Part II – Review of your Form Purchase Agreement

Real Estate, Land Use & Construction Law

Part II – Review of your Form Purchase Agreement

Jul 12, 2010 | Real Estate, Land Use & Construction Law

Part II – Review of your Form Purchase Agreement

In this Part II, we continue our review of some important items to review in your form purchase and sale agreements.

Interstate Land Sales Act

The Interstate Land Sales Full Disclosure Act (ISLA) is a federal law originally enacted to protect buyers of out-of-state home-site lots, but has since been held to also apply to sales of preconstruction condominiums and single-family homes.

A thorough discussion of ISLA is beyond the scope of this article, but be aware that ISLA is the flavor of the month for unhappy purchasers of preconstruction who are attempting to get out of their contractual commitments, It’s important that developers fully comply with ISLA or take advantage of one of its statutory exemptions. Due to ISLA’s onerous, costly and time-consuming registration requirements, most developers take advantage of certain exemptions under ISLA.

One of the most commonly used exemptions for larger projects is the Improved-Lot Exemption (often referred to as the “24-month exemption”), which generally provides that a developer doesn’t need to register its project under ISLA if the developer provides a contractual commitment to complete construction within two years after the date the purchaser signs the purchase agreement subject to delays for force majeure (French for greater force).

The 24-month exemption is problematic because the law is unsettled as to what remedies need to be offered to purchasers in the event construction isnt completed within the two-year period. Courts in some states have agreed with HUD’s position requiring that developers offer purchasers the right to specific performance in order to qualify for the 24-month exemption.

It’s clear that developers need flexibility in response to changing market conditions. They typically don’t want to be obligated to construct within tight deadlines. A poorly drafted purchase agreement may result in a developer losing its exemption under the 24-month exemption.

If the development is found not to qualify for the 24-month exemption, then a purchaser would have the right to terminate without penalty subject to ISLA’s other terms and conditions. Your form purchase agreement could expressly provide that the seller will complete construction of the property and cause settlement to occur within two years after the date of the agreement, but if settlement doesn’t occur within this deadline, purchasers will have the option of requesting a return of their deposit or they can settle on the unit when it is completed.

Virginia courts have accepted this language as giving purchasers the rights needed to properly exempt the development from ISLA registration.

Complete agreement

Lastly, please make sure the purchase agreement is dated and fully signed by all parties, with all blanks to the document completed and all exhibits attached. It is surprising how many executed purchase agreements are incomplete.

Additionally, the seller should make sure it has complied with all the requirements set forth under its organizational documents — be it a corporation, a partnership or a limited liability company — and that it is in good standing in Virginia.


Follow us on LinkedIn to view the latest blogs from our team.

About – Business Insights

Our business blog focuses on issues affecting Virginia, D.C. and Maryland business owners as well as those in other jurisdictions throughout the country. We provide timely insight and commentary on federal and state rules and how they affect you. If you are interested in having us cover a specific topic, please let us know.

About – Employment Law

As employment law constantly changes, the attorneys at Bean, Kinney & Korman stay up to date on the law as it develops. Our blog topics focus on those changes and what you need to know about them, ranging from severance agreements and the FLSA to social media in the workplace and recent court decisions. If you are interested in having us cover a specific topic, please let us know.

About- Real Estate

This blog focuses on real estate, land use and construction-related topics affecting Virginia and the Washington, D.C. metro area. With topics ranging from contract drafting and negotiation to local and regional land use project updates, the attorneys at Bean, Kinney & Korman provide timely insight and commentary on the issues affecting owners, builders, developers, contractors, subcontractors and other players in the industry. If you are interested in having us cover a specific topic, please let us know.

Fairfax County Signage Shake-up

Whether you are demonstrating your support for your favorite political candidate, sharing the day’s specials at your restaurant, or showcasing the location of a major office tenant, you’re undoubtedly using signage to get people’s attention. The who, where, when, and...

The Missing Middle

Arlington County’s Planning & Housing study “The Missing Middle” has entered its second phase, “Analysis & Draft Framework.” The initiative has garnered attention from homeowners, homebuilders, and community members who are interested in how the plan might...