Here’s what sellers can expect from the residential sales contract.

Looking to buy a home? Click here to search for homes.

Looking to sell a home? Click here for a home evaluation.

When you get an offer on your home, what’s included in the residential sales contract? Here’s a page-by-page guide to help you prepare:

Page 1: The buyer’s name, address, offer price, and how they intend on paying (i.e., cash or financing).

Page 2: Verbiage on different loan types.

Page 3: Who’s representing the buyer.

Page 4: Whether or not the buyer is asking for closing cost assistance. Anywhere from eight to 12 months ago, it was typical for sellers to pay buyers’ closing costs about 75% of the time. Ever since the pandemic hit and inventory shrunk, though, it’s common for buyers in multiple-offer situations to waive their closing costs completely. In transactions that aren’t multiple-offer situations, sellers usually pay about half of buyers’ closing costs.

Whenever we represent a seller, we want as few contingencies as possible in a buyer’s offer.

Page 5: Who will pay for the title work. Usually the seller pays for most of this, but you can get a combo policy that allows you to split it with the buyer. Part of the reason they split this policy is that they’ll get one policy between the buyer and sellers (if they’re using the same title company) and it’s cheaper to get one title. This page also indicates whether they want a survey done and who will finance that. The bottom of the page includes a section about fixtures. Any built-in fixtures like the stove or dishwasher will come with the house, but the buyer may ask for fixtures that aren’t built in, such as the washer and dryer.

Page 6: Contingencies. Does the buyer have a home they need to sell first before buying yours? Whenever we represent a seller, we want as few contingencies as possible in a buyer’s offer. If there’s a contingency in their offer, there’s a greater chance something can go wrong with the transaction on the way to closing. If you have no other options besides an offer that’s contingent on another home sale, at least make sure your buyer has an offer, has gone through the appraisal and inspection phases, and is now just waiting on a closing date.

Page 7: Inspections. The buyer can either buy your home as is or order an inspection and request any repairs outlined in that inspection report. A purchase involving an inspection is far more common than an as-is purchase. Most people want to look inside a house before buying it.

Page 8: The buyer’s request of the seller’s property disclosure. You’ll have to fill out this form by disclosing everything you know about the house.

Page 9: The termite addendum.

Page 10: The buyer’s preferred closing date and when they want to take possession of the home. The most common course of action is possession upon closing. It’s the easiest option with the fewest liabilities. If there’s an early or delayed occupancy, it means the person living in the house doesn’t own it, which is always an issue if something goes wrong. On the day of closing, it’s always a good idea to have your belongings packed and ready to go so you can move onto your new home right after the contract is signed.

Page 11: Any other request the buyer wants to include in the contract.

Page 12: The signatures required to make things official. Congrats on getting your home sold!

As always, if you have questions about this or any real estate topic, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. We’d love to help you.