How to draft a simple contract

Written by renee booker
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A contract in its most basic form is a legally binding agreement between two parties. The subject matter and terms of a contract are almost limitless as long as they are not illegal, impossible to fulfil or entered into by a minor or someone without the mental capacity to contract. Contracts do not have to be in writing; however, enforcement of an oral contract can be difficult. A valid contract must contain three elements: an offer, acceptance and consideration. In addition, a written contract must be signed by both parties and dated.

Skill level:


  1. 1

    Gather the full names and contact information for the parties along with any necessary legal descriptions, if applicable.

  2. 2

    Identify the parties to the contract in the first paragraph as well as the subject matter of the contract. The date should also be included in the first paragraph.

  3. 3

    Explain the terms of the contract in more detail in the succeeding paragraphs. Include precise terms such as a description of any property involved, dates of any payments to be made and amounts written out as words, not numbers.

  4. 4

    Provide a section for default terms and choice of law in the event of a dispute. Although the hope is that there will not be a need to address a breach of the contract, it is best to plan ahead. If specific steps are to be followed in the event of a default, include them in this section. In addition, specify which state law shall apply in the event of a breach.

  5. 5

    Sign and date the contract. You can also choose to sign in front of a notary public or impartial witnesses,.although it is not required to be legal and valid.

Tips and warnings

  • Clearly number the pages to your contract and have each party initial each page.
  • While a contract can be simple, the more specific you make it, the less chance of a dispute down the road.

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