Monthly Archives: June 2014

Is my Offer To Purchase Legally Binding?

The first step in purchasing or selling residential real estate is the acceptance of an Offer To Purchase. Most often, the real estate broker prepares the offer on a pre-printed standard form offer and presents it to the seller for review and acceptance. Attorneys are not typically involved in the offer stage but given the amount of recent litigation over offers to purchase, it’s never a bad idea to consult an attorney even at the earliest stages of the home buying process.

offer-to-pur3Many buyers and sellers (and their brokers) are under the misconception that the offer to purchase is merely a formality, and that a binding contract is formed only when the parties sign the more extensive purchase and sale agreement. This is not true. Under established Massachusetts case law, a signed standard form offer to purchase is a binding and enforceable contract to sell real estate even if the offer is subject to the signing of a more comprehensive purchase and sale agreement. So if a seller signs and accepts an offer and later gets a better deal, I wouldn’t advise the seller to attempt to walk away from the original deal. Armed with a signed offer, buyers can sue for specific performance, and record a lis pendens, or notice of claim, in the registry of deeds against the property which will effectively prevent its sale until the litigation is resolved.

Limit your liability and make your real estate transaction a smooth one by calling Fitzgerald Law Offices. 781-924-5326.