Is it legal to backdate a real estate contract?

I’m being coerced into signing an agreement that I believe is fraudulent. The real estate contract has been backdated a full year. I’m being told that I will be in breach of contract due to the phrase “time is of the essence” is written in the contract. I have been given no opportunity to have a lawyer look over this contract and am being threatened with eviction should I not comply.

Asked on May 27, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Illinois

Answers:

Kevin Bessant / Law Office of Kevin Bessant & Associates

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

If you feel you are being pressured or coerced to sign any legally binding document or contract, then DO NOT DO IT because it may be difficult to claim duress or coercion later on if there is a breach of contract on your part. Real Estate Contracts are typically governed by the Statue of Frauds which require that the contract be in writing, and attest to the true and factual nature of the particular real estate transaction. A backdated contract is typically not binding unless the contract specifically states the agreement is retro to a previous date, however the date you sign a contract should always be the actual day and date at the time you sign it. The phrase "time is of the essence" in a real estate contract usually means that both parties have a certain period to meet certain conditions (i.e. 10 days to complete a home inspection) before the contract itself is voided. This phrase is not intended to pressure, threaten, or coerce you into signing. If you feel uncomfortable, request time to have a contract attorney review it before you sign or attest to the contract.


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