The sale of real property is usually governed by contract law, as most offers to purchase property are made pursuant to a written contract. Once both parties to the contract have accepted the terms by signing the contract, the contract becomes binding on both parties. Other common names for a purchase contract include a real estate contract, an offer to purchase contract, and a residential or commercial purchase agreement. A type of bilateral contract, a purchase contract, once signed, is binding on both the buyer and the seller, meaning each party is legally obligated to abide by the terms agreed upon in the contract. The contents of a purchase contract usually include the required contract terms, or language, pursuant to the laws in the jurisdiction where the contract is written, the purchase price of the property, and the terms of financing for the purchase. If either party subsequently breaches the contract or a dispute arises, the laws of contract will be used to settle the dispute in most jurisdictions. Although courts rarely require specific performance or completion of the contract, when a party to a purchase agreement wants to back out, a court may order monetary damages paid to the other injured party. When a prospective purchaser of real estate makes an offer to purchase the property, the legal document used to make the offer is referred to as a purchase contract.
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