We all use texting and email to counter, but that can come with some risks.

Countering a contract in an email is an important topic because you can get yourself into hot water if you mess it up. I’ve screwed it up before myself, and I even had to call an attorney to help me handle it. That’s why I want to share what I’ve learned throughout my career.

“You need to protect yourself when you’re countering in an email.”

We all use texting and email in a lot of our countering today, but that can cause issues. Emails can be used in court and misconstrued as a binding contract. We’ve all been told that it’s not a contract until all parties have signed, but you don’t want it to ever come down to a 50/50 court decision. So here are a few ways you can protect yourself:

  • Use the invitation to resubmit. When countering in an email, you can always use the invitation to resubmit by writing out the more favorable terms and having your seller sign it. We know that this is the best practice, but if you’re dealing with a bunch of offers or need to respond quickly, you won’t always use the form.
  • Use a disclosure. If you put a disclosure in the body of your email saying that it isn’t a binding contract, you should be a little safer. Here’s an example:

“Emails sent or received neither constitute acceptance of conducting business via electronic means nor create a binding contract unless a written contract is signed by all parties.” 

  • Avoid certain phrases. Saying things like, “We have a deal,” “Seller accepts,” or “We’ve got a contract” is a bad idea. Don’t use this sort of language until all parties have signed.

If you have any questions about these tips, feel free to call or email us. We’d love to chat.