Florida Realtors offers a number of contracts for members to use when handling transactions. Of course, as I’ve said before, not all contracts are the same – and knowing which addenda or rider to use with whatever contract is being used in a transaction can make a world full of difference in terms of having a smooth road to closing … or a rather bumpy one.

Here’s the thing: Depending on which contract you’re using in a transaction, care must be taken with regard to the addenda or rider chosen to go with that contract. Why? Many of the addenda or riders refer to specific paragraphs within the main body of the contract. And guess what? Lest you get sick of me saying it, the contracts aren’t the same.

An example? The appraisal rider that goes with the Florida Realtors/Florida Bar (“FR/Bar”) contracts states, in part, that the buyer isn’t waiving any protections granted under paragraph 8(b) of the contract. If this rider is put with the Contract for Residential Sale and Purchase (CRSP) or any contract other than the two FR/Bar contracts it’s designed to go with, paragraph numbers aren’t going to match up.

Paragraph 8(b) of the CRSP (Contract for Residential Sale and Purchase) contract refers to the buyer having a Wood Destroying Organism (WDO) inspection. This WDO paragraph says nothing about an appraisal! If this is how a contract is put together, it says that  the buyer isn’t waiving his right with regards to a WDO inspection – not the FR/Bar contract paragraph 8(b), which is the all-important financing contingency. Talk about confusing …

The good thing is that there are several quick “short cuts,” to help you avoid this issue.

  1. Any contract that has accompanying riders or addenda has a section in the main body of the contract listing those riders/addenda. For example, in the FR/Bar contracts, the list of potential riders that can accompany these contracts is in paragraph 19. There you’ll see all of the riders matched up with an alphabetic letter. A. Condominium Rider, B. Homeowners Assn, C. Seller Financing, etc.

    Clue: if the addenda/rider in your hand doesn’t match the corresponding letter on the contract, chances are you don’t have the right one. A further example of this? The condominium addendum that goes with the CRSP contract is CRSP addendum F (see CRSP contract paragraph 20) and, as stated above, the condominium rider that goes with the FR/Bar contracts is comprehensive rider A. Therefore, if you are using the FR/Bar contract but have addendum F in your hand, you don’t have the comprehensive rider that goes with the FR/Bar contract.
  2. Another trick? Check out the small writing in the lower left-hand corner of the addenda/rider. Compare that to the small writing in the lower left-hand corner of your contract. Does it match? If not, chances are you don’t have the correct one.

    All comprehensive riders that correspond with the FR/Bar contracts state the copyright year and then “Florida Realtors and The Florida Bar” – so if you see your contract says this, but your addendum says “CRSP 15” (or whatever version of the CRSP in existence), then you don’t have the right attachment.
  3. One last possible tactic to use? If you’re using Form Simplicity as your forms platform, you’ll see various columns of information on the screen when you go into the library. The first column is “Title” where you find the name of the form. The second column is “Form” which gives you the form code of the form. The last column is “Type” – this tells you what type of form this is, i.e., miscellaneous form, leases, etc. One of the types of forms is the type of contract. You can see that, in looking at any of the riders or addenda in Form Simplicity, that column will indicate which contract the rider or addenda goes with, either the FR/Bar contract or the Florida Realtors CRSP contract (when referring to the types of residential contracts.)

One last thing to note: There are also addenda that exist in the forms library that can go with more than one contract. Those addenda, however, are not pre-printed in the contract bodies. So this article is specific to using the correct addenda or rider when choosing from the list of potential attachment riders/addenda as laid out in the respective contracts.

As always, if you have any confusion over which rider or addenda to use with a certain contract, you can always reach out to Florida Realtors Legal Hotlineto confirm your options. After all, taking the time at the beginning to get things right can save a lot of headache in the end. Good luck and happy contracting!

Meredith Caruso is Associate General Counsel for Florida Realtors

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