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Modern Technology as a Factor in the Purchase of Real Estate

I was contacted recently by a client who had signed a Contract of Purchase for a property in the country (i.e. outside of city limits). She was devastated to learn that the internet available was inadequate for her very demanding job. Nevertheless, the Seller insisted that she perform under the terms of the Contract of Purchase! The sale didn’t happen, but this was the second time in a year that clients of mine have had inadequate or intermittent cell phone/internet/broadband connections prevent the sale of an otherwise attractive residence. It is not unusual for some rural areas to have adequate service, and other areas nearby to have spotty or no service.

In today’s world, especially as technology advances rapidly and flex-time becomes more available in the workplace, Purchasers of property and Buyer Brokers need to be aware of a Purchaser’s specific technological requirements. In Virginia, real estate contracts must be in writing and all changes to them must be in writing in order to be enforceable. Taking a Seller’s word for the internet capability without a written statement may result in litigation if the Seller’s representation of the internet capability is incorrect.

Practice Point:

Purchasers and Buyer Brokers need to write the Purchaser’s cell phone/internet/broadband requirements into a Contract of Purchase as a contingency, perhaps in the space for Other Terms, and discuss with a home inspector whether the home inspection can test the sufficiency of the cell phone/internet/broadband available at the property.

Ms. Fine practices in the following areas: business lawestate planningequine lawreal estate law, or civil litigation. Please reach out if you need assistance.