What is an Addendum?

Barbara Bean-Mellinger
Barbara Bean-Mellinger
Real estate contracts often include addendums with special requirements.
Real estate contracts often include addendums with special requirements.

An addendum is an addition to a piece of writing — a document, publication, or book, for example — that modifies, clarifies or adds to a specific part of the original written work. One of the most important aspects of this addition is that it is added before the document is executed. Once added, it becomes part of the original document.

Addendums are often used with legal contracts to add or specify conditions to the contract. Real estate transactions commonly use them to specify financial or home inspection requirements for securing a mortgage. A renter may sign one to the lease agreement if special rules apply to him, such as conditions for allowing him to have a pet. In construction, an addendum may be used during the initial bidding to further clarify what will be provided via the contract.

In some cases, an addendum form is notarized.
In some cases, an addendum form is notarized.

When this addition is added to a contract, it is normally signed in the presence of a witness, just as the original contract is. It may even be notarized in some cases. By signing, the parties involved indicate that they agree to the stipulations as outlined. In other cases, a signature may not be required, as the document is not a contract. In architecture, for example, it might contain drawings that clarify or modify a project. A book may contain an addition that further explains some part of it, such as an appendix.

Some addendums require another signature while others do not.
Some addendums require another signature while others do not.

Sometimes, this item is confused with an amendment, but they are two different types of additions. The primary difference is that an addendum is added before the document is executed, while an amendment is added after. The addendum is agreed upon, signed if it is part of a contract, and presented as part of the original document. An amendment may be added at any time after the original document has been presented, and is usually used to make changes to the original document. Therefore, the two terms have specific proper uses and are not interchangeable.

Discussion Comments

anon294460

n a short sale, an addendum was added before the final acceptance of the offer by the third party (Bank). Is this addendum considered as a part of the original offer? The addendum was not signed by the seller, however, it was never the buyer was never notified in writing whether the addendum was accepted or rejected. In the final acceptance letter from the bank, nothing was mentioned about the addendum.

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    • Real estate contracts often include addendums with special requirements.
      By: Brian Jackson
      Real estate contracts often include addendums with special requirements.
    • In some cases, an addendum form is notarized.
      By: Iurii Sokolov
      In some cases, an addendum form is notarized.
    • Some addendums require another signature while others do not.
      By: robynmac
      Some addendums require another signature while others do not.