In the real estate world, you see a lot of things, primarily because every transaction presents a different buyer, seller, and all parties involved. The combination creates a different experience each and every time. This is a common question that comes up in a real estate transaction. Does verbal changes, acceptance, or agreements count in the scheme of things?
The short answer is no. A real estate transaction is a legally binding contract, which means that everything should be in writing and initialed and signed off on by all parties involved. For instance, take this scenario:
As a real estate agent; “my buyer clients made an offer on a house listed by another company. The listing agent told me that he had called his seller and that the seller had accepted my clients offer. I never received the written acceptance and I have since found out that the seller entered into a contract with another buyer. My buyer believes that he should get the house because of the verbal acceptance of his offer.” [Source]
A contract for the sale of real estate must be in the form of assigned and written document in order to be enforceable. If acceptance comes through verbal communications between the seller, the listing agent, or the buyer’s agent but never actually in a signed and written offer, the contract is unenforceable.
This can get quite frustrating for buyers and sellers. Sellers may feel that they get verbal agreements to certain contract stipulations and details but if they are never written down and signed or initialed by both buyer and seller, neither party can enforce it. This is why it is crucial to get every bit of communication in writing and signed. Most all of our communication either goes through email, text or in writing. If something is agreed-upon over the phone it needs to be immediately put in writing and signed by all parties.
Sticking with a real estate contract and the legal and right way to do things protects everyone involved including the real estate agents. Real estate agents don’t want to get called out because so and so said something but was never actually written down so no one can hold them to it.
Real estate agents can communicate over the phone or in person about certain details of a transaction but for them to be enforceable and to follow through on the transaction they must be written down and signed. There’s really no way around this.