Posted by Terry L. Trimble on July 10, 2003 at 24:49:43:
Sorry for the late posting. Please note that while a rule called the Statute of Frauds provides that contracts for the sale of real estate are supposed to be in writing, there are many exceptions to the rule. One of these exceptions is the doctrine of part performance. The Staute of Frauds is intended to prevent someone from claiming a contract existed where it didn’t. Where, however, a party spent significant money performing part of the (alleged) contract, courts sometimes conclude that that party never would have done so much if there had not been a contract. Put differently, the doctrine of part performance ignores the Statute of Frauds where the party alleging a contract existed has already partially performed the contract.
The logic of this rule is a bit circular, but this doctrine has nonetheless been around for centuries. Be sure to ask your attorney about this if he or she hasn’t suggested it.