What Is Consideration in Real Estate Transactions?

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Written By Tommy

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If you’re thinking of buying a home, you’ll need to know what is consideration in real estate transactions. It’s an important part of the contract process of purchasing a piece of property.

In a contract, consideration is anything with value such as money, goods, or services.

In most transactions today, money is exchanged for property. This doesn’t necessarily mean paying in cash, as there will usually be some form of loan or mortgage. The earnest deposit does come with the agreement, while the downpayment and the mortgage will come at settlement.

Read on to learn more about what is consideration in real estate and how it can affect your purchase.

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What is Consideration in Real Estate?

Consideration is the legal term for what value changes hands between two parties.

In other words, consideration is “what’s in it for me” or what each side is giving the other.

Consideration can be in the form of a monetary payment, discharge of debt, or fulfillment of an obligation.

In the sale of real property, the buyer and seller must exchange something of value. If a buyer is purchasing the property, he or she will pay a certain amount of money as consideration for it. The seller, on the other hand, will sign and deliver the deed to the property as his or her consideration of payment.

The buyer’s obligation to pay the agreed price and the seller’s obligation to sign and deliver a deed constitute the consideration for a real estate transaction.

The consideration of a real estate transaction can be almost anything, and the deed itself might not reflect what was actually paid.

There are four ways to state consideration in a real estate transaction.

1. Nominal Consideration. Most deed transactions will state a nominal amount. This is a common practice in most states and helps keep the specifics of the transaction confidential.

2. Actual Consideration. Sometimes, the parties to the transaction will list the sale price of the property on the deed. However, most states have not required that this information be included, so most transactions simply include a nominal amount instead of actual consideration.

3. Gift. If the property is being given as a gift, no consideration is required. A gift deed can state “for love and affection” or similar language.

In states such as Florida and California, where tax is based on the amount of consideration, stating that a property is a gift can save money.

4. Capital Contribution. If the property is transferred to a corporation, the consideration for the transfer is usually in the form of shares in the corporation. For instance, a property owner may receive 1,000 shares of the acquiring corporation’s common stock in exchange for a transfer of real property.

The transfer of many properties, especially those intended for estate planning, is made without consideration. These no-consideration deeds include:

  • Transfers between spouses
  • Transfers to a revocable trust
  • Transfers from a deceased person’s estate
  • Transfers to a business entity such as a corporation or LLC
  • Transfers to family members
  • Transfers that are part of a divorce settlement

With no money changing hands, the owner will simply use a quit claim deed to relinquish title to the land.

A deed is not a formal contract but rather shows the intent of transferring property. Because a deed is not an official document, many states don’t require it to explicitly state the amount of any monetary exchange.

However, it’s still a good idea to include a nominal amount (even if it’s zero) in the legal description to avoid any potential title issues.

If the transaction involves the exchange of cash, the deed should state a nominal amount. In certain states like Alabama and Michigan, the stated amount must be the actual price paid.

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The Role of Consideration in a Real Estate Transaction

The role of consideration in a real estate transaction is important because it is what makes the deal binding. This is why it is important to have a clear understanding of what is consideration in real estate and how it works before entering into any real estate transaction.

Consideration is the value that is exchanged between the parties in a contract. It can be money, property, services, or anything of value. The key is that both parties must agree on the value of the consideration.

If one party does not believe that the consideration is of equal value, then the contract is not legally binding.

In a real estate transaction, the consideration is typically the purchase price of the property. However, there can be other considerations such as repairs that need to be made, closing costs, and real estate commissions. All of these considerations must be fully understood and agreed upon before signing a contract.

If you are considering entering into a real estate transaction, be sure to consult with an experienced real estate attorney to ensure that all of the considerations are properly understood and addressed.

When is Consideration Required in a Contract?

For a real estate contract to be binding, consideration must be exchanged between the buyer and the seller. Consideration is generally defined as something of value that is given by one party to another in exchange for something else of value.

For example, when a buyer agrees to purchase a property from a seller, the buyer is typically required to put down a deposit, which serves as consideration for the seller.

The amount of consideration is generally determined by the contract between the parties and may be based on factors such as the value of the property, the terms of the sale, and the market conditions at the time of the sale.

The Impact of Consideration on Contract Formation

Consideration is anything of value that is promised by one party to another when drafting a contract.

Valuable consideration means that one party received something of value in return for the conveyance of the property, such as money or the satisfaction of a debt.

The element of consideration must be present in a case of fraud and or undue influence, or where the grantee did not have the mental ability to agree.

A voluntary transfer of property can’t be voided simply because the transferee didn’t receive adequate compensation. Additionally, a grantee can’t have the deed to a property canceled because the transferor failed to provide the promised consideration for the transfer.

If the consideration for a contract is itself part of a written agreement, then evidence of that additional element may not be introduced. On the other hand, if the recitation of consideration to a deed is itself merely a receipt of payment, then it can be contradicted by other evidence.


What is consideration in real estate? Consideration is an important part of the real estate contract process. It can affect your purchase, so it’s important to understand what it is and how it works.

If you have any questions about consideration, be sure to ask your real estate agent or lawyer for more information.