In Vermont, real estate agents actually practice law and we take this very seriously. Usually the agent writes the contract called the Purchase and Sale Agreement (P&S), a binding agreement between you and the buyer. It’s also not unusual to have an attorney review it as part of the terms.Your agent will discuss the specifics to this multi-page contract. It will include the buyers’ specific information, a selling price, deposit amount, closing date, a financing clause if needed. Other typical contingencies include a structural inspection prior to a sale or other needs you or the buyer need in order for you to transfer title.
Often attached to the P&S will be a copy of the Seller Property Information Report (SPIR). This is a questionnaire that you filled out, usually when you listed the property with the agent. It has become the norm for buyers to request these and for sellers to provide them. It asks about roof leaks, rights-of-ways, permits, town assessments and other information about the property. The reason it’s attached to the contract is so that you and the buyer acknowledge your disclosing this information.
If your home was built in 1978 or before, by state and federal law, you’ll also need to disclosure the existence of any lead paint tests you may have done. (See our Lead Paint Page .)
The P&S will also have legal language about the title, fees, pro-rations and other various taxes like the Property Transfer and Withholding if you are an out-of-state owner. It will also detail agent representation. It is a specific sequential road map for the ultimate transfer of the property. Your agent and your attorney will represent your interests throughout the process.
The sequence and timing are critical for a smooth transition. Often you’ll need to know the major contingencies have been satisfied before committing to expenditures associated with your move. Your agent will help coordinate all this, communicate with you, the buyer or the other agent if there is one and the attorneys for the parties to make sure the transaction goes as smooth as possible.
Advising you how to prepare, effectively marketing your property and showing your property, putting together the contract and finally helping your attorney prepare for the closing and transfer of the property, your agent will earn their ultimate commission.