The final date of acceptance is the date on which the contract becomes binding between the parties. It is the date that both buyer and seller have agreed to all terms of the contract and have executed the contract. Four elements must be satisfied for final acceptance to take place:
1. The final contract must be in writing (typically satisfied when negotiations are made using promulgated forms).
2. The buyer and seller must sign the final contract, including the initialing of any handwritten changes to the initially drafted offer, if applicable.
3. Acceptance must be unequivocal.
4. The last party to accept must communicate acceptance back to the other party or the other party's agent, if applicable.
The effective date is the date when the last element (communication back) is made after the other three elements are satisfied. One reason that communicating acceptance back to the other party is mandated is so that the other party will know when the contract performance requirements or periods for performance begin.
Source: Texas Association of REALTORS, published 12/10/12