If an offer to buy lists the names of 2 people but only 1 person signs it, is it binding?

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If an offer to buy lists the names of 2 people but only 1 person signs it, is it binding?

An offer was made on our home that we are selling. The offer listed 2 married people as the buyers on the front page but only 1 of them signed it. We countered that offer, they countered us, then we accepted. All of their offers and paperwork only had 1 signature. Now they are revoking their offer based on school district preferences. My agent tells me that we are not entitled to the earnest money because both of them did not sign the offer. Was this a legally binding contract with only 1 of their signatures?

Asked on May 10, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Mississippi

Answers:

MD, Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Your question regarding whether the contract was legally binding is a great question. As to the purchase agreement that one of them signed, if I were you I would argue that it is binding on the person who signed unless the agreement clearly states both must sign to be binding or something to the effect that both must sign to continue to closing. Case law and statutory law may differ from state to state on this matter but you should consider what the consideration was from you in this contract to be legally binding. A contract is an offer, acceptance and consideration.  You offered, they accepted. The person's (buyer's) consideration was earnest money (consider it option money to hold the property) and your consideration was not signing an agreement with anyone else. I would say it was binding and if your agent is telling you otherwise, ask him or her to point out if this is a RESPA issue or state law stating you are not entitled to the option money.


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