Think You Know Optional Clauses, Riders and Addenda?
Realtors have the ability to modify contract terms through optional clauses, riders and/or addenda. To effectively represent a vast array of clients, agents should know their list of options and how each works as part of the full contract.
ORLANDO, Fla. – How well do you know the optional clauses, riders and addenda that go with the contracts?
Florida Realtors® offers various contracts drafted by different groups, and each type of contract offers addenda, riders or optional clauses that go with each one of those contracts. For the sake of simplicity, I’ll refer to the various options as riders moving forward, but note this going forward:
- The Florida Realtors/Florida Bar Contracts use riders
- The Contract for Residential Sale and Purchase and Vacant Land Contract uses addenda
- The Commercial Contract uses optional clauses
Many agents calling Florida Realtors’ Legal Hotline seem surprised when they’re told a rider already exists to cover their specific transaction’s situation. Let’s use the latest version of Florida Realtors/Florida Bar “AS IS” Residential Contract for Sale and Purchase to walk through the options for this contract. In addition, I’m going to point out some of the existing riders that Hotline callers want yet can’t seem to find.
Where can you locate your options? Sounds simple enough, but many Hotline callers seem confused as to where to find this information. Paragraph 19 of the AS IS Contract gives you the answer. This paragraph lists out the riders designed for use with this contract.
As you can see, an alphabetical letter designates each rider. This is helpful when searching the library for a rider to use – and make sure the rider you end up choosing matches the letter in the contract. Remember that each contract is different, so it’s really important to confirm that the rider you use in a transaction goes with the contract the parties chose.
Now let’s go over some of the riders based on Hotline calls, notably the ones where the caller was unaware there was an existing rider to help in their transaction. Below are brief summaries of what each mentioned rider does.
- Rider F: Appraisal Contingency – While we’ve done several articles touching on this subject before, this rider gives buyers the option to cancel in the event the property doesn’t appraise to a chosen cost, usually the purchase price. Remember, there is no “appraisal to the purchase price out” in the financing contingency! Buyers who want to make sure they can cancel if the property doesn’t appraise to a certain value should be using this rider.
- Rider H: Homeowner’s/Flood Insurance – Use of this rider allows buyers to put a cap on what each of those items may cost when purchasing the property, and it gives buyers an option to cancel should coverage for those items exceed the cap. Costs for insurance (homeowner’s and flood) can be pricey, so if buyers have concerns over the costs of those items, using this rider could serve them well.
- Rider V: Sale of Buyer’s Property – This rider allows buyers to have a potential “get out of the transaction” option if they can’t sell their existing property. In addition, it’s important to note that buyers with a financing contingency must use this rider if they have to sell a different property to purchase the subject property and need coverage for their loan approval.
- Rider X: Kick-out Clause – This rider allows sellers to continue to enter into back-up contracts and, should they do so, requires buyers to put down additional funding and waive contingencies, such as the sale of buyer’s property. Sellers who may be concerned about an offer where buyers must sell other property should use this rider because it allows them to move forward with a back-up offer if the original buyers fail to pay additional funding by the designated date.
So, readers, I pose this challenge to you: Test yourself on your knowledge of the various riders that are available for use in transactions. Become familiar with which riders go with each contract. Know the content of the riders and how they can assist the party you are representing. Talk with your buyers and sellers about what they are looking for and expect in the transaction, their concerns and what protections they want.
Knowing the available existing options will only help your serve your parties better and make you the better agent!
Meredith Caruso is Associate General Counsel for Florida Realtors
Note: Information deemed accurate on date of publication