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

UPDATED: Oct 2, 2022

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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


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years 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.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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