Looking for Free Real Estate Contracts?
If you are selling For Sale by Owner, chances are you have probably looked for free real estate contracts at some point. Avoiding Realtor commissions and searching for free real estate documents tend to go hand in hand. In this article, I will show you how to access free real estate contracts and help you understand them better. Please note that this article does not contain legal advice and we always recommend consulting with an attorney or licensed professional before engaging in any legally binding contract.
Real estate contracts are only one small part of the overall process. At BlueMatch, there are about a dozen forms our clients fill out and sign before ever getting their home sold. If you think that the only thing you will need is a real estate contract, you may want to think again.
Below is a list of some of our most common documents used in a transaction:
- Exclusive Right to Sell
- Contract to buy and sell real estate
- Square footage disclosure
- Lead paint disclosure
- Amend to extend
- Notice to terminate
- Counter proposal
- Sellers property disclosure
- Closing instructions
- Inspection objection
- Inspection resolution
- Earnest money promissory note
- Earnest money receipt
This is about a third of the documents that exist in a real estate transaction. Getting these documents is one thing. Knowing when and how to use them is another. In Colorado, there is a state-provided contract that almost every agent uses. About 90% of this contract will remain the same (by law) and the rest will be filled in by an attorney or real estate agent. This 10% however can make a huge difference in how your deal pans out.
What to Look for in a Real Estate Contract
Outside of standard things like price, earnest money arrangements, financing, etc, the biggest thing people often overlook is the dates and deadline schedule.
The above example is the dates and deadlines schedule for the standard contract in Colorado. The dates and deadline schedule are very important and missing critical deadlines could cost you your home sale. If your buying a home, missing deadlines could cost you your earnest money. This could be thousands and in some cases, tens of thousands.
This schedule can be unforgiving so you should spend some time reviewing it. Once you go under contract, create alerts so that you do not miss any of these items. And don’t worry, if you need to move any of these dates, you can usually “amend to extend” as long as everyone in the transaction agrees.
Amending Your Real Estate Contract
Amending your real estate contract is fairly easy. The most common amendment we see at BlueMatch is the amendment to extend. Amending to extend is just that. You are amending the contract to extend a date or deadline that you may not hit. Since all parties are trying to get too close, there are usually no issues with extending. In rare instances, one party may be upset or trying to find a way out of the deal. In this case, they may not agree to an extension if it is not in their favor.
If one party does not agree to extend, you are now stuck with the deadlines in place. This is where having a good plan can prevent you from having a poor outcome. Before accepting an offer, here are a few things you should check for in the dates and deadlines section:
- No conflicting dates that may interfere with your personal schedule
- Make sure all dates and deadlines fall within reasonable timeframes
- Make sure dates don’t fall on holidays
Once you have made the determination that the dates work, create alerts on your calendar. I would recommend setting these alerts at least 24-48 hours prior to their due date.
Should You Use Free Real Estate Contracts?
Using free real estate contracts and attempting to sell your home on your own may work just fine. But what happens when things don’t go as planned?
About a year ago, a client of ours was sued by a home buyer because she claimed there were mice in the home and it was not disclosed. Because our client was listed by BlueMatch and because the transaction was done in a way that was 100% compliant, our E&O insurance covered all of the legal expenses. This buyer attempted to sure our client for over $30,000 dollars and as you can imagine, our client was both upset and scared.
The final outcome was in our favor and it was deemed that the lawsuit was frivolous. However, if our client had decided to sell on his own, the outcome could have been much different. Not only could this client have ended up racking up a large legal bill, but the outcome could have (and very well may have) ended in the buyer’s favor.
Other Hidden Costs of Using Contracts on Your Own
In most states that BlueMatch operates in, only a licensed agent or an attorney may execute a real estate transaction. This does not mean they manage the process. This simply means they execute the deal. Most FSBO’s will pay a title company (additional fees) or pay an attorney. These fees can be in excess of two to three thousand dollars. We have hundreds of people reach out to us that plan on listing for sale by the owner.
Most inform us that they plan on using a title company to close the deal. Almost all of them are unaware that most title companies bake in additional fees that can amount to hundreds or thousands of dollars. Those planning on using an attorney are usually prepared to pay upwards of $800 to $1,500.
When you factor in the additional cost, work, and liability, BlueMatch becomes a no-brainer.
Accessing Your Free Real Estate Contracts
If you would like to access a free pdf version of a real estate contract, you can reach out to us anytime. Please note that we do not recommend engaging in any real estate transaction without first consulting with a licensed agent or attorney. Free real estate contracts provided by BlueMatch are for the use of examination only. They should not be used without professional guidance or supervision.