verbal agreement to purchase my home from family however never followed through. legal claim does he have if any?

Asked by Shannon Vanogle, Galt, CA Tue May 29, 2012

Had all cash buyer offer in writing and went with them and now family member claims he is going to sue me! What legal claim does he have if at all?

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Maria Cipollone’s answer
Maria Cipoll…, Agent, Coral Springs, FL
Sun Oct 28, 2012
You did the right thing. Cash offers in writing are much better that any verbal agreement. Do the family member give you a deposit to make their offer official? If the answer is no. They have no grounds for the law suit that they are planning to do.

Best of Luck,

Maria Cipollone

Century 21 Tenace
1 vote
Bill Eckler, Agent, Venice, FL
Sun Oct 28, 2012
There seems to always be "more to the story." But it is commonly understood that "verbal offers" are not viewed with any legal substance.

It's always wise to seek professional advice when faced with possible legal action. We recommend contacting a real estate attorney for their input.

Good luck,

0 votes
Terry Bell, Agent, Santa Rosa, CA
Sat Oct 27, 2012
Well, you don't specify what grounds he may have to make such threats. It's always unfortunate to end up in such positions with family. While I'm sure if you contact a real estate atty which you should if this goes further, he or she will probably find that a written contract trumps a verbal discussion. You don't say whether you used a realtor or did a sale by owner, but I was going to say, you could've just said to the family member, to "talk to my realtor", and you would be free of the family argument! I hope this helps others. Best, Terry Bell, CPS RE
0 votes
Tim Moore, Agent, Kitty Hawk, NC
Tue May 29, 2012
The family member has nothing in writing, therefor he has nothing at all. Verbal contracts are worth nothing and the written one trumps any verbal. Anyone can sue anyone for any stupid reason but he won't win and I doubt any lawyer will tell them they could. Of course this is not legal advice only common sense advice.
0 votes
CJ Holmes, Agent, Santa Rosa, CA
Tue May 29, 2012
The family member might have had a legal claim IF that person had given you a written offer to purchase the property that you had agreed to in writing, and then instead sold to someone else.

Since there was no written agreement between you and the family member, that member has no legal standing to sue you for anything. The family member is just upset. I find it hard to imagine an attorney agreeing to sue you for damages, if the family member actually contacts an attorney, as there is no proof of any agreement with the family member prior to your sale to someone else.

Best of luck to you. cj
0 votes
Cindy Davis, Agent, San Diego, CA
Tue May 29, 2012
If you have a legal contract with the buyer to sell that person the home, then yes, he does have a claim. Purchase agreements, when signed by both parties, are legal documents with commitments on both sides. If one side fails to execute their commitments, then there is a breach of contract, and that is something that can be sued over.
0 votes
No signed agreement with family member. A lot of promises and no actions until we told them we had to do what was best for our family and take the written offer from a different party whom is moving foward and meeting agreement terms. This family member was taken advantage of us and never submitted an written offer. He is the one that now wants us to back out of the written offer, or he said he will file a lawsuit. How can he?
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