When I bought my first home I had to sign what seemed like two or three forests worth of trees. Why? It seemed like such a waste of paper. I want the house, you want to sell the house, can’t we just write something up and I’ll sign it?
I recently received this e-mail from a real estate attorney that explains the reason for all the paperwork. It might just make you feel a little better about all those trees.
WHEN IT COMES TO BUYING OR SELLING A PROPERTY…ALWAYS PUT IT IN WRITING
In this era of “going green”, is it really necessary to waste so much paper (mortgage, note, agreement of sale, addendum s, etc.) just to document the sale of one single house? Unfortunately, the answer is yes..and we have the old English Parliament to blame for passing “An Act For Prevention of Frauds And Perjuries” in 1677.
More commonly known as the Statute of Frauds in most jurisdictions today, this law requires that certain types of contracts, including a contract for the sale of an interest in land (real estate) be placed in writing and signed by the parties.
Not only must the contract be in writing, but must typically contain the material terms of the agreement such as a description of the property, purchase price, method of payment, and settlement date. While there are a few scenarios that allow for the transfer of an interest in real estate to fall outside of the Statute of Frauds, most transactions must be properly documented in writing.
It is also a very necessary practice so that there is evidence of all aspects of the sale to which the parties agreed. Imagine if a seller verbally agreed to include a refrigerator, window treatments and ceiling fans in the sale of his home, but never placed this in the written contract. If the seller actually removed these items from the home, it would be much more difficult for the buyer to prove that they were part of the sale (and the bargained for sale price) if he had to engage in a battle of “he said, she said” with the seller.
Joshua M. Marks, Esq.
Real Estate Law | Business Law
JM LAW GROUP, LLC