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Purchase and sale agreement in real estate

What is a Purchase and Sale Agreement?

Ever wondered about the legal nitty-gritty when buying or selling something significant, like a house or a car? That's where a purchase and sale contract comes in.

A Purchase and Sale Agreement (PSA) is a legally binding agreement between a buyer and a seller. It lays out the specific details of what's being bought and sold, the agreed-upon price, and the steps involved to complete the transaction smoothly. This type of agreement is primarily used in real estate transactions but is not exclusively. In short, it's a crucial document that safeguards both the buyer and seller by outlining the terms and conditions of a transaction. For the remainder of this article, we will focus on the business and commercial applications of this type of agreement.

Importance of a Purchase and Sale Agreement

A purchase and sale agreement is crucial for a large-scale transaction for the reasons listed below. For complex transactions like real estate deals, it's advisable to involve your in-house legal team to ensure the contract is comprehensive and legally sound.  For simpler transactions, your in-house legal team might have contract templates available, but it's always recommended to consult them to review the contract before signing.

Clarity and Transparency:

It provides a clear framework for the transaction, outlining all agreed terms and conditions.

Legal Protection:

Protects the buyer's and seller's interests, offering legal recourse if either party fails to comply with the agreement.

Contingency Management:

Allows both parties to include contingencies, providing a way to address potential issues before finalizing the sale.

Timeline Establishment:

Sets a timeline for the transaction, helping to ensure all steps are completed in a timely manner.

Common Terms of a Purchase and Sale Agreement

The specific content of a PSA can vary depending on the type of transaction. However, some common elements include:

Parties Involved:

Names and contact information of the buyer and seller.

Property or Item Description:

A detailed description of what's being bought and sold.

Purchase Price:

The agreed-upon price for the sale.

Payment Terms:

How and when the buyer will pay the seller.

Closing Date:

The date by which the transaction is expected to be finalized.


Clauses outlining conditions that must be met before the sale goes through (e.g., securing financing for the buyer, passing an inspection).


Any known defects or issues with the property or item being sold.

Termination Clauses:

Outlines situations under which either party can back out of the agreement, usually with specific conditions.


Both the buyer and seller need to sign the contract.

Commercial Applications of a Purchase and Sale Agreement

Purchase and sale agreements (PSAs) are workhorses in the commercial world, used for various transactions beyond the real estate context. Here are some common commercial examples:

1. Real Estate Transactions

A purchase and sale agreement in commercial real estate outlines the terms for buying and selling properties such as office buildings, retail spaces, industrial properties, and multi-family units. It ensures both parties are clear about the price, contingencies, and other critical terms. Some key terms of the agreement may include property description, purchase price, closing date, due diligence period, and contingencies for financing, zoning, and environmental inspections.

2. Business Acquisitions

A purchase and sale agreement is used when one company acquires another. It outlines the terms and conditions of the sale, including the transfer of assets, liabilities, and stock. This agreement is crucial for ensuring that both parties understand the specifics of the transaction. Some key contract terms may include the identification of assets and liabilities, purchase price and payment terms, closing conditions, representations, and warranties.

3. Mergers

Mergers involve two companies combining into a single entity. The PSA outlines the terms of the merger, the exchange ratio of shares, and the governance structure of the new entity. Some key terms may include the transaction structure (stock purchase, asset purchase, merger), payment terms (cash, stock, or a combination), conditions precedent to closing, representations and warranties, and indemnification provisions.

4. Intellectual Property Transactions

Having a PSA is crucial when selling or transferring intellectual property (IP) rights. It specifies the terms under which IP assets like patents, trademarks, copyrights, and trade secrets are transferred. Key elements of the contract may include a description of the IP being sold, purchase price and payment terms, transfer and assignment details, representations and warranties about ownership and validity, and conditions for post-sale support or transition.

5. Franchise Agreements

For purchasing a franchise, a PSA outlines the terms under which the franchisee acquires the rights to operate under the franchisor's brand. This includes the initial franchise fee, ongoing royalties, and operational guidelines. Key elements of the contract may include a description of the franchise rights being purchased, initial and ongoing fees, terms of operation, territory and exclusivity rights, and training and support provisions.

6. Equipment and Asset Sales

Companies often use PSAs to sell significant equipment or other business assets. This ensures clarity about what is being sold, the condition of the assets, and the agreed price. Key elements of the contract may include a detailed description of the assets, purchase price and payment schedule, inspection and acceptance terms, warranty provisions, and other transfer of ownership details.

7. Vendor and Supplier Agreements

Though purchase and sale agreements aren’t typically involved with vendor and supplier agreements, in cases where companies purchase large quantities of goods or services, a PSA can formalize the transaction. This ensures that both parties are clear about the terms of delivery, payment, and quality expectations. Key elements of the contract may include a description of goods or services, quantity and quality specifications, pricing and payment terms, delivery schedule, inspection, and acceptance terms.

Difference Between a Purchase and Sale Agreement and a Procurement Contract

Both purchase and sale contracts (PSAs) and procurement contracts govern the acquisition of goods or services, but they have some critical differences in focus, scope, and parties involved. 


PSA: This contract focuses on a single, specific transaction. It outlines the buying and selling of a particular item or asset, ensuring clarity on the price, terms, and conditions for completing that specific deal.

Procurement Contract: This contract focuses on establishing a long-term relationship between a buyer (often a company) and a seller (often a supplier or vendor). It sets the framework for ongoing purchases, outlining how goods or services will be acquired over time.


PSA: This agreement is typically simpler and shorter, detailing the specific item, price, and terms for a single transaction.

Procurement Contract: This can be more complex and detailed, addressing broader aspects of the ongoing relationship. This can include pricing structures, quality standards, delivery schedules, payment terms, dispute resolution processes, and even potential performance incentives.

Parties Involved

PSA: Usually involves two parties - the buyer and the seller.

Procurement Contract: If the procurement process is complex, it can involve additional parties, such as subcontractors or logistics providers.


PSA: Is an agreement for buying a piece of machinery, selling large quantities of inventory, or purchasing real estate.

Procurement Contract: Is an agreement with a vendor for ongoing professional services or a contract with a manufacturer for parts needed for your production line.

Managing Your PSAs with a Contract Management Platform

Juggling multiple purchase and sale agreements (PSAs) can be particularly onerous for a business.  Imagine manually tracking deadlines and obligations, managing approvals, and ensuring compliance across various contracts.  This is where a contract management platform comes in. 

These cloud-based systems streamline the entire contract lifecycle. Businesses can store all their agreements in a centralized, secure location. This allows businesses to track key dates and obligations within each PSA proactively. Obligations such as expiring warranties, upcoming inspection deadlines, or specific performance benchmarks can all be flagged by the platform, ensuring timely action and avoiding a potential breach of contract. It also facilitates online collaboration and approval workflows, ensuring everyone is on the same page. Contract management platforms empower businesses to manage their PSAs efficiently, saving time, reducing errors, and mitigating risks.

Today, more than a third of the Fortune 100 companies trust theIcertis Contract Intelligence platform to transform contract management at their organizations. From automated contract creation using standard clause libraries to tracking obligations and compliance to risk assessment, Icertis uses AI to empower you to extract valuable insights from your contracts, reduce errors, and ensure compliance. 

To learn more about how Icertis Contract Intelligence can help you streamline contract management, request a demo today.

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