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How to Legally Extend a Real Estate Contract

by Maggie Lourdes, studioD

Real estate sales contracts typically state deadlines for attorney reviews, home inspections, mortgage approvals, and closings dates. Buyers and sellers can agree to extend deadlines by amending their purchase agreements to reflect new dates for completing tasks. Buyers and sellers should also consult with third parties who may be affected by contract extensions. For example, a buyer's lender may have conflicting expiration dates for things such as interest rate guarantees or mortgage approvals.

Extending Real Estate Contracts

Amendments identify the contract.

Start the amendment by stating the property address, the buyer and seller's names, and the date of the original agreement. For example, "The contract for the sale of 1224 Apple Street, New York, New York, between John Doe and Sally Smith dated May 2, 2013 is hereby amended as follows:"

State the extension's details with reference to the previously agreed deadline. For example, "The original closing date of June 6, 2013 is hereby changed to June 16, 2013." Or, if all contract dates are being extended, clearly state it. For example, "All contract dates are extended by seven days."

Have the buyers and sellers sign and date the amendment and distribute copies to all parties. Have two adults witness the parties' signatures for future verification purposes.


  • Be prepared to negotiate for your extension. Sellers asking for extensions may obtain agreements with incentives such as home warranty plans, or help with buyers' closing costs, not included in the original bargains. Buyers may offer sellers incentives such as more time to move after closing, or addition earnest money.


  • It is illegal under state law to practice law without a license. Do not attempt to draft legal documents for third parties unless you are an attorney. Seek the advice of an attorney for specific legal questions.

About the Author

Maggie Lourdes is a full-time attorney in southeast Michigan. She teaches law at Cleary University in Ann Arbor and online for National University in San Diego. Her writing has been featured in "Realtor Magazine," the N.Y. State Bar's "Health Law Journal," "Oakland County Legal News," "Michigan Probate & Estate Planning Journal," "Eye Spy Magazine" and "Surplus Today" magazine.

Photo Credits

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