The Texas Real Estate Commission generates form documents used in the purchase and sale of property in Texas, to be used by the individuals and entities buying and selling property. The forms are standard with areas that can be customized by checking boxes or adding addendums to the Contract, depending on the type of sale. While these forms are widely used, are they right for your transaction?
Most likely, the answer is yes—The standard form contracts are the standard for a reason. Every transaction using a real estate agent or broker is likely using these forms and the forms are used hundreds, if not thousands of times per day. The contract states very plainly what is happening with the property and the sale, and is for all intents and purposes, legally binding and effective. For 95% of transactions involving purchase, sale, or transfer of real estate in Texas, you would be hard pressed to find a reason to have an attorney draft an entirely new contract other than the standard TREC forms available.
However, there are certain cautions regarding the contract that you should be aware of prior to signing. Firstly, only an attorney can make changes to the contract. Brokers, real estate agents, and other real estate professionals are taught at great length when receiving their certifications that altering the standard forms in any way other than to fill in the provided areas with the relevant information, is the unauthorized practice of law. Every real estate agent or broker that I have dealt with has always been very good about this line, but there are always stories we hear about agents attempting to draft their own contract clauses with sometimes disastrous consequences.
Secondly, while the contract is standard, there are several options in the contract that you must decide on before signing or you may not be getting what you bargained for. The chief advice your attorney will always give you regarding any kind of contract is to read and understand the contract before you sign it. Do you know if you want to have an Option Period and what kind of things you might be doing during that time? Are you acknowledging receipt of some Notice required under the contract that you have not received yet? Are you obligating yourself to pay for a survey when you don’t mean to? It may be helpful to have an attorney go through your real estate contract with you prior to signing.
If you are thinking of selling or purchasing a new ranch, apartment building, or family homestead, consider consulting with an attorney to see how they can help in the transaction. San Antonio Real Estate Attorney Nathaniel Gilbert represents buyers and sellers in property sale transactions, and provides free consultations on real estate questions. Get in touch with Nate now, or Click Here to learn more about real estate law in Texas.