April 24, 2015 You can enter into a contract to buy or sell real estate by drafting the contract from scratch, or you can use a standardized form. Nearly every real estate agent in the country uses a standardized form. There’s a reason for that. They’re convenient. Agents need only fill in the blanks. Even if you’re the one just filling in the blanks, you could be buying yourself some very significant and expensive legal problems. Here are just a few problem areas. Lot size If you’re a buyer, you want to know within a reasonable degree of certainty what you’re buying. Approximate lot dimensions are ordinarily used on standard real estate contracts. Buyers then have a reasonably certain description of what they’re buying. Any other description of the dimensions of the property might commit a buyer to something significantly smaller than they contemplated. Parties Each and every individual or entity that has an interest in the subject real estate must sign the real estate contract. Quite simply, a seller that hasn’t signed off on the contract, can’t be required to sell. If a buyer’s spouse isn’t a party to a contract, there can be significant problems in obtaining a mortgage. In Washington, both spouse’s must hold title if the real estate interest is their community property. Time limitations It’s human nature for both parties to sometimes be in a hurry to close, but by setting overly ambitious and unrealistic time frames for performance, people schedule deals for failure. If buyers have been diligent but unable to perform within short and tightly specified time periods, they must seek to amend the contract to provide more time to perform their contractual obligations. Blanks Failure to fill in blanks can result in the burden and expense of litigation and the risk of adverse judicial interpretation. Even failure to check important boxes can work against buyers or sellers. Those boxes left unchecked aren’t part of the contract. Very material terms of what somebody thought was part of a contract can be rendered unenforceable for the want of a check mark. Take a look at a standardized real estate contract form. It’s replete with blanks, lines and boxes. It’s chocked full of hundreds of legal terms that the ordinary person can’t define. In any real estate transaction you need an experienced real estate attorney representing you from beginning to end. Call us at 425-427-8700, or fill out our online contact form.