The Offer and Acceptance Are Critical to Contract Formation

The Offer and Then the Acceptance: How a Contract Gets Started and Becomes Enforceable

The first step to creating a contract in New Jersey is an offer.

An offer is a written or verbal promise to undertake some obligation.

There are several elements that go into making an offer enforceable under NJ contract law.
First is whether the person making the offer is serious. A person who states that he will sell his or her new house for $100 is not likely to be found by a judge or jury as making a serious bona fide offer.

Does the person show a willingness to be held to his/her offer? A person requesting a price quote or who is in negotiations with you to purchase something does not qualify as an offer. Advertisement(s) are usually seen as invitations to offers, not an enforceable offer.

Does the offer contain definite terms, meaning are the terms precise? Do both parties know what is expected of each other? For example, are the parties identified, is the price listed, are the quantities stated, is a time for performance of the contract stated? There should be enough specificity contained in the offer that, if needed, a court will be able to enforce it, if accepted?

Again, when making an offer, also consider the addition of protective provisions in case things don’t go as planned. This principle cannot be over emphasized.

The Acceptance of the Offer; Acceptance of the Offer is How a Contract is Created Under NJ Law

An acceptance to an offer must be made while the offer is still open. An offer ends when its time has elapsed: For example, “I will sell you my computer for $200 but you must decide whether to buy it within 48 hours. If you do not accept the offer within 48 hours, there is no contract.”

If a person changes the terms of the offer in his/her acceptance, the offer is deemed legally rejected and a counteroffer has been made. In our prior example of selling a computer for $200.00, if the response is “I will buy your computer, but I will pay only $150 for it.” ($50.00 is less than the price of $200.00 in the preceding paragraph), there is no acceptance but a counteroffer has been made. The person who made the original offer must respond to the new offer by accepting it, rejecting it, or proposing yet another offer.

Fredrick P. Niemann Esq.

If you have any questions about contract law and/or the acceptance of an offer under NJ contract law, then please contact Fredrick P. Niemann, Esq. at or call him toll-free at (855) 376-5291. He welcomes your inquiries and you’ll be impressed with the depth of his understanding of contracts.





New Jersey Contract Law Attorney serving these New Jersey Counties:

Monmouth County, Ocean County, Essex County, Cape May County, Camden County, Mercer County, Middlesex County,
Bergen County, Morris 
County, Burlington County, Union County, Somerset County, Hudson County, Passaic County