Can an intoxicated person enter into a contract?

Real Estate Agent with United Country Ponderosa Realty, Red Feather Lakes, Colorado

Can an intoxicated person enter into a contract? Of course they can, HOWEVER they can also pick a fight with their best friend, forget where their car is, wake up on the bathroom floor, or order $1,000 worth of Tupperware….

A good number of unpleasant situations and stupid decisions can happen under the influence!



So, should an intoxicated person enter into a legally binding real estate contract? And is it really legally binding?

I’ve read (and I am not an attorney) that the contract could be voidable if one party knows that the other party is incapacitated, or if one party is, or I would say could even ‘appear to be’, taking advantage of the intoxicated person.   Why risk it??!!

Occasionally, we meet customers that have been drinking beer, camping, fishing and enjoying their day in the mountains, who come into our office and ask to see property. These folks are just having a good time- they are not unruly.  But, as a real estate agent, if I smell alcohol, I have to assume that any offer they may want to write could be voidable.

I met such a fellow in my office the other day who had been having “a really fun time” and wanted to write an offer.  I explained I would need proof of funds or a lender letter to submit with the offer, and he said he could get that for me the next day when he got home.  We agreed that once I received that, I would prepare the offer and send it to him for his electronic signature.


The next day came and went....


I tried several times to reach him but he didn’t respond.  Given the extra time to think it over, (sober up?)  I can only guess that he must have decided that what he thought he wanted to do wasn’t really what he wanted at all.

I do my best to help everyone who walks in our office and I would never take advantage of anyone. 

In this fast-paced market it is not always wise to wait to make an offer; but in this specific instance it’s for everyone’s benefit to “sleep on it”....

...because some things that sound like a great idea when drinking, might not seem like the right choice in the light of a new day!



“… With great alcohol comes great irresponsibility.”
― Mokokoma Mokhonoana

“The sacred pint alone can unbind the tongue...”
― James Joyce, Ulysses

“It takes only one drink to get me drunk. The trouble is, I can't remember if it's the thirteenth or the fourteenth.”  George Burns


Mary Douglas, your Mountain Broker-Associate and REALTOR®

United Country Ponderosa Realty, Red Feather Lakes, CO

970-231-5756 phone or text- email:

I specialize in the Red Feather Lakes and Livermore area, Fox Acres, Crystal Lakes and Glacier View Meadows Subdivisions, when you want to buy or sell your mountain home, call me!

The information contained in Mary’s blog is deemed reliable but is not guaranteed and the opinions and views expressed in these articles are solely those of the author.

I write about my area in Colorado; Law, Custom & Procedure vary from State to State and even within the State.


REAL ESTATE IS LOCAL.  Always consult with your LOCAL Real Estate Professional.


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Comments (8)

Elizabeth Weintraub Sacramento Broker
Elizabeth Anne Weintraub, Broker - Sacramento, CA
Put 40 years of experience to work for you

I have a client who called me a few days ago about selling his house. When he bought that house, he did so in the rain. Pouring rain. I met him in the park and held an umbrella over the paperwork on the hood of my car so he could sign. His other hand was busy drinking a beer and then toking intermittently on a joint.

Sure made me wonder whether he would remember buying this house, LOL.

Jul 31, 2018 03:57 PM
Mary Douglas
United Country Ponderosa Realty, Red Feather Lakes, Colorado - Red Feather Lakes, CO
REALTOR, Red Feather Lakes, Colorado

Elizabeth Weintraub Sacramento Real Estate Agent, Top 1% of Lyon Agents , I would wonder too...but it sounds like he did remember and didn't change his mind either.  Seriously though, the joint puts your story over the top. :-)

Jul 31, 2018 04:32 PM
Sharon Lee
Sharon Lee's Virtual Assistance - Jonesborough, TN
Retired and loving life



Mary It takes all kinds of people.  I can't imagine signing any kind of contract while drinking. Of course in my case I don't drink so not an issue for me. Crazy considering the cost of the investment of a house. 





Jul 31, 2018 06:07 PM
Mary Douglas

Sharon Lee -it does take all kinds of people that's for sure! I remember going to Tupperware parties many years ago, and they wouldn't let us drink any alcohol (until the end) ...I guess for the same reason!?

Jul 31, 2018 07:18 PM
William Feela
Realtor, Whispering Pines Realty 651-674-5999 No.

I have seen this before and even had a client  want to write up an offer after he had been dfrinking.

I would not do it and waited until the next day.

Jul 31, 2018 07:19 PM
Mary Douglas
United Country Ponderosa Realty, Red Feather Lakes, Colorado - Red Feather Lakes, CO
REALTOR, Red Feather Lakes, Colorado

Thanks William Feela , its a tough call,  but I think it's the safest one!

Aug 01, 2018 07:42 AM
Joan Cox
House to Home, Inc. - Denver Real Estate - 720-231-6373 - Denver, CO
Denver Real Estate - Selling One Home at a Time

Mary, I can imagine you would run into this situtation with those on vacation or just out having fun.   I had a client taking serious pain medication for back issues the day of closing, and had to ask many questions to ensure he was good to understand the closing and sign.

Aug 02, 2018 06:36 AM
Mary Douglas

Thanks Joan,  Good call!  As a Notary,  if I'm not sure of a person's "capacity", I have to ask many questions too- just to be sure they understand what they are signing. :-)

Aug 02, 2018 10:05 AM