The Contract will define the details of the transaction and is a binding commitment on the parties. Oral agreements are not binding. There is no "cooling off" period to change your mind, in Virginia, unless specifically provided in the written agreement. Be sure you have carefully inspected the property condition and neighborhood. Check the schools, shopping, taxes, special assessments, homeowner's association and surrounding zoning. The time to seek legal advice is before, not after, signing.
After signing the contract there is no further negotiation, so be certain you understand and agree to all of its terms. The REALTOR's Associations developed a standard-form Sales Contract that has gained wide acceptance in the area. The Contract is generally regarded as "fair but tough." Every word is there for a reason and carries obligations and responsibilities. Every term is also subject to negotiation and change. There is no such thing as a "cookie-cutter" transaction.
What items cause the most misunderstandings:
The items that cause most contract misunderstandings are:
* Personal property included in the sale (washer, dryer, chandelier, stove, fireplace inserts, drapes, etc.). The seller can remove anything not permanently attached. If you have any doubt at all, write the item into the contract.
* Condition of the property. The standard contract provides the structure conveys in its present condition so you must inspect carefully before signing or hire a professional home inspection and make the contract contingent on acceptance of the report. The contract provides that appliances, heating, air conditioning, plumbing, electrical and mechanical systems are to be in "normal working order" at the time of settlement. You will conduct a final inspection of these systems shortly before closing. You should get estimates and try to resolve any repair issues bef