Return to the Buying and Selling Homes Forum | Post a Follow-Up

 o
Accepted counteroffer--Are we under contract?

Posted by faithful_april (My Page) on
Tue, Nov 16, 10 at 10:52

Recently I (buyer) accepted a counteroffer from the seller. I assumed this meant that I was under contract, but my realtor told me a couple of days later that there was a higher offer and that I lost the house. This was in Missouri. I would appreciate anyone's opinion.


Follow-Up Postings:

 o
RE: Accepted counteroffer--Are we under contract?

Do you have a signed contract? It sounds like this was a verbal counteroffer.


 o
RE: Accepted counteroffer--Are we under contract?

We signed the paperwork our realtor gave us to accept. My thought is that he didn't actually have the offer in a signed contract. I'm just trying to figure out if this was the realtor's mistake.


 o
RE: Accepted counteroffer--Are we under contract?

I'm not sure if this is true in all states....but it is usually the case where until you have a signed counter offer, someone can sneak in and make another offer. So if someone put in a better offer before your signed counter offer got back to the seller, then you don't have a contract. I know someone who was considering the counter offer, but before they made up their mind to sign it, the sellers accepted another offer. They acted too slowly. It's not a contract until both parties agree.


 o
RE: Accepted counteroffer--Are we under contract?

Thank you for taking the time to answer!


 o
RE: Accepted counteroffer--Are we under contract?

UHM......but the moment the OP signed signed the counter offer, then both parties did agree. The seller made the offer, so they obviously were OK with the price and the ball was in your court. Then only reason I can think of where you shouldn't get the house is if an individual offered and the seller accepted somehwere in that interval before you signed.


 o
RE: Accepted counteroffer--Are we under contract?

Calliope -- that's what I'm assuming happened, that the seller accepted another offer before the counter offer was signed. In the case of my former co worker -- she waited three days after she got the counter offer before she signed back. She thought she'd put some pressure on the sellers by not answering right away -- in her case that just gave someone else time to come in with a better offer. Communication with the realtor would probably clear up exactly what happened.


 o
RE: Accepted counteroffer--Are we under contract?

We actually signed it before another offer was accepted. We had the same realtor as the seller. Not sure what it is called. So if another offer was accepted, why would they have us sign the contract.


 o
RE: Accepted counteroffer--Are we under contract?

"We actually signed it before another offer was accepted."

If you accepted the offer without any changes, just signed BEFORE the offer was withdrawn you have a contract.

If the seller failed to withdraw the counter you had in hand before signing another offer they cold be in real trouble.

They have just sold the same house twice.
Notifying an agent is NOT adequate withdrawal of the offer.
The offeror must be notified.

Now the question is how much do you want the house.
A local RE lawyer can advise you what steps are required to enforce you contract.

There are rules and case law about notice of withdrawal, and some is very specific.


 o
RE: Accepted counteroffer--Are we under contract?

We actually signed it before another offer was accepted. We had the same realtor as the seller. Not sure what it is called. So if another offer was accepted, why would they have us sign the contract.


 o
RE: Accepted counteroffer--Are we under contract?

I'd be calling my attorney and running it by him/her.


 o
RE: Accepted counteroffer--Are we under contract?

Sounds like you signed a purchase offer or a "binder" which in my area of NY is NOT binding and not a contract. In that case, the other offer is not yet in contract also, so if you want to raise your offer, you still have time. Talk to your agent and ask her if you can put in a higher offer. You can outbid the buyer who outbid you. Then do an inspection and sign a contract asap so it doesnt happen again.


 o
RE: Accepted counteroffer--Are we under contract?

This is governed by state law and varies from one state to another. You should consult an attorney in your state.


 o
RE: Accepted counteroffer--Are we under contract?

Brickeye,
Here in NC, notifying a buyer's or seller's agent is the same as notifying the buyer or seller.
Here, you do not have to formally withdrawl an offer... but it is a smart thing to do. However, as soon as the other party signs the offer, and it is deliverred to EITHER the agent or the client, it is then a contract.
A verbal contract is not enforcable in a court of law.
If the agent was involved with the other offer, I would demand to see time stamps of when each contract was delivered to her. (Email and faxes both will tell you when it was deliverred)The one that has the earlier date / time, is the valid contract.


 o
RE: Accepted counteroffer--Are we under contract?

"Here in NC, notifying a buyer's or seller's agent is the same as notifying the buyer or seller. "

I would be suing the hell out of anyone who did that.

The agent is NOT a party to the contract.

"you do not have to formally withdrawl an offer"

Basic contract law is that ANY contract may be accepted until wothdrawn.
I really doubt NC is any different.

