Real Estate Encyclopedia | Property Law Dictionary | Real Estate Terms | Meanings & Definitions |      Nov 12, 2019


From the Latin barcaniare, 'to change about'. An arrangement or undertaking negotiated between two or more parties by which the parties accept a mutual undertaking; the terms upon which parties propose to enter into contract. "A bargain is an agreement of two or more persons to exchange promises or to exchange a promise for a performance." American Restatement of Contracts, § 4 (1932). A bargain lies at the foundation of the modern concept of a commercial contract; that is, that someone has entered into a bargain, not a mere expression of intent - "for the intent of man cannot be tried; for the Devil himself knows not the intent of man" Chief Justice Briar, Anon. (1478) Year Book 17 Edw. IV, 1. On the other hand, in common law, a bargain does not create a contract without consideration (a requirement that is not as strictly adhered to in the civil law).
'Bargain' is used also to refer to a process of haggling; coming to an understanding; the giving of an assurance or pledge; or the purchase of something at a favorable price. A bargain, once reached, is not normally relinquished lightly, even though in reality it be not much more than a gentleman's agreement: "I'll give thrice so much land to any well-deserving friend; but in the way of a bargain mark ye me; I'll cavil on the ninth part of a hair." William Shakespeare, Henry IV Part II, Act III. See also agreement for sale, earnest money, pacta sunt servanda(Lat), subject to contract.

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