Have you ever heard the expression one size fits all? If so what did you think? Did you think wow that’s amazing or did you wonder how can that be? Speaking for myself, whenever I heard the expression I thought, well that may be so, but it would fit a whole lot better if it were tailored to my specific needs.
The reason I bring this up is too often in real estate transactions, I’ve received standard documents that fit some, but not all of the deal. While it might not seem catastrophic, it can have significant consequences if the specifics of the deal are not taken into consideration. For example, in a transaction involving a commercial condominium, is it reasonable for the seller to have to remove any abandoned underground fuel tanks on the property the condominium is located upon? I would submit no. Such removal would most likely need to be approved by the condominium association (hereinafter the “Association”), and if agreed upon it would be the responsibility of the Association to remove the same. However, if the buyer’s rider to the contract states that the seller will remove any underground storage tanks located on the property, and the rider is executed by both parties, the seller will be (i) breach of the contract when the same is not removed, or (ii) violation of the Association’s rules and regulations in the event he/she removes the said tank without the Association’s approval. Depending upon how the contract, rider(s) and/or the Association By-Law’s are drafted, the seller could be liable for real estate broker’s commissions, damages to the buyer, fines and liens to the Association, etc.
That is why it is so important for you and your attorney to pay attention to the specifics of the transaction, and not just submit a master document that your attorney always uses. This does not mean that mistakes or typos do not happen nor does it mean that your attorney needs to “reinvent the wheel” (i.e., create a brand new form) for each transaction. It is perfectly reasonable and part of the practice for attorneys to use form documents. However, the attorney needs to read through the form document for each transaction and make sure it is tailored to your transaction to avoid instances like the one mentioned above from occurring.
*The information in this blog posting is for general information purposes only. Nothing in this blog or associated pages, documents, comments, answers, emails, or other communications should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. The information in this blog is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing of this information does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship.