When it comes to real estate, is verbal or text messaging a legal binding contract?

UPDATED: Oct 29, 2012

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When it comes to real estate, is verbal or text messaging a legal binding contract?

These people we know put there house on the market back 2 months ago with a realtor. We told them we would buy their house but they wanted to wait untill there contract was up with the realtor. We have decide not to buy there house we found something else they said they turned offers down for us. We have nothing in writting and there is no contract. Can they sue us sence there nothing legally binding us. I know real estate has to be in writing.

Asked on October 29, 2012 under Real Estate Law, North Carolina


S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

A valid contract requires an offer, an acceptance and consideration.  Consideration here would be the amount you are paying to purchase the property which the other party is selling to you.

Since there wasn't any contract, the other party does not have any case for a potential lawsuit against you.  As you said, nothing was signed and there wasn't any binding contract.  You are correct that a contract for the sale of land  has to be in writing.  If it is not in writing, that is a defense to enforcement of the contract.

Without a binding written contract signed by the parties in this case, there is no basis for a lawsuit against you.  Text messaging without satisfying the elements of a contract is not sufficient.

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