Can someone increase the price of a thing after a price has been agreed on?

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Can someone increase the price of a thing after a price has been agreed on?

I am buying a piece of land from my mother. she originally told me the price would be $16,995 for 4 acres. I have paid her $8,800 the land is in my name and my mother’s name. My brother has gotten involved and now my mother has increased the price to $36,995. Is that even legal? Is there anything that I can do?

Asked on July 24, 2019 under Real Estate Law, New Mexico

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 1 year ago | Contributor

If you and she agreed to a price and you started paying it, she cannot increase that price now: by agreeing to a price and you honoring your terms or obligations by paying as agreed, you and she entered into a binding contract. Once a contract is entered into, one side cannot change the terms, including the price, without the consent or agreement of the other side. So she cannot increase the price unless you agree to it, and you can enforce the agreed-upon price and terms by a lawsuit, if necessary. Obviously, it would be earlier to prove those terms and enforce the agreement if it is writing, since with an unwritten (oral) agreement, proving what the two sides agreed to can sometimes be tricky.


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