What does 'Ratified Contract' Mean?

What does 'Ratified Contract' Mean?

Dear Holly,

We have had our house listed for sale and last week we got a contract. We are waiting to hear back about the Home Inspection right now. Every time I speak with my Realtor® she calls our contract a 'Ratified Contract.' What does this mean? What is the difference between a 'Contract' and a 'Ratified Contract?'

Confused in Northern Virginia

Dear Confused,

Like every other field, Real Estate is a discipline that has its own language. All Realtors® know the lingo, but we forget that not every one understands our 'Realtor® Speak.'

What you received last week was an Offer. After discussing the Offer with your Realtor, you most likely Countered (went back to them with YOUR Offer).  This cycle can go back and forth until the two parties reach agreement.  This is how your sales contract ends up with scratched out terms and initials. Each time a party Counters, they are essentially making a brand new Offer. Once the parties have agreed on the terms of the contract, and all changes are initialed and all blanks are initialed and/or signed, you have what is called Ratified Contract--a contract to purchase your home at terms agreeable to all parties.

A Ratified Contract will likely still  have Contingencies...but that is a post that I covered yesterday, 
  What is the big rush to clear the contingencies?

I hope this helps!



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 Momentum Realty

A GREAT Real Estate  experience.

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Comment balloon 13 commentsHolly Weatherwax • April 14 2011 07:10AM


Each group of people have their own language.  We do not speak the same as you would lets say in the military, law enforcement, firefighters, etc.  Interesting on how that plays out.

Posted by James Dray, Exceptional Agents, Outstanding Results (Fathom Realty) almost 9 years ago

Morning Holly.  Here we usually call it an Executed Contract.  And yes they surely can look a mess after repeated scratchings and initialings.  I know that a lot of areas are now using online/electronic signatures and modifications and that certainly cleans things up.  Unfortunately many places still don't recognize the validity of such signatures - they are firmly locked into the past.

Posted by Vance Booher (Re/Max Select, SRES) almost 9 years ago

Don't know anyone in Texas that uses the term "ratified".  Most agents here say we have an executed contract which is not really executed until all the terms and conditions have been met.

Posted by Richard Weeks, REALTOR®, Broker almost 9 years ago

As we all know, Real Estate is LOCAL. Not only are market condtions local, but 'Real Estate Speak' is too!

Posted by Holly Weatherwax, A Great Real Estate Experience ( Associate Broker, Momentum Realty) almost 9 years ago

I love this series Holly. Keep it up. Expect to see them re-blogged on my blog very soon :)

Posted by Ellie McIntire, Luxury service in Howard County & Catonsville (Ellicott City Clarksville Howard County Maryland Real Estate) almost 9 years ago

Hi Holly,

So a RATified contract has nothing at all to do with rats?

I thought maybe after the inspection, a pest report was ordered, the rats were all removed and the contract was RATified!



Posted by Phil Leng, Phil Leng - Retired (Retired) almost 9 years ago

Love the "Dear Confused" series Holly. Keep 'em coming. They're just the right information/ answers the public needs!

Posted by Craig Rutman, Raleigh, Cary, Apex area Realtor (Helping people in transition) almost 9 years ago

Nice post.  I have been meaning to do a series on basic real estate terms.  Thanks for the prompt.

Posted by Gene Riemenschneider, Turning Houses into Homes (Home Point Real Estate) almost 9 years ago

Holly, you are so right.  Like many professions, we have our own language.  And our clients are not always bilingual!

Posted by Patricia Kennedy, Home in the Capital (RLAH Real Estate) almost 9 years ago


Hey, Holly!

I included this post in today's Last Week's Favorites! 



Posted by Patricia Kennedy, Home in the Capital (RLAH Real Estate) almost 9 years ago


A short, simple and easy explanation. We tend to call them executed contracts here. Our Offer to Purchase further states that a bindng contract is formed when a signed copy of the seller(s) acceptance is received by the buyer or the buyer's authorized agent.


Posted by Jeff Dowler, CRS, The Southern California Relocation Dude (eXp Realty of California) almost 9 years ago

Easy explaination for clients.  hanks, Holly!

Posted by Linda K. Mayer, Realtor, SRES, SoCAL, A REALTOR YOU CAN TRUST (License # 01767321) almost 9 years ago

What is copy of ratified sales contract with all addendums?

Posted by Darryl Bagley over 3 years ago

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