An owner owned and occupied Blackacre, which was a tract of land improved with a one-family house. His friend orally offered the owner $50,000 for Blackacre, the fair market value, and the owner accepted. Because they were friends, they saw no need for attorneys or written contracts and shook hands on the deal. The friend paid the owner $5,000 down in cash and agreed to pay the balance of $45,000 at an agreed closing time and place. Before the closing, the friend inherited another home and asked the owner to return his $5,000. The owner refused, and, at the time set for the closing, the owner tendered a good deed to the friend and declared his intention to vacate Blackacre the next day. The owner demanded that the friend complete the purchase. The friend refused. The fair market value of Blackacre has remained $50,000.
In an appropriate action brought by the owner against the friend for specific performance, if the owner loses, the most likely reason will be that
A. the agreement was oral.
B. keeping the $5,000 is the owner's exclusive remedy.
C. the friend had a valid reason for not closing.
D. the owner remained in possession on the day set for the closing.
Incorrect: Answer choice A is correct. For the owner to lose, the agreement between the two must have been invalid. Answer choice A is the only answer that concludes the agreement was invalid by virtue of it not satisfying the Statute of Frauds requirement. Answer choice B is incorrect because, even if the agreement is valid there is nothing in the agreement that limited damages to a $5,000 remedy. Answer choice C is incorrect because, if the agreement was valid, the friend's inheritance would not be a sufficiently good reason to breach. Answer choice D is incorrect because the owner would not be required to vacate the property to perfect the tender to the friend.
Can anyone explain why part performance doesn't apply here? I would have thought the payment of the 5k would be part performance, so the statute of frauds shouldn't matter. This question really tripped me up because I went in thinking the answer was definitely not "A," but none of the other answers seemed right either.