Sales Contracts

Written by Helen Glenn Court
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A sales contract, no matter what type, is security on a purchase. Whether you're buying a purebred dog, a new car, a wireless printer, or a condominium, you'll sign a sales contract. They'll all look a little different, of course. The first will be accompanied by an AKC pedigree, the second by a folder of warranty and financing information and dealer spec sheets, the third little more than a three-inch register receipt, and the fourth a thick clump of papers initialed one by one.

A sales contract, like any legal document, has its own set of key clauses, or provisions. The better you understand these, the better off you'll be, whether you're thinking about signing a contract or drawing one up. All sales contracts, after all, are not the same. Let's look at the basic provisions you'll encounter.

Sales Contract Provisions

First and most obvious is a detailed description of the item being sold. Just as obvious are the payment terms. These will include the amount of the sale, who is responsible for paying it, when payment is due, what form the payment will be made in, and what must occur before payment is made. Obligations--which include the what, the who, and the when--are also spelled out. The conditions of the sale are essential to many transactions. Default and breach address the specifics when one of the two in the transaction does not meet his or her obligations or conditions of sale.

The key to writing a good contract, whether sales or otherwise, is the language you use. While a contract is a legal document, it doesn't need to sound like a deed from the 16th century. The simpler and clearer the language, the more direct and to the point the style, the fewer problems you're likely to encounter. Using a standardized form created a company that specializes in the area can be helpful. As far what it takes for a contract to be legal is concerned, all that's required is that the parties are in agreement and that something of value has changed hands in exchange for something else of value (usually a dollar amount).

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