Chapter 13 The Purchase Contract Overview of Contracts Offer Additional Rules for Real Estate Contracts 1. Statute of Frauds 2. Description of Property No Yes Acceptance No No Contract Yes Consideration No Yes Undue Influence Defenses Yes Illegality? Misrepresentation? Fraud? Duress? Capacity No Writing Required? Valid Contract Mistake? Void or Voidable Contract Important clauses in real estate contracts 3 Financing arrangements/contingencies Apportionments Risk of Loss Closing date and escrow Environmental contingency Marketable title Present Intent to Contract Mary: “Ed, if you wanted to sell your house, what would you ask for it?” Ed: “I suppose $400,000 dollars would be a fair price.” Mary: “I’ll take it, if you will have the floors refinished.” Ed: “Sold.” Consider 13.1, p. 318. An Offer? I am very much interested in your lot, zoned C-2, which is located at the south-eastern corner of Gilbert and Southern Roads. If the price is $475,000 or less, I can pay cash. I will need it for construction by 6/1/13. Present Intent to Contract • • • • Example - Do the parties have a contract? January 4 Letter. I am interested in buying that lot you showed me last Saturday. You talked about $40,000 as a price. That sounds good to me. Let’s meet Wednesday at Frisco Kid’s to iron out the details. Offer? January 4 Reply (via fax). $40,000 is the price. Cash only. I’ll see you Wednesday at 5:30. Acceptance? Offer? Property Sold to Another. Before the meeting another buyer paid $40,000 cash. Lawsuit Over Who Bought Property. End-of-Chapter Q: 6, p. 356 6 Three writings – Appointment of Agent. The appointment contained details on the sale, including price, tax payments, commission and title. – Downpayment Check. Signed by buyer “for down payment on Mattushek land.” – Agent Drafted Offer. “I hereby agree to buy the Mattushek place in accordance with the terms in the agreement between [the appointment of agent agreement referenced above]. Issue – Appointment writing only signed by one party, the seller, does that matter? Options – How Are They Different? 1. Paid-for offers 2. Consideration required 3. Irrevocable Board of Control of Eastern Michigan University v. Burgess (#X) 206 NW2d 256 (Mich 1973) 8 Burgess signed a 60 day option to sell his home to Eastern Michigan University. The document drafted by Burgess stated receipt of “one and no/100 dollar ($1,00) and other valuable consideration” $1 never paid. Option with consideration must remain open – otherwise it’s an offer that can be revoked at any time. Dispute as to whether offer revoked or not. Seller said she called and revoked the offer shortly after signing it, buyer says she never revoked offer. Consider 13.2 p. 321: Does an options contract remain open after revoked 9 Option to Buy Farm Negotiations to Buy/Sell Farm. A entered into negotiations with B to buy B’s farm. Option for 9 Months. B decided a selling price of $750,000 was fair and agreed in exchange for $1,000 he would keep that price open for nine months. Option Cancelled? After 6 months, A wrote B that A was no longer interested. New Offer for $950,000. Within days B wrote A that a new buyer C was now interested in the farm for $950,000. B told A that he would still sell to A if A raised the price to $875,000 and closed within 10 days. A Bought Farm for $875,000 Then Sued for $125,000. A bought the farm and then sued to recover the difference in the purchase price from the options price. Trengen v. Mongeon (#6) 206 NW2d 284 (ND 1973) Adequacy of Consideration Consideration – farm “sold” to son and daughter in law for $38,400 plus $1,800 per year for the rest of the seller’s lives. Sister/Guardian Contested Sale. Adequate Consideration? Will Leaves Son Nothing. Daughter/Guardian of Mom and Dad – Contests Contract Dad and Mom $38,400 plus $1,800/year Mom and Dad’s Farm Son and Daughterin-Law 10 Consider 13.3 p. 322 Adequate Consideration Parol Evidence Rule 11 Father to Son Option on Land. Contract: “[i]n consideration for the mutual promises made in this agreement.” Parol Evidence. Mutual promises included son’s agreement to stay in the area – the other son had left the area. Son Exercises Option/Other Son Sues. Not a valid offer/option because on consideration. Treatment of Unexpired Options Rejected by Offeree Offer ends Offer ends if offeror refunds option payment Offer ends if offeror pro-rates and refunds portion of option according to time used Offer ends if option agreement provides Offer continues until expiration of option period Consider 13.4 p. 323: Whether a ceiling fan results in a failed contract Original Hunter Ceiling Fan 13 Sellers Did Not Want to Sell Ceiling Fan With House. They told the agent they did not want to sell the original Hunter ceiling fan in the home and the agent told them to take it down and replace it. The sellers agreed to do so the next Saturday. On Friday the “for