"Can I put in an offer? I don't want to come in and fill out all that paperwork in case they don't accept it. Just tell them what I would like to offer and if they agree I will come in and sign." This is something that many Real Estate agents have heard when working with their buyer clients. Most selling agents will not even present a verbal offer to their seller. Why woudn't they do what a client requests?
In Alberta and in accordance with our Real Estate Law, all real estate transactions must be in writing. Any time that any changes are made to any part of the offer they need to be initialled to by all parties involved in the transaction. With the way that our current world is so busy and people so spread out, sometimes negotiations do take part verbally in order to iron out the details in trying to get a deal done. Sometimes to do an entire negotiation it is only possible with some verbal back and forth. Is any of this verbal negotiating legally binding? So far, in court the only contracts that have been deemed enforceable are ones that are done properly in writing with proper signatures and initials where appropriate.
If you find yourself in a negotiation where some verbal negotiating is necessary, understand the risk that you are taking and ensure that all agreements are followed up as quickly as possible with paper copies of all changes with necessary initials, signatures, dates and witnesses. In doing so you will be protecting the deal that you had spent so much time putting together and ensuring that the details are captured and understood by both parties.