It is my understanding that when you make a change e.g. price you strike out the price make an initial. Put in the new price. And the next person accepts that change or strikes initials and makes their change and so on. Thereby having a balanced number of signatures. Then the next person makes a change. Strikes out the old price. Initials it and then the other person accepts the change again having balanced signatures.
What is the correct procedure?
Interesting discussion. Enough with the initials!
Here’s a quote expressing the correct method quite succinctly:
“You don’t initial their change if you’re not accepting it. You just cross out the language, insert your own and initial that. If they accept your change, they will initial it and the pair of initials signals that change is at an end.” (quotation from Sandra Jackson)
All you need is the final agreement negotiated between the parties with Buyer’s and Seller’s initials affixed to any changes.
No one cares about all the back and forth negotiations. That doesn’t really make any difference. Sometimes at the end, the signatures will be odd, and sometimes they will be even. There are various reasons for this.
The purpose of the initials is to signify a “deal” not keep track of the back and forth negotiations.
The FINAL RESULT is what matters and twenty initials all over the first page is risky because the chances are high that a Judge can’t decipher the mess. If that’s the case, then, there’s no deal at all. The role of the Judge is to interpret the contract, not negotiate a deal on behalf of the parties.
The first time I heard about this was in the late 1960’s when John J. Robinette was furious about all the initials all over the place on a contract and he couldn’t figure out the final deal.
So, keep it clean. Use a new Form if the old documentation gets messy. Also, to eliminate all this mess, consider using the Counter Offer Form (Form 107 on WebForms) which was drafted to make this simple. I do appreciate that no one ever uses it.
Brian Madigan LL.B., Broker