sale” sign went up and a different agent showed some buyers the home and they bought it. Seller Signed Contingent on Fan. The sellers accepted all terms but put above their signature: “Ceiling fan in family room is not included.” What happens? Termination of Offer Rejection* Counteroffer* - Common law - mirror image rule Revocation* Death of offeror Bankruptcy Illegality End-of-Chapter Q2, p. 354 Inspection Reveals Defects • *Effective Contractupon Signed with Handwritten Addendum. receipt “Closing is subject to buyer’s inspection of property by him and his designated specialist and complete satisfaction of specialist with property condition.” • Inspection Reveals Problems. The roof would need to be replaced in a few years. Some wood needed to be replaced. The buyer demanded that these items be fixed. The seller said the clause allows the buyer out of the contract – not the right to have the problems fixed. Acceptance - Common Law 1. Must be absolute, unconditional and unequivocal for common law 2. Mirror image rule is a zero tolerance rule 3. Must be by the party with the power of acceptance 4. Must be communicated to the offeror Acceptance - Conditional Misnomer: This is not acceptance “I accept provided that…” “I accept on the condition that…” “I accept if…” “I accept if and only if…” “I accept but I must…” Counteroffer and rejection Case Discussion • • • 17 Consider 13.5, p. 324: How to accept contracts – fax? Oil and Gas Application. Gilmore filed an oil and gas application. His application was accepted and he received a letter stating: All Copies of the lease form must be properly executed and filed in this office within thirty (30) days from your receipt of this decision, which constitutes a compliance period. Failure to do so will result in the rejection of your offer without further notice. The Bureau of Land Management said it had to be a holographic copy. Sent Executed Copies Via Certified Mail. Gilmore sent signed copies via certified mail. However, the mail did not arrive in time. The mail arrived after 8 days – one day late. Sent Fax Copy that Arrived in Time. He then tried to get a flight and could not. He offered to send a fax and they said no. He sent a fax to an attorney who hand delivered the forms in time. Anzalaco v. Graber Inspection Clause/Secondary Offer 18 Seller (Graber) to sell home to buyer (Lee). Subject to Inspection – (a) remove inspection contingency – (b) Accept subject to seller agreeing to have defects…fixed…must agree within three days of seller’s receipt of buyer’s request or contract is null and void – (c) terminate the agreement Buyer choice B, but seller refused to fixed anything. Buyer then changed to choice A (within timeframe for having the inspection completed). Seller found new buyer and entered into secondary offer. New buyer sued for specific performance Issues: Can a buyer switch choices from having defects fixed to removing the contingency? Is the new buyer entitled to specific performance even though seller could not deliver good title because Lee refused to sign a release from Lee’s offer. Case Discussion Consider 13.6, p. 328: Timing of acceptances. • • • • 19 Cynthia has listed her home. She gets two offers: (1) for $283,000 and (2) for $284,000. She responds to both she will sell for $285,000 – “This is good until March 4, 2010, 6 PM” Buyer A Accepts. Suppose Buyer A accepts on March 3, 2010 and communicates the offer at 7 pm. Cynthia then contacts Buyer B and says I revoke my offer. Buyer A Accepts and So Does Buyer B. Suppose that before Cynthia contacts B, B contact Cynthia and accepts at 2:15 pm (written form signed). Buyer B Paid for Option. Suppose that B paid Cynthia $500 to hold the offer open until March 4, 2010 at 6 pm? Dhillon v Zions First National Bank Statute of Frauds 20 Negotiation Agreement. In the agreement the parties agreed that email communications count as oral and not written communication. Parties Strike a Deal on Email. Bank Sends Agreement – Not Signed. Buyer paid a $75,000 deposit per email instructions. Buyer Signs. Bank refuses. Do they have a deal? S Development v. Pima Capital Partners (#X) 31 P3d 123 (AZ App 2002), p. 343 21 AS IS. Two apartment buildings sold “as is.” Buyer had an inspector inspect the buildings but did not find anything. Patent/Latent Defect. The water pipes used were made from poly-butylene which would leak under normal pressure with warm water. Seller Refused Inspection To Damage Buildings. The water pipe was buried 6 inches into the walls. All the water pipe that was visible was copper. poly-butylene water pipe ARC Constr. v. Zelenak Implied Warranty of Habitability 22 New Home Purchase. Zelenaks purchased a new home from ARC. Defects. Windows and doors were not installed correctly causing leaking. The leaking caused mold and medical problems for the Zelenaks’ 8 year old asthmatic son. Sued for Implied