Special situations often require one or more of the following real estate forms:
- Amendment to Purchase and Sale Agreement
- Agency and Brokerage Attachment (if you choose to use a real estate agent)
- Counter Offer
- Homeowner’s Association Disclosure
- Mold & Mold-Forming Condition Disclosure
- Natural Hazard Disclosure Statement
- Seller’s Affidavit of Non foreign Status
A Partial List of Real Estate Forms & Contracts:
- Sales Contract*:
The real estate sales contract identifies the property being sold and states the amount the Buyer will pay. The contract also describes the amount and type of mortgage loan the Buyer will need, and specifies the Buyer's rights to inspect the property.
The sales contract has different names in different states. In California it is called a "Residential Purchase Agreement." In the set of Texas real estate forms and contracts it is a "Residential Sales Contract for One to Four Family Properties." In the Colorado Forms & Contracts it is a "Contract to Buy and Sell Real Estate."
* Real estate contract vs real estate form: A real estate contract is a real estate form that has been filled out and signed by the Buyer and the Seller.
- Seller's Disclosure:
The disclosure statement provides a means for the Seller to inform the Buyer of known problems with the property as required by the state. This is done with a series of detailed questions. The Seller must tell the Buyer what he or she knows but "don't know" is a perfectly acceptable answer.
The California set of real estate forms and contracts includes a "Real Estate Transfer Disclosure Statement (TDS)" that serves the same purpose. In the Florida set of Forms & Contracts this document is named "Seller's Real Property Disclosure Statement." In addition to a "Residential Property Disclosure Statement," the Virginia set of real estate Forms and Contracts includes a "Seller's Real Property Disclaimer Statement."
- Offer to Purchase Agreement:
The Offer to Purchase Agreement is a real estate sales contract designed to be used by a Buyer making an offer to purchase a home. There is no real difference between a Purchase Agreement and the real estate sales forms used by Sellers. The "Residential Purchase Agreement" included in the California set of Forms & Contract is an Offer To Purchase. The set of Georgia Forms and Contracts includes a "Georgia Purchase and Sale Agreement."
- Lead-based Paint Addendum:
Sellers of homes built before 1978 are required to have the home inspected for lead based paint hazards. Many mortgage lenders also require the Seller to inform the Buyer of known lead based paint problems regardless of when the house was built. In the set of Nevada Forms and Contracts this document is called a "Lead Based Paint Disclosure."
- Escrow Agreement:
When selling a home with the help of a real estate broker, the broker usually holds the Buyer's deposits. For Sellers without a broker or agent, the Escrow Agreement provides a place for the Seller and Buyer to name a third party to hold earnest money and other deposits. The Escrow Agreement also specifies the conditions under which the deposits are returned to the Buyer or transferred to the Seller.
- Homeowner's Association Disclosure:
The Seller must tell the Buyer if Buyer will be required to join a homeowner's association. The Seller must also disclose all fees and restrictions imposed by the homeowner's association.
- Mold Condition Disclosure:
Originally, only southern states required Sellers to tell Buyers what they knew about mold infestation, but as the mold problem spreads north, more states now require Sellers to fill out this form. The Florida set of Forms and Contracts includes a "Mold and Mold-Forming Condition Disclosure" and so does the Texas Forms & Contracts.
- Counter Offer:
This is a mostly blank form that allows the Seller to specify the Offer to which he or she is responding, and write in changes that make that offer acceptable (as an alternative, the Seller may simply cross out unacceptable terms and return the original offer to the Buyer). A Buyer may also use a Counter Offer to respond to the Seller.
- Certify Non-Foreign Status:
The Internal Revenue Service requires Buyers to withhold taxes from the purchase price of homes sold by foreign persons. This is true in every state, but is enforced primarily in resort areas where foreign ownership is common. Sellers avoid the withholding requirement by getting Buyer's notarized statement that they are tax-paying Americans. The set of California Forms & Contracts includes an additional "California Nonresident Withholding Statement" for sellers with primary residences outside of California.
