In Mass., E-mails Are Binding in Real Estate Transactions

July 30, 2012

E-mails can have power in a home sale, at least in one state. The Supreme Court of Massachusetts ruled that a series of e-mails between the buyer’s and seller’s attorneys created a binding agreement in a real estate transaction. The case, Feldberg v. Coxall, involved an e-mail that included a revised, unsigned offer to purchase two pieces of land from the buyer. The high court ruled that the e-mails created a binding agreement and entitled the buyer to a notice of claim. 

“While many [real estate professionals] and attorneys may assume all e-mailed, non-hard copy communication was informal and non-binding up until now, this has changed the game—at least in one state,” reporter Jessica Huseman with HousingWire reports. 

Richard Vetstein of the Massachusetts Real Estate Law Blog suggests agents add a disclaimer to their e-mails, such as “Emails sent or received shall neither constitute acceptance of conducting transactions via electronic means nor shall create a binding contract in the absence of a fully signed written contract.”

Source: “Massachusetts Email Constitutes Binding Real Estate Agreements,” HousingWire (July 24, 2012)