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Are Verbal Offers Enforceable?

When you decide to buy a property, your REALTOR® will prepare what is known as an Offer to Purchase. The standard form used for this is called the Contract of Purchase and Sale. Once accepted by the parties it becomes the contract between the buyer and seller.  It contains the date of your offer, the description of the property you are making the offer on, the amount of your deposit, the amount you are offering (based on data provided by your REALTOR®), the amount you intend as your down payment and financing details, as well as your name and address and the name and address of the owner of the property you want to buy, subject-to clauses, closing dates, and any special requirements you want to impose on sellers (for example, you want the kitchen appliances).

What happens very often is that when a written offer is presented and the selling party decides to counter offer they do it in writing but consequent negotiating happens verbally - which is okay.  Just remember that while any verbal communication about offers, counter-offers and acceptance of offers can be useful to the parties, in British Columbia a contract dealing with land is not enforceable against the parties unless it has been made in writing and properly signed by all parties to the contract. If you do not have a written contract, agreed to by all the parties, then you do not have an enforceable real estate contract. So if you choose to negotiate the contract verbally, then make sure you get all the changes recorded on the contract and get all parties to sign and initial as fast as you can after the final acceptance.
 
Kind Regards,
Tibor Bogdan
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