Contract Legalities

A legal real estate contract has 5 necessary parts:

  1. Competent parties - This is usually defined as "being of legal age and sound mind." In Mexico another factor comes into play--language. A person who doesn't understand Spanish, the legal language of the country, no matter how mature or intelligent, is not competent in any practical sense. Therefore, the contract must be translated into English.
  2. Lawful Objective - This means that contracts can be voided if it is discovered that the intent has been to set up a drug business, a house of prostitution, or some other illegal operation. If one doesn't own a property, it can't be lawful to try to sell it.
  3. Offer and Acceptance - This means that a contract must be signed by both parties. It must also have a date when it takes effect and must specify the place where it is signed.
  4. Legal Description - Legal descriptions can take several different forms--metes and bounds, lot and block, government survey--but the key is that the property must be readily identifiable.
  5. Consideration - Consideration accompanies a contract as an evidence of good faith. It usually means money, although it can take the form of a promissory note, another piece of property, an item of value like a car or boat, or even such an intangible as "love and affection."