Contingencies and “escape clauses” are important in all contracts, whether they are purchase or sale. They take the pressure off of selling or buying, as they can allow you to cancel a transaction. In the case of a purchase, they can even make sure you get your deposit back in case you change your mind. When you agree to buy a parcel of land, put something in the contract like, “Sale and purchase are subject to my attorney’s approval.” Or subject to your partner’s approval. Then, if for any reason you feel you need to withdraw, you can ask your attorney or partner to indicate that they do not approve of the purchase and that the contract is void and the deposit is returned to you.

Another possible contingency would be “purchase subject to buyer having acceptable financing.” However, “the land area has to be less than 20% unusable due to the green belt area.” Also, if there is no current study on the land, it is a good idea to mention that the price of the land is a particular price per acre, as studies occasionally reveal less acreage than expected. And make sure the purchase is subject to the approval of a legal survey. Of course, the amount and scope of contingencies you can get into your contract when you agree to buy real estate depends on how nice the seller is. If the seller does not accept the contingencies, walk away and look for another part. Or possibly use an option, but DON’T FALL IN LOVE WITH ANY PARTICULAR PIECE OF REAL ESTATE!

A very important contingency to include in your purchase contract is; Buyer to be able to get all the necessary permits and zoning for (whatever … be it residential, commercial, apartments, etc) This one is a must! You may also want to include a contingency such as, “Purchase is dependent on no property ties associated with an environmental cleanup.” I know of a gentleman who crossed a tract of land that was a “good deal” he thought; “This is too good to be true.” And went!

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