Iowa Real Estate Purchase Agreement

When venturing into the real estate market in Iowa, understanding the intricacies of a purchase agreement is crucial. A well-written Iowa real estate purchase agreement serves as the blueprint for the transaction, outlining the terms and conditions that both buyers and sellers must adhere to. Each component is vital in ensuring a smooth and legally binding transaction.

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Iowa Real Estate Purchase Agreement

As a buyer or seller, adhering to state laws in Iowa is essential when making real estate transactions. To fulfill this, it’s essential to have a well-structured Iowa real estate purchase agreement that meets state statutes and ordinances. 

Writing Requirement 

  • Identification of parties: A valid contract must include the full legal names of the buyer(s) and seller(s). It should specify how the property will be owned – joint tenancy, tenants in common, etc. This is especially important if there are multiple buyers.
  • Description of property: The agreement must contain the complete legal description of the property, not just the address. The legal description is how the property is uniquely identified for recording purposes. 
  • Purchase price and terms: The agreed-upon purchase price must be stated. Details on payment terms should be included – cash purchase, amount and source of financing, any seller financing, etc. Any earnest money deposits and handling should also be detailed.
  • Closing date and contingencies: Specify the target closing date and any contingencies that could delay closing, such as the buyer securing financing or selling their current home. Timeframes for contingencies should be defined. This affects the timeline, so build in some flexibility. 
  • Taxes: The seller typically pays property taxes accrued through the date of sale. Specify who is responsible for current taxes and how they’ll be prorated.
  • Signatures: Valid once signed by both buyer and seller.

Required Disclosures

When buying or selling property, the buyer and seller must make certain disclosures as part of the Iowa real estate purchase agreement. These disclosures ensure that all parties in a real estate transaction have access to important information about the property’s condition. Common disclosures to watch out for include:

  • Basement/foundation: The seller must disclose any known water or other problems with the basement or foundation, including cracks, leaks, or signs of settling. Any prior repairs made to the basement or foundation must also be disclosed.
  • Condition of the roof: The seller must inform the buyer of any known issues with the roof, such as leaks, damaged shingles, or other material defects. Any previous repairs made to fix or replace roof portions must be disclosed.
  • Septic and sewer system: The seller must disclose any known problems with the home’s septic tanks or drainage fields. Signs of failure or need for repairs must be revealed. Additionally, any municipal sewer system connection issues must be disclosed, such as needed repairs, backups, or overflow problems.
  • Heating and cooling systems: The seller must reveal any problems with the home’s heating and cooling equipment, including furnaces, boilers, central air conditioning, heat pumps, etc. Needed repairs must also be disclosed.
  • Plumbing: The seller must disclose any known problems with the home’s plumbing system, including water pressure issues, leaks, clogged drains, or signs of deterioration. Any repairs made must also be disclosed. 
  • Electrical system: Any issues with the home’s electrical system must be revealed, including faulty wiring, insufficient amperage, frequent tripped breakers, or needed upgrades.
  • Pest infestation: The seller must disclose any structural damage caused by termites, carpenter ants, or other wood-destroying pests. Evidence of active infestations must also be revealed.  
  • Asbestos: The seller must reveal if asbestos is a known carcinogen in the home’s building materials. Common asbestos sources include insulation and floor and ceiling tiles.
  • Radon disclosure: Results of any prior tests for radon gas, a radioactive gas that can cause lung cancer, must be disclosed. The EPA recommends all homes be tested.
  • Lead-based paint: The seller must disclose whether any lead-based paint is present in the home. Common in older homes (prior to 1978), lead paint can pose serious health hazards if deteriorating.  
  • Flood plain status: The seller must inform the buyer if the property lies within a government-designated 100-year flood plain. This can require costly flood insurance.
  • Zoning classification: The seller must disclose the specific zoning classification for the property (single-family residential, multi-unit residential, commercial, etc.) since zoning limits potential property uses.