Until there is an accepted offer by the seller (if multiple counters it is not an accepted offer until the seller picks the counter or offer that works out best for the seller, which is done by signing section 7 of the counter offer and returned to that buyer) then the seller can continue to counter offers and also can accept and counter new offers from new buyers. In other words until the section7 is signed and returned to that buyer or an offer is signed with out countering, then there is not an accepted offer so anything can happen and all buyers and potential buyers can continue to try and make a deal.
If a seller sends out a multiple counter offer it clearly states in section 4. of the counter that if the buyer accepts this counter it will not be binding until it is re-signed by the seller in section 7. of the counter. Then it needs to be confirmed by you or your agent.
So unfortuantely if you have accepted the counter offer and the seller did not return it to you signed in section 7 it is not a binding contract and they can counter you, reject you, not even respond to you if they don't want.
I think my main concern is that you asking this question. You should have a Realtor that is answering these questions and/ or you trust their answers.
I wish you luck.
James has come very close to providing a succinct answer regarding how a multiple CO becomes a binding contract; however, I believe a final additional step is required: a copy of the signed acceptance must be personally received by the maker of the Counter Offer or that person's authorized agent.
Also, why many believe Para 8 of the CO (Confirmation of Acceptance) must be fully executed to have a binding contract this is in fact not required.
It is not a done deal until all parties initial, sign and "acknowledge" acceptance by all parties, then it is a fully ratified contract at that point. California has been experiencing multiple offers and going way above asking price in certain areas.
Most importantly, your Realtor should be able to guide you on your strategy on how to best respond to a multiple counter situation to win the deal and crush the competition from the get go if that is what you want. Wish you the best in getting your new home!
In CA multi-Counter Offer situations the Seller's Counter Offers can be different and even if multiple Buyers accept their corresponding Counter Offers the seller does not have to choose ANY of the Counters that Buyers have accepted. In addition, the Seller can continue to Counter until they decide which offer to eventually accept.
Depending on your specific situation you may want to seek legal guidance.
I'm hoping you have a buyer's agent working for you. Good luck!