Jim is correct. In the state of Texas in order for a contract to be considered valid, there has to be "consideration given." As Jim stated, this could be as little as $1 if the parties agreed. As far as an option period, it also states that there has to be consideration given, so once again as little as $1.
I doubt you will find someone willing to do this, however. In Texas Real Estate, the customary earnest money is 1% of the contract price. (If your offer is 100k, then the customary earnest money deposit is 1%, or $1,000). It is important to note that when the contract goes to closing, earnest money is considered a part of your down payment, so it is not lost.
The reasoning behind this is to show that you are a serious buyer. If you were to back out of the contract for a reason that was not explicitly stated in the contract, then you forfeit that money as consideration for the seller's time and marketability of the home. If you only put up $1 or even $100 on a $100k home, then what makes a seller think that you are serious about buying their home? In addition to this, it will make the seller think "If this person doesn't have $1000 to put down as earnest money, do they really have enough for the down payment? Can they really afford this home? Is it worth my time to take my home off the market to deal with this contract if they aren't serious enough to put up 1%?"
There are always exceptions to the norm though, and that would be something to discuss with your real estate agent.
Because it's more than real estate. It's RAYL-Estate!
Brian Rayl, REALTORÂ®, e-PRO
Keller Williams Elite - Dallas Park Cities