A purchase agreement is a written contract between a buyer and a seller for the sale of real estate. Purchase agreements are appropriate for residential or commercial properties. Generally, in Minnesota, a contract for the sale of real estate must be in writing to be enforceable. For this reason, parties should stay away from verbal contracts dealing with real estate whenever possible.
When a realtor is involved in the sale of real estate, the realtor usually provides a purchase agreement to the parties when they have agreed on the terms of a sale. Usually, a purchase agreement is a standard “ fill in the blanks” form. There are several standard form addendums that can be added to the purchase agreement to cover special situations. It is best to use the standard purchase agreement form because it is generally recognized by parties who deal in real estate, and it includes provisions that must be included in purchase agreements by law. If a realtor is not involved in the transaction, then the purchase agreement form can be obtained from an attorney.
A purchase agreement should include all of the terms of the sale. If terms are changed or added, then the parties should sign a written amendment to the purchase agreement. The buyer will generally need to furnish a signed purchase agreement to the buyer’s mortgage company before the mortgage company will start processing a mortgage application. Terms that are included in the purchase agreement include purchase price, method of payment, closing date, disclosures as to the condition of the property, payment of taxes and special assessments, and issues pertaining to the marketability of title.
It is common to have an attorney assist with the preparation of the purchase agreement since it should include all of the terms of the sale, and sometimes additional terms need to be included in a purchase agreement to protect the interest of the buyer or seller.
Typically, after the parties sign a purchase agreement, the buyer’s mortgage company will process the mortgage application, and the mortgage company will hire a title insurance company to examine marketability of title. If the mortgage application is approved, and title is marketable, then the parties can expect to close the transaction within 30 to 45 days after signing the purchase agreement.