In its simplest sense, a legally enforceable agreement. Generally, it can be oral or written. However, a contract for the sale of real property (at least in WA) must be written. In addition, it must include a legal description of the property. The local MLS form is entitled “Purchase and Sale Agreement” so that phrase – and the acronym PSA – are also commonly used terms when referring to the contract.
Ironically, the term “real estate contract” means something other than just a contract for the sale of real estate. Rather, it is a longstanding method of seller financing. Under a real estate contract, the seller keeps title while the buyer pays off the purchase price, with interest of course.