Is it legal to backdate a real estate contract?

UPDATED: May 27, 2012

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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


Kevin Bessant / Law Office of Kevin Bessant & Associates

Answered 10 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.

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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