Land Sale Contracts- Caution to Rural Land Brokers
As a broker for many years, I have learned, sometimes the hard way, to pay close attention on behalf of my client, on what is implied in provisions in a land sale contract. In most sales of rural property a generic form agreement is not always specific enough for the situation to be covered in sufficient detail. MLS or office supply store forms have limitations and should be used with caution. Be advised that contract variations between states is not unusual. If you have a significant estate would you want to use a form Will ?
Most land transactions I handle are based on Attorney prepared agreements. I just got a draft of a land sale contract that was prepared by an Attorney who represents the Buyer. On the surface the contract looked simple and straightforward but when studying several of the provisions regarding minerals, Hold Harmless and environmental issues I realized that every time I read these sections that I was more unsure of the legalize and if I really understood what I was reading. I can just imagine the confusion that some sellers and buyers have as they sell or buy very infrequently. Sometimes we interpret what we read to go along with what we want but that may not be the case.
I sent an email back to the Attorney requesting clarification of the terms and provisions and asked my client to have his personal attorney to review the agreement prior to executing the agreement. Do not be afraid or embarrassed to ask questions that will protect your client's interest. I am not qualified to be an Attorney nor are most of my clients but we are qualified to ask questions as to meaning and implication. I would rather be embarrassed up front than cause my client to sign an agreement where we made a mistake in meaning and consequence. In these and in most cases encourage them to consult with their Attorney.
I would like to hear some of your experiences .Hope you will add comments to this article!