March 03, 2008 | The Daily Record

Exercising real estate options: Close does not count

1 min

Must one seeking to exercise an option to buy real estate match precisely the terms of the option for the exercise to be valid? Maryland's highest court recently ruled that Maryland law generally imposes an "exact matching" obligation on the optionee. Elderkin v. Carroll, No. 57, Sept. Term. 2007, Feb. 14, 2008 (Md. Ct. App.). The court also addressed the issue of whether an optionor acts in bad faith by declining to tell the optionee that it has bungled the attempted exercise. The Elderkin court held that the optionor has no such duty. Elderkin thus offers a cautionary tale about the precision required to exercise an option to buy real estate in Maryland. Close may count in other endeavors, but certainly and emphatically not in the exercise of purchase options.