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Seven Terms to Watch for in a Purchase Contract

  1. The closing date . See if the date the buyer wants to take title is reasonable for you.

  2. Date of possession . See if the date the buyer wants to move in is reasonable for you.

  3. The earnest money . Look for the largest earnest-money deposit possible; since it is forfeited if the buyer backs out, a large deposit is usually a good indication of a sincere buyer.

  4. Fixtures and personal property . Check the list of items that the buyer expects to remain with the property and be sure it's acceptable.

  5. Repairs . Determine what the requested repairs will cost and whether you're willing to do the work or would rather lower the price by that amount.

  6. Contingencies . See what other factors the buyer wants met before the contract is final--inspections, selling a home, obtaining a mortgage, review of the contract by an attorney. Set time limits on contingencies so that they won't drag on and keep your sale from becoming final.

  7. The contract expiration date . See how long you have to make a decision on the offer.

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