After working hard to find your property and making careful evaluations on how much it will cost and how long it will take for repairs, it’s time to list the property. And even though various regions throughout the country use a basic sales contractreal estate contract language template approved by the state and real estate organizations, it’s the contract that dictates the sale. Avoid the “template” model and make sure three things are reviewed when accepting a contract to buy your real estate.

The very first consideration is how the buyer will finance the property. Cash buyer? That’s all the better and you can close sooner and practically guarantee the deal will close on time. With a cash offer however, be prepared for a lower offer than you might expect. It’s not a bad tradeoff; cash in real estate is indeed king. But if the buyer is obtaining financing, verify they have already applied for and received a preapproval from a lender evidenced by a preapproval letter on the mortgage company’s letterhead.

Your sales contract should also contain a Financing Addendum which is a “drop dead” date when the buyer must have received final approval from the lender. The financing date should be anywhere from five to ten days before the scheduled closing, giving all parties plenty of time to review the closing papers prior to the close.

The contract should also indicate who will be paying certain closing costs. If you have agreed to pay for some of the buyer’s closing costs, use a specific amount instead of a percentage. Your language should read, “Seller agrees to pay buyer’s closing costs not to exceed $3,000” or however your agreement reads. Using a general number can mean you’ll be unnecessarily paying for discount points to lower a buyer’s long term interest rate instead of helping the buyer conserve cash.

Sales contracts are enforceable documents and both parties have specific performance duties. You want to craft a sales contract that is fair and enforceable but you also want it to lean in your favor whenever possible.