After Last weeks post, “What Happens Now?” I received a lot of questions about what exactly an accepted offer is. Here goes:
An accepted offer is defined as a verbal agreement between a buyer and a seller whereby a property owned by the seller will be purchased by the buyer for the agreed on price and terms.
Admittedly, Atticus Finch I’m not; but you do get the general idea: two people are agreeing to go forward with a transaction. It’s very important to note that this is almost always a handshake agreement. Further, it’s an agreement that either party can walk away from -anytime, for any reason. Buyer’s walk away when they get buyer’s remorse (and Oh Boy, do I need to write a post about that), find another property they like better, get divorced, lose their job, etc. Sellers walk away too -often because they have received a better offer. Point is, that no one is legally bound to sell or buy a property until both parties sign a written contract (and usually after a little bit of good-faith moolah, is handed over by the buyer). This is because, in New York State, there is a law called the Statute of Frauds and it essentially states that certain contracts (i.e. agreements) must be in writing in order for them to be enforced. In New York State, a Real Estate Contract of Sale, also know as a Purchase Agreement, happens to fall under the Statute of Frauds.
(Please Note: I’m not suggesting that you behave like a real estate monster. It is impolite to willy-nilly present or accept offers just because you can. Let me stress, beg, plead, implore, and appeal to your sense of decency by asking you not to verbally commit to a transaction unless you mean it. Besides the business reasons, you shouldn’t do it because it’s downright dishonest. )
Next week, I’ll write about how best to get yourself from Accepted Offer to Contract. Thanks for reading, Jim.