5 Things to Check Before Signing a House Contract

May 17, 2022
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Are you in the market for a new house? Make sure you know all the things to check before signing a house contract! 

There are many vital details to look for, and you must take the time to evaluate them all. After all, buying your dream house can be scary and exhausting. It is best to make sure all the things are clearly stated before making such a big decision. 

If you, too, want a clear checklist of all the things to check before signing a house contract, don’t worry. Read on for some handy advice on what to look for when buying a home.

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What is a contract for sale, and who prepares it?

If you wonder, “What should I know before signing a contract?” then the answer is the contract itself. You should be aware of all the terms and clauses written in your house contract. This is a crucial step in things to check before signing a house contract.

The contract for sale is a formal agreement between the buyer and seller that sets out the terms and conditions of the sale. It is prepared by the real estate agent or solicitor representing the party selling the house.

What is included in a contract of sale?

Things to check before signing a house contract

Checking your entire contract of sales should be the topmost priority while thinking of things to check before signing a house contract. 

  • The property’s location.
  • The vendor’s and purchaser’s names. This should also mention each party’s address.
  • The property settlement date and any conditions that may apply. Finance or other extra inspections may be required. Both parties will need to number and initial each condition.
  • The purchase price.
  • Whether the property is available as “vacant possession” or “subject to a lease.”
  • The amount of the deposit and the deadline.
  • Any other property is sold as part of the transaction.
  • The ‘chattels list‘ has a list of including and excluding items. For example, fixtures and fittings, carpets, curtains, etc are included.

The contractual documents real estate may additionally include:

  • Statement of buyer’s cooling-off rights 
  • Copy of the property’s title as recorded in your state or territory’s Land Titles Office (or equivalent body) 
  • Zoning certificate issued by the local council 
  • Pest inspection report of the building
  • A diagram of the drainage system
  • Copies of documentation describing the property’s other registered interests

What to look for in section 32?

A Section 32 Vendors Statement is a document provided by the seller of a property in Victoria, Australia. It contains important information about the property, including details of any encumbrances or title defects. Therefore, this becomes one of the important things to check before signing a house contract.

As a buyer, you should always ask for a copy of the latest Section 32 statement from the seller before signing. This will ensure that the home you’re purchasing meets your requirements and that you won’t be blindsided by any issues with the land on which your property is built.

It’s beneficial to inspect the property you’re buying before Section 32 while considering the things to check before signing a house contract. If you don’t like the property, you’re free to withdraw the offer after building inspection.

What are the 7 elements of a contract?

Things to check before signing a house contract

The contract of sales included the listing of all the things to check before signing a house contract. However, these are the elements that form the basis of any contract and are thus essential to keep in consideration.

1. Offer and Acceptance: 

There must be a clear offer made by one party and an acceptance by the other party.

2. Consideration: 

Each party must receive something of value in exchange for their promise under the contract.

3. Intention to Create Legal Relations: 

The parties must intend for the contract to be legally binding.

4. Capacity: 

The parties must be of legal age and mental capacity to understand the contract.

5. Legality: 

The contract must not involve illegal activity and must comply with all applicable laws.

6. Formalities: 

The contract must be in writing and signed by both parties to be valid.

7. Certainty: 

The contract must be clear and contain all essential terms in order to be enforceable.

Things to check before signing a house contract

What is the order of the closing process?

This is the final process before you get your dream house. This is why it is one of the most essential things to check before signing a house contract. 

1. Review the loan estimate and compare it to the good faith estimate received earlier to ensure there aren’t any surprises. 

2. Get homeowner’s insurance and provide proof of coverage to the lender. 

3. The buyer and seller sign the contract of sale. Sign the loan documents, including the promissory note, mortgage/deed of trust, and any other disclosures required by the lender. 

4. The cooling-off period expires (if applicable). – The cooling-off period is a mandatory waiting period that gives you time to cancel the contract for any reason without paying the penalty. 

It is an integral part of the things to check before signing a house contract as the last out before you make things official. This period starts from the moment you sign the contract and ends at 5:00 pm on the fifth business day after receiving all required documents from the seller (or their agent). 

5. The buyer arranges finance (if applicable). 

6. Pay any remaining closing costs not covered by the seller or lender. 

7. Move into your new home!

Things to check before signing a house contract

FAQs

Can I reject an offer after signing it?

This is a popular question that arises while considering the things to check before signing a house contract. If the offer does not have a cooling-off clause or if the cooling-off period has expired, you will be bound by the terms of the agreement.

However, if there was a void in the contract from the start, this void can be used to terminate or negotiate the contract.

Does it matter who signs a contract first?

If we talk about gaining leverage, it is recommended for the buyer to sign after the seller. However, a contract must be made such that it equally benefits both parties. Thus, eliminating the fear of fraud.

How contracts are usually signed?

All the negotiations should be done beforehand. It is recommended to sign in front of your legal representative. However, only the buyer and the seller are enough to finalise the contract.

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