This article is the first in a series of articles about buying and selling real estate in Montana. These considerations are not legal in nature, but are general recommendations based on over twenty years of real estate experience both as a Realtor® and as a real property attorney in the Inland Northwest.
Because buyers and sellers, wherever they live, generally buy or sell real estate less than four times in their lifetime, and a real estate transfer is not only complex but also represents one of the largest investments a person ever makes, it seems prudent to undergo thorough due diligence before committing to a parcel.
Assume nothing. In reviewing a real estate purchase and sale agreement, assume nothing and check everything. Make sure the language of the contract reflects your precise understanding of the transaction. Montana courts interpret contractual provisions according to their plain, ordinary meaning. Generally speaking, a Montana court will only consider evidence outside a contract if it determines the contract language is ambiguous.
Get it in writing. Require written documentation to substantiate oral representations prior to purchase. Oral contracts conveying an interest in real property are invalid in Montana. Generally speaking, Montana courts will not enforce oral agreements to convey an interest in real estate.
Be specific. Be prepared to clarify vague, ambiguous, or overbroad contract terms. Be specific about performance, timeframes, and remedies for breach. Generally speaking, Montana courts will not enforce implied meanings or assumptions, regardless of the circumstances.
NOTE: This posting is not legal advice. This information is general in nature. Legal advice is based on specific facts.