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Feature Articles: Miscellaneous

Learning for Better Living

Before Signing a Contract

PDF file available in both English and Spanish


Contracts are part of everyday life. Almost anything you buy, sell, borrow, loan, rent, repair or trade involves a contract.

You make a contract when you use a credit card, rent something, buy insurance, or hire someone to paint your house.

A contract is a legal agreement between two or more people. It spells out the terms of the agreement. A contract can be oral or written. But it’s a good idea to put a contract in writing. You do not need to use special forms or legal language to write a contract.

Basic rules:

  • Shop around before you make a decision. Make sure you are getting a good buy or deal.
  • Read the contract carefully. Make sure you understand it well before you sign it. Ask for help if needed.
  • You can make changes in the contract before you sign it. But the other person must agree. Both of you should initial the changes when you sign the contract.
  • Do not rely on spoken promises. Make sure everything is written into the contract.
  • Do not sign any contract until all the blanks are filled in.
  • Make sure to keep a copy of the contract.
  • Don’t rush into signing anything.

Remember:  You’ll have to live with what you sign!  A contract is a legally binding document.




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Last update: Tuesday, May 05, 2009