Owen v. Tunison

131 Me. 42, 158 A. 926 (1932)



There can be no contract for the sale of property, no meeting of the minds of the owner and prospective purchaser, unless there is first an offer or proposal of sale. Mere statements made with intent to open negotiations which might later lead to a sale do not constitute an offer.


The putative buyer sent a letter to the putative seller with an offer to purchase certain real property for $ 6,000. The putative seller responded with a letter in which he indicated that it was not possible for him to sell it unless he received $16,000. The putative buyer sent a message stating that he accepted that offer. The putative seller notified the putative buyer that he did not wish to sell the property. A case was filed for damages for breach of an alleged contract for the sale. The putative buyer alleged that the putative seller agreed in writing to sell him property, that he refused to perfect the sale, and that the putative buyer, always willing and ready to pay the price, suffered loss due to the refusal to sell.


Was there a perfected contract of sale?




The court entered judgment for the putative seller and held that that damages could have been due a willing buyer had the owner refused to tender a deed of real estate after offering in writing to sell to the former and such offer was accepted. However, although the putative seller's letter might have been written with the intent to open negotiations that might lead to a sale, it was not an offer or proposal of sale. There could have been no contract for the sale of the property unless there was an offer or proposal of sale.

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