Buyer accepts offer and signs it, where offer acceptance is binding depends of the legal jurisdiction. For example English and common law differs slightly from American uniform commercial law on matters of offer acceptance and when performance becomes binding on an offer.
LOI's are the legal equivalent of "almost pregnant." Letters of Intent emphatically state that. They state that they are not formal agreements, and then often proceed to set forth agreed terms of the proposed transaction. Given this paradox, if the deal goes sour, one party can argue [in court] that those agreed_upon points were, in fact, agreed upon _ or, in fact, a binding contract. And, in some cases, furthermore, that the party relied on the LOI and has monetary damages based on such reliance."