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This is REAL ESTATE. A handshake IS NOT enough!

Over the weekend, I had an offer come in on one of my listings. My client subsequently countered the offer. The Buyer’s agent advised verbally that the counter was accepted by his client and that he would get the ratified contract over to me right away. That was on Saturday. Sunday morning rolled around and still no contract in my email. I called the agent and did not receive an answer. By lunchtime, the home was being viewed again by another agent and their buyer. I text the agent (who gave me verbal acceptance of the counter) to ask if he had emailed the signed contract and to advise that the home was currently being shown by another real estate agent. His response was, “I will get it to you tomorrow. The Sellers are in agreement, correct”?

My client was indeed in agreement. That being said, had the real estate agent showing the home on Sunday afternoon presented an offer on the home, my duty would have been to submit that offer to my client and if my client chose to accept that offer, they were free to do so. Why?

In South Carolina, contracts for the sale of real property must be in writing to be enforceable. Oral promises are not legally enforceable when it comes to the sale of real estate! There is a serious lack of inventory right now. Do not lose your dream home because the contract wasn’t signed. Know that until all parties have signed off on the agreed upon terms, you do not have an enforceable contract. In real estate, a handshake is NOT enough! See § 32-3-10

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