- General Amendment:
This is essentially a blank form to provide space for the Seller and Buyer to specify terms not included in the Sales Contract or Offer to Purchase Agreement. In most cases, the new terms can be copied from our Special Stipulations form, or 'cut' and 'pasted into the blank space on the General Amendment.
- Special Stipulations:
This is a plain text document with 24 clauses (paragraphs) that describe situations Sellers and Buyers often want to include in the real estate contract. For instance, a Buyer may want to make the contract subject to approval of a father-in-law who is financing the purchase. These stipulations are in plain text format so they may easily be 'cut' and 'pasted' into the 'Special terms' section of the Sales Contract or into a General Amendment.
- Net to Seller Work-Sheet:
Form to help estimate selling and closing costs and calculate how much cash the Seller will receive from the sale.
- Pre-qualification Form:
Form to help the Seller determine if a particular Buyer can afford the property being sold.
While a real estate agent in the Atlanta area Audrie Cole met homeowners driven to market their own homes to avoid real estate commissions. At the request of friends, she hosted a seminar for these fsbo owners and invited appraisers, attorneys, mortgage brokers and other real estate professionals to come and give advice.
The first problems to emerge was that in Georgia the real estate forms and contracts to buy and sell homes were published by the Georgia Association of Realtors, a private industry group that labored to create the impression that their forms were the only ones that could be used to legally sell real estate in Georgia. Worse, their forms were sold only to Georgia brokers and real estate lawyers.
Generic real estate forms were available at large office supply stores such as Staples and Office Depot but these forms failed to provide a way for the seller to meet all real estate disclosure requirements in Georgia and many of the larger states. In most states, the question of what the seller must tell a buyer about known problems with residential property is the only part of real estate sales where the legislature gets involved and enacts laws. Geographic differences gave rise to special disclosure forms for local hazards such as floods, earthquakes, mud slides, forest fires, termites and mold infestation.
On Audrie’s retirement in 1997, she teamed with Nicna Real Estate to create sets of forms and contracts to sell and buy residential real estate in all fifty states. Working with brokers and attorneys at Nicnia, Audrie created forms and contracts legally and functionally equivalent to real estate forms published by each state's association of realtors. To avoid copyright infringement, Audrie’s forms are necessarily different from realtor association forms, but in addition to being functionally equivalent, our forms retain the familiar look-and-feel expected by escrow agents and other closing attorneys in each state.
Forms purchased from Audrie.com are typically one or two pages shorter that real estate forms published by the association of realtors in your state. Our forms are designed for people selling their homes without a real estate broker so we omit sections covering commission amounts, splits between seller and buyer broker, and arbitration rules to govern commission disputes.
Our Real Estate Forms will be appropriate for most people selling their own homes. However, unusual or complicated legal situations may sometimes occur. If you are faced with a real estate situation not covered in our forms, we recommend the advice of a real estate attorney. You can still save money by filling out our forms to the best of your ability and paying a real estate attorney to proof read them and make changes. The cost for an attorney's time for this type of service should be a lot less than the cost of preparing entire documents plus multiple office visits.
In cooperation with Nicnia Real Estate, the Audrie.com staff conducts an annual review of changes to forms published by realtor associations in each state. By far the most changes in state realtor forms are to sections covering real estate broker commissions, dispute resolutions and arbitration between brokers. These “broker” sections are not usually covered in our real estate forms so our current year forms are often identical to our prior year forms even when the state realtor associations trumpets new changes.
Our real estate forms are available immediately:
- You can download the forms in Microsoft Word format for Windows.
- We can send them attached to an email in Microsoft Word format for Windows or Mac. In most states we can also email the full set of forms in PDF format for the free Acrobat Reader.
- We can send a pre-printed version on a CD via the U.S. Post Office