PM
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linda117117

brendainnj, I dont know what attys charge in PA but in this part of NY its between $750 and $850. It might be worth a phone call to see what the fees are in your area. That amount of money would be worth it to most to make sure nothing can come back to haunt you in the future. Good luck with the process!

    Bookmark   March 4, 2010 at 9:29AM
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