Does the lack of one party’s initials on a contract invalidate it?

UPDATED: Jul 26, 2011

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Does the lack of one party’s initials on a contract invalidate it?

I made some changes to a listing agreement. I signed the agreement and initialed the changes, but the broker did not initial the changes. He only signed the agreement. I want to be released from the contract because I feel that it is not a valid contract. Beside, the broker is not complying with the items I initialed.

Asked on July 26, 2011 New Jersey


FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

If there were specific parts to the listing agreement requiring initials in addition to signatures and you signed the agreement, initialed where indicated and the real estate agent did not initial those specific provisions but signed the agreement, potentially only the portions not initialed by the real estate agent may not be binding but the balance of the contract would be enforceable. It all depends upon what was not initialed by both parties.

If you are having problems with the real estate agent at this time, perhaps he or she will simply agree to cancel the listing agreement. If not, you could make a complaint with the county real estate association about the agent and the listing agreement that he/she refuses to initial where you placed your initials.

If the agent will not initial provisions that you initialed, has there been a reason why he or she will not? Most agreements I see require initials of all parties and their signatures on the document intended to be the final expression of their agreement.

You might also consult with a real estate attorney about this problem.

Good luck.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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