“Possession is 9/10ths of the law.” Is it really?

Can somebody buy real property without a written agreement? Generally, no. But then again, there are always exceptions.

The “Statute of Frauds” states that an agreement to buy real property must be in writing to be enforceable. One of the exceptions to the Statute of Frauds is when a buyer of real property actually moves in (thus the “possession is 9/10ths” argument) and also starts making improvements on the land. The Statute of Frauds is designed to make sure that “important” contracts, like those relating to buying real property, those that take more than one year to perform, guaranties, and those for goods more than $500, are all in writing. This protects both sides from the “but, s/he really said” arguments.

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