Purchase contracts: the lingo

Your purchase contract is just the first step in the process of selling your home to a buyer. Here is a quick list of a few items to look out for.

The closing date:
See if the date the buyer wants to take title is reasonable for you.

Date of possession:
See if the date the buyer wants to move in is reasonable for you.

The earnest money: Look for the largest earnest money deposit possible; since it is forfeited if the buyer backs out, a large deposit is usually a good indication of a sincere buyer.

Fixtures and personal property: Check the list of items that the buyer expects to remain with the property and be sure it’s acceptable.

Repairs: Determine what the requested repairs will cost and whether you’re willing to do the work or would rather lower the price by that amount.

Contingencies: See what other factors the buyer wants met before the contract is final—inspections, selling a home, obtaining a mortgage, review of the contract by an attorney. Set time limits on contingencies so that they won’t drag on and keep your sale
from becoming final.

Contract expiration date: See how long you have to make a decision on the offer.