"you do not have to formally withdrawl an offer"

NY is one of the very few places that goes through that kind if junk.

In most of the country an offer is made, and if accepted by the seller without any alterations by their signing, the contract HAS been established.


 o
RE: Accepted counteroffer--Are we under contract?

"Here in NC, notifying a buyer's or seller's agent is the same as notifying the buyer or seller. "

I am speaking to the timing of receiving paperwork. If there is a date and / or time that is "Time Is Of The Essence", the date and time that is used is the date and time that the particular form was received by the agent, not the buyer nor seller.


 o
RE: Accepted counteroffer--Are we under contract?

Receiving paperwork is not required for a contract to be executed and ratified.

Once it is signed it is valid.

That is why you never have multiple offers floating around that could be accepted.

The agent receiving the paperwork has nothing to do with the contract becoming binding.

The very question posed by the OP is why mickey mouse handling of contracts by folks not a party to the contract, and un-withdrawn contracts floating around is so dangerous.

There is no legal requirement to withdraw a contract before it is accepted, but you better make sure it dies for some reason or a party can simply sign and the contract is now valid.

Courts are sometimes required to sort out poor contract handling, and first executed for something like a house purchase will win.

That is one of the reasons there are all sorts of quirks in contract cancellation (look up the 'mailbox rule') and why they should be canceled if they are no longer valid offers.


 o
RE: Accepted counteroffer--Are we under contract?

IF you still want this house, speak to a real estate attorney IMMEDIATELY. Do not try to work this out through your either incompetent or deceitful agent.

With the small bit of information you've shared, it sounds like you have a valid contract for purchase in your hand, and your agent either screwed up, or is playing the field to his/her advantage hoping you're stupid.

Don't be stupid--get a consultation w/ an attorney. They may not even charge you anything for telling you whether you have a grievance or not.


 o
RE: Accepted counteroffer--Are we under contract?

Thank you for all your input.


 o
RE: Accepted counteroffer--Are we under contract?

Any update?


 o
RE: Accepted counteroffer--Are we under contract?

Brickeye,
A contract does need to be written and delivered to be valid. If the contract was never delivered, how would the other party realize they were under contract? And, deliverance to either the buyer or the seller or to their agents constitutes deliverance.


 o
RE: Accepted counteroffer--Are we under contract?

Delivery does not affect contra t validity, and delivering to anyone except a maker of the contract is not going to do anything either.

If you present a contract for ratification it is valid from the moment it is signed by the other party.

The validity does not rest on delivering the signed contract.

You are supposed to have a copy for yourself.

The only thing delivery accomplishes is show the other party that the contract has indeed been signed.

Delivery to a party not on the contract is not notice unless you have signed a contract (and informed all involved) in writing that you are the legal agent of the contract maker.

Sounds like a lot of less than solid contract handling is going on (remind me never to deal in NC).

If there is not a time limit in the contract itself ("this offer expires on dd/mm/yy" or other words to that effect setting a deadline) any contract remains valid for signing by the other party until withdrawn.

"Time is of the essence" does not establish a 'date certain' for contract expiration.


 o
RE: Accepted counteroffer--Are we under contract?

We had a dual agent and we had sent an offer (typed and signed), got the counteroffer back--but the agent is saying that they just had a verbal counteroffer and had us just sign the paperwork at the end of the contract if it had been an actual typed contract. Hoping that makes sense. So the agent is saying that is why we aren't under contract.


 o
RE: Accepted counteroffer--Are we under contract?

Last time I sold a home in Calif., we were "under contract" several times. Unfortaunately, some fell apart before closing. In all cases (including the final successful contract) the contracts consisted of the standard Calif. forms in which the details had been handwritten in.

Is the agent playing fast and loose with you? I'd investigate. You could complain to the agent's broker or file a complaint with the state regulators.

Good luck
Susan


 o Post a Follow-Up

Please Note: Only registered members are able to post messages to this forum.

    If you are a member, please log in.

    If you aren't yet a member, join now!


Return to the Buying and Selling Homes Forum

Information about Posting

  • You must be logged in to post a message. Once you are logged in, a posting window will appear at the bottom of the messages. If you are not a member, please register for an account.
  • Posting is a two-step process. Once you have composed your message, you will be taken to the preview page. You will then have a chance to review your post, make changes and upload photos.
  • After posting your message, you may need to refresh the forum page in order to see it.
  • Before posting copyrighted material, please read about Copyright and Fair Use.
  • We have a strict no-advertising policy!
  • If you would like to practice posting or uploading photos, please visit our Test forum.
  • If you need assistance, please Contact Us and we will be happy to help.


Learn more about in-text links on this page here