The Massachusetts Offer To Purchase: Not A Mere Formality

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Many Massachusetts buyers and sellers (and their brokers) are under the misconception that the offer to purchase is merely a formality, and that a binding contract is formed only when the parties sign the more extensive purchase and sale agreement. This is not true. Under established Massachusetts case law, a signed standard form offer to purchase is a binding and enforceable contract to sell real estate even if the offer is subject to the signing of a more comprehensive purchase and sale agreement. So if a seller signs and accepts an offer and later gets a better deal, I wouldn’t advise the seller to attempt to walk away from the original deal. Armed with a signed offer, buyers can sue for specific performance, and record a “lis pendens,” or notice of claim, in the registry of deeds against the property which will effectively prevent its sale until the litigation is resolved.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

© Richard Vetstein | Attorney Advertising

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