Contracts 101: Learn These Common Terms

Contracts are legal documents that are frequently used in our personal and professional lives. They are defined as legally enforceable agreements between two or more parties that create mutual obligations. Whether you’re investing in a home improvement project or starting a business, you’re going to encounter a contract.

At Kademenos, Wisehart, Hines, Dolyk & Wright Co. LPA, experienced contracts lawyer Janet Phillips has helped numerous individuals and groups with their contract questions. If you are part of a contract dispute or have a contract-related question, contact us at (419) 625-7770 to speak to attorney Phillips.

Contract Terms You Need to Understand

There are a variety of common terms used in contracts and contract law. By understanding these terms, you can improve your knowledge of contracts and become more aware of what such a document means before you sign it.


A promise to do or not do something in exchange for something else is known as an offer. For instance, you may offer to repair your neighbor’s gutters if they pay you $1,000. Your neighbor can say no and deny this offer, or say yes and tell you to get to work on their gutters.


Consideration in a contract refers to each party providing something of value. In the example above, your consideration is to do something you wouldn’t do otherwise, while your neighbor’s consideration is the $1,000 payment. Consideration may be money, the promise to complete a certain task, or the agreement refrain from doing something.

Mutuality of Obligation

For a contract to be valid, there needs to be a mutual obligation. In our example, you must repair your neighbor’s gutters, and your neighbor must pay you $1,000. For a contract to be valid, both parties need to do or give something up.

Oral Contract

An oral contract is not written down. Therefore, the existence of its terms must be proved by the memory of the parties as well as other evidence. Unfortunately, oral contracts often lead to disputes of who said what, and they can be difficult to enforce.

Written Contract

A written contract is documented and provides certainty and clarity to an agreement. It does not rely on the memories of the parties, and clearly outlines what has been agreed to and what is expected of each party.

Express Contract

In an express contract, the elements of the agreement (offer, acceptance, and consideration) are spelled out. Express contracts typically arise out of formal situations such as buying a house or selling a business.

Implied Contract

An implied contract typically arises out of informal situations. In such an agreement, the terms and conditions are inferred by the actions of the parties involved. It’s typically far easier to enforce an express contract than an implied contract.

Business Contract

A business contract may be a franchise agreement, the sale of goods, purchase order, equipment lease, or a security agreement. It is the foundation of a business transaction and often needs to be negotiated, drafted, reviewed, or disputed by a contracts lawyer.

Employment Contract

This type of document is a signed agreement between an employee and their employer. It establishes the rights of both parties and may be an independent contractor agreement, non-compete agreement, or at-will employment contract.

Real Estate Contract

A contract between parties that establishes sales and other real estate issues is referred to as a real estate contract. It may be a lease agreement, land contract, residential purchase contract, or bill of sale.

Powers of Attorney

Powers of attorney are documents that allow you to appoint an individual or organization to manage your affairs in the event you are unable to do so yourself It can be helpful if you become incapacitated.

Contact a Contracts Lawyer at Our Firm for Help

Contracts can be complicated. For this reason, it’s wise to consult Janet Phillips, a highly skilled contract lawyer at Kademenos, Wisehart, Hines, Dolyk & Wright Co. LPA if you have a question about a certain contract or would like to initiate a dispute. Attorney Phillips can explain your legal options and ensure your rights are protected. Call (419) 625-7770, or reach out online to schedule a free case consultation today.