The question of whether you should use a realtor’s standard listing agreement or a custom agreement created by an attorney depends entirely on your unique circumstances.If you’re buying a residential house, there’s no reason why you should have to reinvent the wheel: in most residential property transactions, using the standard contract will be sufficient.
The contract in question is sanctioned by the Board of Realtors and the Florida Bar. It isn’t something the realtor came up with on their own; it has been reviewed and it is a fair contract, and has been interpreted so many times that there’s no real interpretation issues that could come up.
Now, if you’re going for a much larger deal—say, a commercial deal that involves a large amount of money—then you should at least consider a custom contract. If you’re negotiating a $50 million commercial deal, for instance, you will want to use a specialized contract prepared by your attorney to cover all possible bases where you might be exploited, or things might go wrong.
However, even with big commercial transactions, whether or not to make a custom contract depends on the individual details of the deal. Right before Christmas this year, we closed on the acquisition of a community—a sizeable transaction—but we used the standard contract because there were no real concerns. Whereas a few years ago, we closed on a $50 million deal where we had more concerns and there were many more moving parts. There was a very customized contract drafted and negotiated primarily by me and another attorney, with the input of three other attorneys that were involved in the transaction.
So, the short answer is, it depends. We have to look at each deal and real estate transaction on a case-by-case basis, examining the type of deal and what is entailed, in order to properly determine whether or not it merits a custom contract.
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