Real Estate Purchase Agreements

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Two recent cases, Steiner v. Thexton and Kuish v. Smith, have brought into question again the standard operating mechanics in almost all written agreements for the purchase and sale of real property in California. Those mechanics include the notion that the buyer puts up a refundable good faith deposit upon the opening of an escrow to purchase the property and receives, in return, a period of time within which to investigate and examine its physical and legal aspects before deciding whether or not to proceed with its purchase. In the meantime, the agreement normally provides that the seller is committed to the sale (and generally must cease marketing the property) even though it will get nothing for taking the property off of the market, if the buyer elects, by the end of the due diligence period, to cancel the agreement.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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