Understanding Real Estate Contracts: Key Terms, Types, and Pitfalls to Avoid

Don't let real estate contracts overwhelm you. Get a clear overview, and contact TDJ Law for a real estate lawyer in Ottawa.

Written By

Todd Ji, real estate lawyer

Todd Ji

Published On

May 7, 2023


Real estate contracts are legal agreements between parties that outline the terms and conditions for buying, selling, or renting a property. These contracts are the backbone of any real estate transaction and must be understood by both parties before signing. Failure to understand a real estate contract can lead to legal disputes, financial loss, and other problems. Let’s review the types of real estate contracts, key terms and clauses to look for, and why you need a real estate lawyer in Ottawa by your side to protect you through all of your real estate transactions.

Types of Real Estate Contracts

Real estate contracts come in various types, and each type serves a specific purpose. The following are the most common types of real estate contracts:

Purchase Agreement: This is the most common type of real estate contract. It outlines the terms and conditions of buying a property, including the purchase price, closing date, and contingencies.

Listing Agreement: This is a contract between a real estate agent and a property owner that authorizes the agent to sell the property. It outlines the agent's commission, the listing price, and the marketing plan.

Lease Agreement: This is a contract between a landlord and a tenant that outlines the terms and conditions of renting a property, including the rent amount, security deposit, and lease term.

Option Agreement: This is a contract that gives a potential buyer the option to buy a property at a specified price within a particular period.

Key Terms and Clauses to Look For

When reviewing a real estate contract, there are specific key terms and clauses that you should pay attention to. These include:

Purchase Price and Payment Terms: The purchase price should be clearly stated in the contract, along with the payment terms. This includes the down payment amount, financing terms, and closing costs.

Property Description and Condition: The contract should provide a detailed description of the property, including its location, size, and condition. Any defects or repairs needed should also be clearly stated.

Contingencies and Conditions: These are conditions that must be met before the sale can be completed, such as a satisfactory inspection or the buyer's ability to secure financing.

Disclosures and Warranties: The seller must disclose any known defects or issues with the property. Warranties may also be included, such as a home warranty or builder's warranty.

Closing Date and Location: The closing date and location should be clearly stated in the contract.

Common Pitfalls to Avoid

When signing a real estate contract, it's essential to avoid common pitfalls:

Failing to read the contract thoroughly

It's crucial to read the contract thoroughly and ensure that you understand all the terms and conditions.

Not negotiating terms and conditions

You should negotiate the terms and conditions that are favourable to you before signing the contract.

Relying solely on verbal promises

Verbal promises are not legally binding. Ensure that all agreements are in writing and included in the contract.

Get a Quote From TDJ Law, Trusted Real Estate Lawyer in Ottawa and Toronto

Looking to buy or sell a property in Ottawa or Toronto? Make sure you have a trusted real estate lawyer by your side to guide you through the process. TDJ Law is a reputable law firm with experienced real estate lawyers who can help you with any legal matters related to real estate transactions. Get in touch with TDJ Law today to get a quote and schedule a consultation with a real estate lawyer in Ottawa or Toronto. Protect your interests and ensure a successful real estate transaction with the help of TDJ Law!