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Buying and Selling Real Estate
As a buyer, once you have found the house you want to buy and have agreed on the price, you will probably be asked to sign some kind of a document and pay a deposit. This document may be called a binder, receipt, purchase offer or agreement. The seller's agent usually prepares it. If a real estate agent or broker prepares a contract, it will usually be subject to approval by the parties' attorneys within a specified short time. Any one of these papers may constitute a binding contract obligating you to purchase the house. Before signing it, you should consider seeking legal advice. Once you sign a contract, your rights and obligations are determined.

The contract of sale should identify the parties and the purchase price and how it is to be paid. It should adequately describe the property to be sold, the type of deed to be delivered, the quality of the seller's title to the property, a description of personal property included in the sale, and the date the buyer will take possession. It should also cover dozens of other issues about the property and the responsibilities of the parties both to each other. The contract should in most cases let the buyer cancel the contract if the buyer can't obtain a mortgage loan or if the sale falls through for some other reason that isn't the buyer's fault. In each of these cases, the buyer should receive back the deposit.