The Pen is Mighty: Your Guide to Fine Print in Real Estate

I wonder if I would have even needed glasses were it not for all the fine print I’ve read over the years in real estate.  Yes, the pen is mightier than the sword, even when the print is as tiny as it is on real estate contracts.

Many people assume all the paperwork involved with buying and selling real estate is always perfect. After all, these are professionals drawing up the contracts, right?

Right, but professionals are humans too. And we know that humans are prone to….. mistakes.

So when I tell you to read all the fine print (actually, read the big print as well), it is mandatory. You are signing contracts for large amounts of money. Do not take these binding documents lightly.  I ask all my clients to look closely, ask questions and never sign something they don't understand.

It’s one thing to sign your child up for tae kwondo instead of ballet.  It’s quite another thing to sign up for a mortgage that has holes in it.  Maybe the area in which you are buying doesn’t allow certain sized homes on less than two acres?  Or you sign up for a mortgage five years longer than you had originally intended.  Not a good way to start your retirement!

What if your property taxes are not included in the monthly mortgage payment like you were told?  Terrible things like that really do happen if you don’t pay attention. Or if you have a real estate agent asleep at the wheel.

Being sharp is part of my promise to my clients. The reason is, often I am called on by them to answer questions about contract details.  Sometimes, answering these questions requires some research.  I do that part too.  This afternoon, a property that I have almost sold half a dozen times has a new interested party.  But they have really good questions, ones I haven't been asked.  So I am digging and working to make sure everyone understands the deal.

Clients trust me to be in their corner to fight the devil that hides in the details. And if I can’t answer them with absolute certainty, we will call upon our trusted real estate lawyer to help us.  You never want a Realtor® too proud to look it up or pick up the phone.

At the end of all real estate transactions you will receive a copy of the contract. Make sure you have plenty of room in your filing cabinet by the way. But having a copy won’t do much good if you failed to read it carefully, or left questions unasked to your Realtor®.

Remember: The pen is mightier than the sword even in the world of real estate. And guess who is holding that powerful instrument at the end of the day?

That’s right. You are.

So make sure you don’t use it until you are 100 percent sure you know what’s on the papers in front of you.

Each and every one of them.

PS: You should get familiar with the many real estate forms listed below.  They are all standard for real estate transactions in Ontario.

Click on a form title in the list below to download. You need Adobe Acrobat Reader to view these forms. Acrobat Reader is free to download here.

Check out this resource detailing consumer data on not reading sales contracts fully and this RECO resource cited in this post.

Don't worry.  I have been doing this for almost 30 years.  I have your back.  Call me or click here to book a conversation or showing at a time that works for you.