Can a realtor be held liableto a verbal agreement?

UPDATED: May 31, 2011

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Can a realtor be held liableto a verbal agreement?

Months ago my husband and I fell in love with a housebut it was already pending a contingency. The seller and the listing agent are related and they informed us that they will be buying a house down the street and that they will give us first right to buy. Months have gone by and we kept good communication with these people and they reassured us that we would have first buyer rights. Finally the house is available for us to buy. We placed an offer and nothing happened. Now the listing agent and buyer are back tracking on their word and we don’t know what to do.

Asked on May 31, 2011 under Real Estate Law, California


M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Unfortunately there may be nothing that you can do.  There is a law known as the Statute of Frauds and it states that certain agreements MUST be in writing in order to be binding. One of those agreements is - as I am sure that you have guessed by now - an agreement to purchase real property.  Verbal agreements are not binding on anyone  - the seller or the buyer.  Did you get anything is writing that could be construed as a contract?  With a price?  An offer?  An acceptance?  If not then you probably have no recourse here.  I would speak with an attorney in your area on a consultation basis.  Good luck. 

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