(678) 557-6971

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Signing the contract for your new home soon? Make sure you understand the terms and terminology used to ensure you are signing the correct agreement. Here are a few of the ones most commonly used:

PURCHASE AND SALE AGREEMENT: The document that creates a valid enforceable contract between a buyer and seller in Georgia is called a Purchase and Sale Agreement. This contract has been created and pre-approved by attorneys and the Georgia Association of Realtors (GAR) and includes but is not limited to terms related to the legal description of the property, purchase price, buyer’s intended loan terms, buyer’s earnest money, closing date and possession, inspection, and agency.

BINDING AGREEMENT: A binding contract is created when one party presents a signed written offer to purchase or sell property to a second party and that party accepts the same offer in writing and delivers written acceptance back to the offering party before the time limit in the offer expires. In the GAR (Georgia Association of Realtors) Purchase and Sale Agreement, the date the parties reach mutual agreement is referred to as the Acceptance Date and the date the written notice of acceptance is received by the offering party is referred to as the Binding Agreement Date. It is the responsibility of the party receiving the written notice of acceptance to notify the other party of the Binding Agreement Date. Once the Binding Agreement Date is established, all time restricted obligations begin the following day.

EARNEST MONEY DEPOSIT: The earnest money or “good faith” money that accompanies the contract or offer is typically 1% to 3% of the sales price (this amount may be negotiated). A personal check is usually made payable to the selling broker and deposited into the selling broker’s escrow account within five business days of reaching the Binding Agreement Date. The contract does state that if the buyer breaches any of the buyer’s obligations or warranties under the contract, the Holder or seller may have the right to retain earnest money as liquidated damages.

APPRAISALS: The Purchase and Sale Agreement does not contain a preprinted appraisal contingency. However, there are some lenders who will decline to offer the buyer a loan if the property does not appraise for the contract price. The buyer and seller may choose to renegotiate to the lesser appraised value. Where a buyer has added an appraisal contingency to the special stipulations, the disposition of the contract will follow the terms of contingency.

CLOSING DATE AND POSSESSION: The Purchase and Sale Agreement provides that the closing shall be on a specific date or such earlier date as agreed to in writing by both parties. It also states that both parties agree that should the loan be unable to be closed on the proposed date or that the seller fails to satisfy title either party, upon written notice provided before the agreed upon closing date, can extend the contract closing date up to 7 days. The parties agree that the buyer will allow the seller to retain possession through closing, through X number of hours after closing, or within X number of days after closing.

DUE DILIGENCE PERIOD: In the current Purchase and Sale agreement, the inspection takes place during the Due Diligence period. The Buyer has an agreed upon amount of time from the Binding Agreement Date to conduct any evaluations, inspections, appraisals, examinations, surveys or testing at the Buyer’s sole expense during this period. The Buyer may terminate the agreement during this time for any reason whatsoever and receive a refund of his earnest money. In order to terminate the agreement the Buyer must give written notice to the Seller prior to the end of the Due Diligence Period. However, the Buyer may want to proceed after the inspection. If so, the Buyer may give the Seller an amendment to address concerns (i.e., repairs) with the property which can then be negotiated between the Buyer and Seller. Once that is done and the due Diligence Period has expired, the Buyer must proceed with the sale.

For more information:
Jay Bailey – Atlanta Fine Homes Sotheby’s International Realty
3290 Northside Pkwy #200 Atlanta, GA 30327
(678) 557-6971