In our busy property practice we assist clients and Real Estate professionals with a large number of transactions every week. While we can almost always rely on Agents to prepare Sale and Purchase Agreements properly, sometimes things can go wrong and mistakes occur, and everyone involved risks wasting time and money..

Here are some of the more common ones we come across for your interest…

Agreement not dated.

While this is not necessarily fatal, it can cause real difficulties when there are time limits for satisfying conditions. When does the five working days for arranging finance start from, for example?

Not all the vendors included.

If the property is owned by Mr and Mrs Smith but the Agreement names only Mr Smith as vendor, the sale can be unenforceable against Mrs Smith if she has not signed.

Words and figures of the purchase price don’t agree.

This can sometimes happen when there has been a series of offers and counter offers. The result is that there is no actual agreement as to price, which could enable either party to avoid the contract for uncertainty.

Possession date omitted.

If there is no date for settlement the contract can’t be enforced. If there is wording like “such date as the parties agree” this again is unenforceable because either party could be quite entitled to refuse to agree a date and thus avoid the contract.

Special conditions unclear.

All conditions about the purchaser arranging finance, a builder’s report etc, must have precise time limits.

Cash out clauses and back up contracts.

These need particular care. Unless dates and time limits are absolutely correct a vendor can, as a worst case scenario end up selling twice, with drastic consequences.

The chattels list.

Mistakes here can result in unnecessary aggravation and waste of time arguing about whether or not a particular item goes with the property.

Agreement not properly signed.

Where there is more then one vendor but only one of them is available to sign, it should be clearly stated that the person signing does so both for him or herself, and as agent for the other. Getting this wrong could enable the vendors to refuse to complete the sale.