A Verbal Agreement is Not Worth the Paper It's Written On

Services for Real Estate Pros with The Law Office of Mark Tucker

There is the old story about men of integrity who did business with just a handshake. That's fine and dandy, but by contrast, why are there so many silly love songs? I guess the point, as obvious as it is, has not been made quite clear yet. Because language is imperfect, and at times is impressionistic, a well-written contact can help avoid misunderstanding, assumptions, gaps in meaning.

I highly recommend the standard forms used by licensed real estate professionals. Each numbered line represents someone else's painful learning curve and will help the current user avoid the pitfalls of miscommunication. As an attorney, this advice may cost me a lucrative opportunity, but I would rather prevent or resolve a problem that merely stir the pot. 

Use the standard forms, they are there for a reason, and if possible, avoid free-handed addendum's. 


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Jon Zolsky, Daytona Beach, FL
Daytona Condo Realty, 386-405-4408 - Daytona Beach, FL
Buy Daytona condos for heavenly good prices

Mark, but standard contracts may not address some specifics, so why avoid addenda? What is wrong with the addenda?

Actually, here in Florida Addenda supercedes certain provisions of the  contract, and when in conflict, the provision in the Addenda governs...

But hey, I am not an attorney

Jan 25, 2011 02:56 PM #1
Karen Monsour
Coldwell Banker Fort Lauderdale Beach - Fort Lauderdale, FL
REALTOR, SSRS - Sells FL Waterfront, Short Sale Expert!

I disagree.  If you have a trustworthy agent - you can do a verbal - read my recent blog...We agreed to an answer last Wednesday at 2pm...just executed the contract today....

As a matter of fact...I have worked with Jon Zolsky and he is another agent that I would trust to do a verbal agreement with.

Jan 25, 2011 02:58 PM #2
Brenda Whitman, Live in Laramie Real Estate
Live in Laramie Real Estate, Laramie, Wyoming - Laramie, WY
Broker/Co-Owner, Laramie, Wyoming

Hi Mark, that's quite an endorsement of the regular forms we all use - which I'm told in Wyoming (and most places) they are drafted by attorney's anyway.  So for us realtors, most of whom don't hold law degrees, it just makes sense!  Rest assured though, we always advise people to consult an attorney with anything they don't understand so hopefully some of that business comes back to you!

Jan 25, 2011 03:01 PM #3
Fred Griffin
Fred Griffin Real Estate - Tallahassee, FL
Licensed Florida Real Estate Broker

Verbal Agreements for the purchase of Real Estate in Florida will not hold up in Court.

And, I deflect to you, Counselor - couldn't a Real Estate Agent potentially face a Civil Suit for failing to put something in writing, if such failure resulted in damage to a Client?

Jan 25, 2011 04:09 PM #4
Toronto, ON

Hi Mark - I sometimes have had verbal agreements with certain clients of mine over the years and have had no problems.  Of course, for real estate transactions, written agreements are required.

Jan 25, 2011 04:24 PM #5
Don Barrett
Integrity Real Estate Services - Idabel, OK

How true that is.  Love the title to your post.  A written offer is the only kind! 

Jan 26, 2011 12:47 PM #6
Sheila Newton Team Anderson & Greenville SC
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices - C. Dan Joyner - Anderson, SC
Selling the Upstate since 1989

LOL.. That is true... I'm glad to hear you support the standard forms.. I have heard a lot of attorneys say that it is better to let them write one up... ( and most of those were NOT real estate attorneys!!)...

Feb 08, 2011 12:35 PM #7
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