If you are selling or buying a home, use an attorney.
If you choose to go it alone, you might encounter some problems, especially if the other side is using an attorney. The odds are somewhat stacked against you.
From the Herald:
Q: Iâ€™m negotiating an agreement to sell my home and have hit something of a snag. The buyerâ€™s lawyer crossed out a clause in the purchase-and-sale agreement specifying that if the buyer defaults, I can retain the purchaserâ€™s deposit and seek additional damages, too. Iâ€™d like to see this language remain in the contract (which is a standard P&S form). However, Iâ€™m not sure how hard to press this point with the buyer. Whatâ€™s common practice in the real estate industry?
Nena Groskind’s answer seems very confusing and convoluted, to me.
The answer, as I would put it (I’m not a lawyer), is that the seller should write that clause right back into the contract. It would be a mistake to enter into a contract without that clause. The seller loses all leverage. Perhaps not the part about “additional damages”, I don’t know. But, there should definitely be a language that if the buyer pulls out without reason, the seller can keep the escrow money. There should be specific contingencies written into the contract, by the buyer’s attorney, outlining when the buyer can get his or her money back. The standard contingencies are: if a home inspection uncovers significant problems and if the buyer can’t qualify for a mortgage.
That’s about it.
Yes, you might scare a buyer away. In reality, a buyer who wants to pull out for whatever reason he can think of is not someone to get involved with.
More: Getting a buyer to pay when deal dies – By Nena Groskind, The Boston Herald