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Real estate purchase agreement: A checklist for homebuyers

Real estate transactions in general can be challenging, but purchasing a new home in Pennsylvania is especially trying. To say the least, the purchase will have its own unique pros and cons from its gorgeous master bedroom suite to concerns about the home's foundation.

As a buyer, it is up to you to weigh the pros and cons and make decisions that meet your family's needs. However, it is possible to break down the challenges associated with real estate transactions into small groups that are easier to address. It is usually wise to have a real estate attorney by your side to protect your interests all the way through the transaction.

This post will center on the purchase agreement and will offer you a brief checklist to make the most of your purchasing experience. With this checklist, you can go through the items in your purchase agreement one-by-one to ensure everything is in order before you sign on the bottom line.

Earnest money

Be prepared to shell out some money to hold your claim on a home you like. Offering more than the minimum amount of earnest money improves your odds of acquiring the home.

Settlement date

Remember, you can have a say in when the real estate transaction closes. Do not accept a settlement date that does not allow you plenty of time to meet your obligations such as home inspections and appraisals.

Possession date

Sound real estate transactions spell out terms such as when the buyer can take possession of the home. Do not assume you can move into the home on the settlement date. Instead, take the time to look at the possession date and discover if any delays in taking possession do not cause your family any hardships.


Often, a seller will attempt to "sweeten the pot" by offering to pay the first year of a home warranty. However, to be valid, it must be written into your purchase agreement in clear language. Have your attorney look over it and all other terms of your purchase agreement.

Source:, "Real Estate Purchase Agreements: 7 Things Home Buyers Must Check—or Else," Daniel Bortz, accessed May 18, 2018

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