Austin TX Real Estate - Hill Country Austin Lakeway Homes for Sale: Does the Texas Real Estate Contract Void if an Amendment is Attempted?

Does the Texas Real Estate Contract Void if an Amendment is Attempted?

I often receive emails from people asking me questions about their Texas contracts. I always respond that I'm not an attorney and they should consult with one if they have concerns, but I'll always give my opinion on the situation to help.  Yesterday, I received an email from a lady asking about the Option Period. In the Texas real estate contracts, paragraph 23 talks about a Termination Option. I discussed in detail about the Option Period in this post, but I'll go over some things again.

texas real estate contractParagraph 23 gives the buyer an unrestricted right to terminate the contract, if they purchased the right to terminate.Yes, in Texas, a buyer has to purchase the right to terminate a contract during a negotiated amount of time, usually something like 5-10 days for a nominal fee of about $100-200. Everything in a Texas real estate contract is negotiable. If a buyer terminates the contract for any reason during this time, the earnest money goes back to the buyer. In order to have this period of time, that means you have a legally binding contract that is executed. It has signatures and dates, and is the agreement between buyer and seller to transfer the property with good funds.

The question I received yesterday is summarized as, "If a buyer tries to modify the contract with an amendment during the Option Period, and I don't agree to the amendment, is the contract automatically void?" The answer is NO. You have an executed contract. Just because one party tried to change the contract doesn't negate what you already have in effect. If both parties agreed to the amendment, then you have an amended contract. If both parties don't agree to the amendment, you still have your base contract in tact.

If the buyer is unhappy with the seller's response, then the ball is in the buyer's court to either terminate or move forward. Just because an amendment is attempted doesn't mean the contract is automatically void or termianted. This statement holds true whether you're in the Option Period or not.

An email cannot terminate a contract. You need to fill out the proper form. There is a specific form to terminate within the Option Period. It doesn't even require the seller's signature. Only the buyer has to sign and date it and submit it before the deadline. If it's within the Option Period, the earnest money is automatically reverted to the buyer. The Release of Earnest Money addendum doesn't even need to be used because the contract already stipulates what happens.

Again, I'm not an attorney. I've only been selling real estate for 12+ years (as of January 2013), but the above is from my understanding of paragraph 23 and I've taken many classes that deal with the topic.

If you have questions about your Texas Real Estate contract, please ask your agent. If your agent's answer isn't good enough for you, you need to contact an attorney for a legal response. Realtors cannot practice law, unless they also hold a bar card.

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Donna Harris, REALTOR®
RE/MAX Austin Skyline
www.DonnaHomes.com
Donna@DonnaHomes.com
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Copyright© 2013 By Donna Harris, All Rights Reserved. You may re-blog with links back to this post.
*Does the Texas Real Estate Contract Void if an Amendment is Attempted?
* was first published on donnahomesblog.com.

Comment balloon 9 commentsDonna Harris • January 11 2013 08:25AM

Comments

Donna:

Another great post with solid information. Hope you have a wonderful weekend. 

Posted by Alan Kirkpatrick, Alan in Austin (Austin Texas Homes) over 5 years ago

Interesting to see how other state's handle their contract language for real estate transactions.  As always, we help the public enter into legal documents (contracts), and attorneys help them get out of contracts!

Posted by Dan Hopper, Denver Realtor / Author / Advocate/Short Sale (Keller Williams Realty Downtown LLC) over 5 years ago

Donna

Great advice as a real estate professional we have to be careful not to slide into giving legal advice.

Good luck and success.

Lou Ludwig

Posted by Lou Ludwig, Designations Earned CRB, CRS, CIPS, GRI, SRES, TRC (Ludwig & Associates) over 5 years ago

Alan, Thanks! You too...

Dan, True.

Lou, Exactly!

Posted by Donna Harris, Realtor,Mediator,Ombudsman,Property Tax Arbitrator (Donna Homes, powered by JPAR - TexasRealEstateMediationServices.com) over 5 years ago

I'm not a lawyer and I'd be loathe to give advice, but your argument is compelling!

Posted by Wayne and Jean Marie Zuhl, The Last Names You'll Ever Need in Real Estate (Samsel & Associates) over 5 years ago

Thanks Wayne and Jean.

Posted by Donna Harris, Realtor,Mediator,Ombudsman,Property Tax Arbitrator (Donna Homes, powered by JPAR - TexasRealEstateMediationServices.com) over 5 years ago

Donna great explanation. The original contract stands in full until terminated or moves forward outside the option period.

Posted by Gary Woltal, Assoc. Broker Realtor SFR Dallas Ft. Worth (Keller Williams Realty) over 5 years ago

The Option Period is always a touchy time! LOL!!

Posted by MeLisa Minter, Realtor, Taylor Lake Village Real Estate Broker (RE/MAX Space Center) over 5 years ago

Donna-Your explanation agrees with my understanding of the contract language in Texas real estate.

Posted by Wayne Johnson, San Antonio REALTOR, San Antonio Homes For Sale (Coldwell Banker D'Ann Harper REALTORSĀ®) over 5 years ago

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