Warranty of Habitability – Applies to First Owner. – Subsequent Owners Only for Latent Defects. Home Foreclosed – Zelenaks Lost Home. Standing Issue: Can Zelenaks sue when no longer own the home? Liquidated Damages • • • • • 23 Consider 13.13, p. 351: liquidated damages. Liquidated Damages Law. • Reasonable estimate of actual damages • Actual damages hard to estimate Agreement to Purchase Land. Agreement to buy 18 lots over 12 months. Liquidated Damages Clause. “If the buyer shall fail to fulfill the buyer’s agreements herein, all deposits made hereunder by the buyer shall be retained by the seller as liquidated damages and this shall be the seller’s sole remedy at law and equity.” Buyer Failed to Buy Remaining Properties. Seller kept $50,000 down payment as liquidated damages. Seller Sold Lots for More. Is it a penalty because seller was ultimately able to sell the lots for more? • • • 24 Consider 13.14, p. 351: Square Footage As Material Contract Provided: “…ANY REFERENCE TO THE SQUARE FOOTAGE OF THE PREMISES …IS APPROXIMATE..IF MATERIAL TO THE BUYER, IT MUST BE VERIFIED DURING THE INSPECTION PERIOD.” Sold as 3,792 – Actual 3,605. Issue: Contract Breach? Statute of Frauds Land Options Contracts Leases Mortgages Exception: partial performance, possession, and/or improvements and payment Partial Performance Exception to Statute of Frauds That valuable improvements have been made to the property; or That there has been full or partial payment of the purchase price and that the party who has paid money has possession of the property. Statue of Frauds/Part Performance Statute of Frauds question. • • • • 27 Oral Contract. Hancock Construction claimed it had an oral contract to purchase property. Reliance. Hancock had engineering studies done based on the oral contract and arranged to obtain a loan. Seller Refused to Sell Action for Specific Performance. Financing Contingencies Condition Precedent Consider 13.8, p. 336: Financing Contingency • • • • 28 Highlands Agrees to Buy Land Subject to Financing of $750,000. Highlands Secures Financing With Second Mortgage. Highland could not get a bank to finance the full $750,000 but was able to get two banks to do so with a first and second mortgage. Seller Refused Sale Stating Financing Contingency Not Met. Why Is Financing Clause In Agreement? Protect buyer or seller? Other common condition precedents? 29 Environmental assessments More? Perroncello v. Donahue (#X) 859 NE2d 827 (Mass 2007), p. 344 30 Contract to Purchase Property. Signed a contract to purchase a property for $2,250,000. Liquidated Damages Clause. “If the buyer shall fail to fulfill the buyer’s agreements herein, all deposits made hereunder by the buyer shall be retained by the seller and shall be seller’s sole remedy at law or equity.” $150,000 Deposit. The buyer paid a $150,000 deposit. Buyer Missed Closing Date for Lack of Financing. The buyer missed the date for the expiration of the contract but was able to closed three weeks later. Seller Tried to Sell Property To Another. Seller put a new “for sale” sign on the property and kept the $150,000 Buyer Lawsuit. Buyer sued for the $150,000 and specific performance. Seller Response. Also sought specific performance but still wanted to keep the $150,000. Court Held: Can either keep the $150,000 or seek specific performance – not both. Consider 13.15, Haunted house Consider 13.11 p. 344: Problem with Golf balls hitting roof. Required to disclose? Reed v. King (#X) 193 Cal Rptr 130 (1983), p. 353 Multiple murders committed at house – must that be disclosed? Answer depends on whether “material” and whether material depends on whether it materially impacts the value of the house. Noisy neighbors – cause house to shake. 31 Innocent Misrepresentation Basis of the bargain Fact or promise Rescission is the only available remedy Proof Requirements for Misrepresentation 1. A statement of material fact has been made or omitted The type of information involved would affect the buying decision. 2. There is reliance on the statement of fact The buyer uses the fact in making the decision of whether to buy (see earlier discussion under “AS IS” clauses for disclosures about patent and latent defects). 3. There is detriment The buyer suffers through loss of property value or cost of repair. • • • • • • • • • Consider 13.12, p. 348: Fraud hypotheticals. The test scores for this area’s public schools are the highest in the state. This roof has a 30-year warranty. This well could never run dry. That easement is not recorded, but it’s valid. This property was certified in 2006 as termite free. The crime rate is very low here. The city has no plans for a stadium next to this house. The value on this house just keeps going up. Basements in this area don’t leak. Home Warranties 34 Implied Warranty of Habitability (statute based) Purchased Home Warranty Disclaim Implied Warranty?