5 items to look for in a Delaware buy-sell agreement

The buy-sell agreement should be scrutinized and double-checked when people in Delaware are looking to purchase or sell a home.

A recent study from Zillow indicates that the best time of year to list a home is in mid-March to mid-April, when homes tend to sell about 15 percent faster. However, the truth is that people in Delaware looking to buy or sell a house have options year-round and can find a good deal at any time.

The key to making sure that deal is the best it can be is to take a close look at the buy-sell agreement. Both parties stand to gain - or lose - something when these documents are finalized. Here are five items that should be carefully reviewed:

1. The price

The bottom line for every real estate transaction to both the buyer and seller is the price tag. Of course, there are other factors that will play into the sale, but ultimately, people want - and need - to know the bottom line. Along with the price should be the following:

  • How much money the buyer will put down
  • How much money will be put forth in earnest money
  • A mortgage contingency clause, which releases the buyer if he or she cannot secure a loan at specific amounts

According to the National Association of Realtors, people who finance their homes tend to finance upward of 90 percent of the list price. The terms of the loan should be included in the agreement as part of the mortgage contingency, which can specify that the buyer must be able to secure financing at a specific interest rate.

2. Important dates

A buy-sell agreement should have a number of important dates, including the date the sale will close and the date that the buyer will be able to move in. It is also typical for these agreements to set deadlines for when each party can accept the terms and a date for when the buyer can do a walk-through inspection of the property.

3. Items included and excluded in sale

When it comes to residential real estate sales, there are often a number of additional items that could be included with the house, such as appliances and furniture. It is also key for the seller to list items that will not be included if it seems that it would be assumed that they would be. For example, light fixtures are usually included, but if the seller is particularly attached to one, it would be prudent to list in the agreement that the particular fixture will not be included with the home.

4. Home sale contingency clause

For the buyer's sake, it is typical to include a clause that requests that the offer for the purchase of the home is contingent on the person's ability to sell his or her existing home. This can protect a buyer from getting into a situation in which he or she will have to carry two mortgages at the same time.

5. Cancellation information

Lastly, there should be language in the agreement that outlines when a deal will be cancelled, such as one party not holding up his or her end of the terms. This should also specify in which situations the buyer's earnest money will be returned.

These agreements typically contain legalese and require professional help to navigate, especially when a conflict arises. Anyone who has questions about this issue should speak with a real estate attorney in Delaware.