All contracts require several pieces to be considered binding, but in your typical contract you will see a price, financing terms (deposit, mortgage amounts, down payment, rate and amortization), inspection dates and closing dates. There are also numerous Standard Provisions that cover a host of other aspects in the contract including the pest, well and septic inspections (when required) and title conditions (to name a few).
In addition, the expiration date for a contract is another important part of any contract and something that can be used as a strategy.
At the end of the day, a contract can be written in a manner that benefits the buyer or a way that benefits the seller. A good agent understands how to use language to shift the risk away from the party that they represent and onto the other side.