A big issue in contracts is that there must be “consideration” given to make a contract enforceable. This is what makes a difference between an enforceable contract and an unenforceable promise. (Of course, you should keep your word, but sometimes the Court will not enforce it.)
Consideration is the exchange of something for the promise. So, for instance, you may have made a down-payment on a car or house. That payment would likely be valid consideration to make the deal valid. But, you could also exchange promises. For instance, “I agree to sell you this lawnmower for $100, if you agree to wash my car by the end of the day tomorrow.” The mutual promises – if agreed to – would be enough to have a valid agreement.
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