When many people think about a contract, they think of a written agreement. Most people believe that all contracts must be in writing to be enforceable. In reality, depending upon the transaction, oral contracts are every bit as enforceable as written contracts. If you are a property owner or looking to acquire property, hiring a talented real estate attorney is crucial to making certain your sale or acquisition of property is handled in a legal and binding manner.
What Is an Oral Contract?
An oral contract is a legitimate agreement, where the terms have been agreed to by a spoken communication between the parties. All of the elements of a written agreement are present in an oral agreement, including an offer, acceptance, and exchange of value.
When Is a Verbal Agreement Binding?
An oral contract is enforceable in many situations, as long as the agreement is provable, meets all conditions of contract formation, and does not violate statutes that prohibit oral agreements. Oral contracts can hold a lot more ambiguity than a written contract. To prove the existence of an oral contract, witnesses to the agreement may need to come forward or an admission from the other party may need to be obtained.
When Is a Verbal Agreement Not Binding?
There are specific situations which require the memorialization of an agreement, including the formation of a living will, transfer of property, and a guarantee of debt. In Ohio, skilled real estate attorneys often point to the Statute of Frauds, meaning certain contracts must be memorialized in signed writing. Specifically, a legal claim of a breach of contract in a real estate transaction will be considered to lack merit if the agreement was never written down in the form of a contract.
When it comes to the sale of real estate, there can be situations with multiple offers and multiple parties where there is a pressure on both sides to make an agreement quickly. However, because an oral contract is never valid or legally binding in real estate, a seller of property can verbally agree to a sale without any legal ramifications.
If you are looking to make a transaction in the real estate market, do not do it alone. An experienced real estate attorney will work on your behalf to make sure that every element of a potential deal is expertly handled. For nearly 40 years, Dennis P. Faller, Attorney at Law, in Auglaize County, OH, has been in the business of protecting his clients. To schedule a consultation with a real estate attorney, call (419) 738-4578, or visit him online to learn more about his practice areas.