Why is it important to have an attorney review a contract?
Whether you are a homeowner or real estate investor, having the proper contracts and understanding their terms is important to ensure your interests are fully protected. When you purchase a home, you are required to sign a thick stack of papers and there are laws that require most real estate transactions to be in writing to be enforceable. Homeowner’s Associations have lengthy Declarations and Bylaws that set forth rules and restrictions for everyone in the community. Real estate investors owners may enter into contracts with vendors or landlords and it is not uncommon for leases to now be over 20 pages. Many of these documents are written by lawyers and the specific language of the documents can have very significant consequences for the parties to the contract. As such, having an experienced attorney perform contract review prior to your signing the contract can help ensure the contract does what you want it to do and that there are no surprises down the road.
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Do I still need a contract review if I use a form contract?
Form contracts are great, but they are written to cover most transactions as it is impossible for the form contract to cover every possible scenario. This is no different than a one size fits all hat that fits most of the population but does not fit people with really large or small heads. As such, it is beneficial to have form contracts reviewed to ensure their is nothing contradictory to what you are trying to do with the transaction. Furthermore, because a form contract is usually well written, it can be reviewed much quicker than a custom drafted contract, which lowers the cost of the contract review.
Can I just send you the contract and wait for your comments?
Contract review is a collaborative process. An attorney can review a contract and identify any unusual terms, but he or she can not ensure the contract is accomplishing your goals without having a discussion regarding the transaction underlying the contract. As such, you should have a conversation with the attorney both before and after the review of a contract and be prepared to ask any questions you may have or to identify things that are most important to you in the contract.