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Verbal offers for real estate in Massachusetts

I read on a real estate blog that it's OK in Massachusetts to have verbal offers and counter-offers to purchase a house. I'm confused by this because I had always understood that contracts for real estate had to be in writing. So is it legal to have verbal offers for a house or other real estate in MA? Thanks.

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I guess we need to distinguish between valid and enforceable.  Buyers and sellers are free to make oral offers and counter-offers in Massachusetts.  There is nothing illegal about it.  However, most agents and sellers do not want to waste a lot of time with verbal offers because, unless the offer is in writing and signed by both parties, it is not enforceable.  The same rule applies to counter-offers.  So, perhaps in the initial stages of a negotiations to purchase real estate, a verbal offer might have some value, perhaps to test the waters and see if the buyer and seller are even in the same ball park.  Beyond, that, a signed writing should be used.  And remember:  Don't sign anything casually.  In Massachusetts a signed offer to purchase is a binding contract.  Good luck with your house hunt.

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