If you’re buying or selling a residential property in Oklahoma, you likely want a standard real estate contract form. It needs to be as fast and easy as possible, but it also needs to be thorough and legally accurate. But you’d prefer to avoid paying thousands of dollars to a broker or an attorney. Here are two free solutions for you:
Solution #1: Free Automated Contract from Jones Property Law
Jones Property Law offers a free, automated real estate contract for Oklahoma residential real estate. You’ll answer a series of questions designed to help you fill out the contract. Then you’ll instantly download and review the documents before signing. This contract is based on and generally identical to the Oklahoma Real Estate Commission (OREC) Uniform Contract. However, OREC did not publish or create this workflow and takes no responsibility for it.
(For residential properties)
Solution #2: OREC Contract Forms
If your property is not residential, or if you want to fill out the forms by hand, then you’ll want to visit the Oklahoma Real Estate Commission (OREC) website. OREC hosts all of their forms here. These contract forms are used in most Oklahoma real estate transactions (but not all). If you hire a realtor, they will more than likely fill in the blanks of an OREC form.
Keep in mind that OREC forms are not designed to protect one party or the other; they are designed to be neutral, publicly available forms. If you are involved in a commercial or high stakes transaction, you may want an attorney to prepare a custom contract on your behalf, which can be designed to protect your interests in the transaction.
Do you need a realtor?
You may ask whether a realtor is necessary at all. If you plan to sell by owner (for sale by owner, or FSBO) without a realtor, an can review any contracts and guide you through the transaction process. In fact, the only thing a realtor can do that an attorney cannot is publicly market the property on the MLS and elsewhere. If you plan to buy or sell an FSBO property and you want some help with the transaction process, check out our transaction services page. Even if both the buyer and seller hire an attorney, each party can still save significant transaction costs compared to a 3% – 6% realtor’s commission.
Notes on OREC Forms
Here are some (but not all) of the key terms you should understand when using the basic OREC residential property sale contract:
- Risk of Loss. This term is crucial – it determines who bears the risk (think financial burden) if the property is damaged or destroyed before closing. The default term transfers the risk when possession or title is transferred to the new owner. There are major problems with this ambiguous language, so it’s best to protect yourself by obtaining an insurance policy on the property before you walk into your closing.
- Mandatory Mediation. Most people want to immediately file a lawsuit when something has gone wrong with their sale. This term requires all disputes related to the contract to be submitted to mediation before filing a lawsuit. This is not necessarily a bad term, as it can save parties the expense and hassle of going to court. Just know that you may not be able to immediately file a claim when a problem arises.
- Acceptance of Property. This term can be harsh – once you complete closing, you accept the property in its “as is” condition. This means that if the sellers damage or trash the house the morning of closing, but the buyers did not inspect the house on the way to the closing, the buyers could be stuck with paying the full price as negotiated but receiving a trashed property.
Problems frequently arise when parties use a purchase contract form without reading it or understanding it. Unmodified forms can introduce strange language and terms that are not ideal in your unique case. You should always know the terms of any contract you sign, and especially the contracts involving your biggest financial investment (a home). Our firm has helped countless buyers and sellers navigate the standard OREC purchase contract. Contact us if you have any questions about the terms, the process, or anything else related to your sale.