Beginner's Guide To Real Estate Documents

Law Blog

There are few purchases as large and momentous as a home for most people. It's an exiting event, especially if this your first home, but the details can be overwhelming at times. There are many important contracts to sign and many of these are difficult to understand. There is a lot of money at stake with a home purchase, so you want to be very sure about the paperwork you are presented with in the home buying process. Having a real estate attorney to assist you through this process is vital. Your attorney's help with the following three important documents will help pave the way for a successful home-buying experience for first-time buyers.

Purchase Agreement

Your search has been successful and you have finally found your dream home. Your next step is to sign the purchase agreement, a document that indicates your willingness to purchase a specific property for a certain price, and importantly, the terms under which the sale will, or will not, go through.

These agreements are often pre-printed fill-in-the-blank forms, but they contain several opportunities for omissions that could turn out to be problematic such as:

  • Have there been any additions, and were they done lawfully (following building codes)?
  • What happens if an inspection finds termite damage?
  • What happens if an inspection finds structural issues, water drainage issues or other major repair issues?
  • Under what circumstances will the earnest money or down payment be refunded (for example, if the sellers decide not to go through with the sale)?
  • What provisions are set out for you to procure financing for the home?

An experienced real estate attorney is needed to review the purchase agreement carefully to ensure that you are fully protected from costly issues that may arise as a result of using boilerplate documents that may fail to address all the factors properly.


Obtaining financing for your home is a huge milestone and you will no doubt be heaving a sigh of relief once you get the approval from the mortgage company or bank. You will be faced with a stack of very important papers to sign, but before you put pen to paper, sit down with your attorney to ensure that you fully understand the financial commitment you are about to undergo.


Your home's closing is the final step in the process and can be nerve-racking. All of your preparations in your home search have led to this important meeting. You will be sitting down with several people and there will be many confusing documents passed across the table for you to sign. With you at this meeting will be:

  • The seller
  • The seller's attorneys
  • The title company representative
  • The attorney or loan officer for the mortgage company
  • The real estate broker

This final stage of the process is no time for last minute glitches, so having a real estate lawyer with you at this meeting will help ensure that everything goes just as smoothly as it should. Don't put your rights at risk at this meeting or at any other step in the home-buying process. Have legal representation to advocate for your rights as a seller.


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