Is a contract void if Party 2 modifies it after Party 1 signed?

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Is a contract void if Party 2 modifies it after Party 1 signed?

A real estate investor became very irate and belligerent when I told him that I wanted to use my contract. He kept saying he wanted to use his own contract. After some time we agreed to exchange forms to review each others terms. I sent him my contract but he never sent me his. I realized I’d made a mistake and sent him a contract that was created in a Word doc and also had a signature on it. When I realized the error, I emailed him and told him to disregard the Word doc and attached a PDF that was not signed. He responded and said he used the form I’d sent him, that he had signed it and mailed it to the title company. I suspect he changed some of the terms on my contract before he signed it and sent it to the title company. I notified the title company to not move forward with the sale until I see the documentation he mailed in. I also sent them a copy of the contract as it was before he’d signed it and also let them know my suspicions. If it turns out that the contract was modified after I’d signed it, .is the contract valid or void?

Asked on November 4, 2018 under Real Estate Law, Pennsylvania

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

IF he changed the agreement after you sent the signed one to him, that would invalidate the contract and there'd be no agreement: making changes constitutes rejecting the offer (the contract) you sent him and making a counteroffer. (Other than making typographic changes: e.g. if the contract was accidently dated 2008, not 2018, he could correct the date, and since that is clearly correcting a typo not altering the terms, it would not affect the validity.) In that case, you are not bound to it.
If he signed--i.e. accepted--the contract as is, however, the it is valid and enforceable against: you made an offer; he accepted it; that creates a contract.


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