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Understanding Offer and Acceptance in Land Sales

New conditions in an acceptance of sale terms can invalidate the acceptance.

Background. An individual (the "defendant") who owned property adjacent to a church sent the church a letter indicating that the property was for sale. The letter provided that the property was offered for "$825,000 cash/mortgage, 'as is', with no conditions, no contingencies related to zoning and 120 days post closing occupancy for the present tenants." This offer was dated June 3, and stated that it would remain open for a two-week period. The defendant also offered the property for sale to another potential buyer (White Chapel) at the same time. The next day (June 4) the church sent the defendant a letter indicating that it accepted the "terms of the offer" set forth in the letter. This letter included a "purchase agreement" that added some additional terms to the transaction.

On June 10 White Chapel sent the defendant a letter offering to buy the property for $900,000 cash. A few days ...

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Richard R. Hammar is an attorney, CPA and author specializing in legal and tax issues for churches and clergy.

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Posted:
  • July 1, 2006

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