Home Buying in 90067>Question Details

Cwright127, Home Buyer in Los Angeles, CA

Can a seller accept a back-up offer without accepting a primary offer first?

Asked by Cwright127, Los Angeles, CA Sat Oct 27, 2012

We were told by a seller that they accepted another offer, so we submitted a back-up offer which was signed off on by both parties and we are in the #1 back-up position. However, this was a week ago and the home is still showing as "Active" not "Pending" on MLS. I am wondering if it is possible for the seller to accept our back-up offer without having accepted a primary offer first...perhaps to give them more time to find a higher price? This pertains to a condo sale in Los Angeles, CA. Thanks!

Help the community by answering this question:


More than likely, the listing agent has failed to change status.
Ask your agent to call the listing agent and request the status be changed.
If that does not happen, ask your agent to "report MLS violation"
If that does not work and only after,...
go to the local Association of Realtors office and speak with the clerk.
Let them know and usually it will be taken care of.
More than likely this is on a short sale.
Many agents see no reason why they should not leave it active even after they have accepted an offer.
the only problem is, it is against the rules and fellow REALTORS write the rules so all agents can work well together.
The problem with a property that is already been signed is it wastes so many peoples time.
think about it.
The home is off the market as it is in contract.
Many buyers look at it online - a waste of time
Many home buyers ask agents to show them the property - another waste of time
Then the agent schedules to show the property - another waste of time
The home seller may have to be home to show the property - another waste of time
The home buyer and the agent go to see a house that is no longer on the market - another waste of time.
Because of this rampant "status listing violation", many Home buyers agents have to have a conversation with the listing agent to Verify the property is indeed for sale and getting a hold of an agent sometimes can take 1- 2 days - another waste of time.
It has been my experience that if an agent does this, there may be other issues that may be less than par. Such as and trust me the list is endless
accepting yet another offer,.... and submitting it to the bank behind every ones back and you would never know as you have no idea who by name is in first position. Thus thinking you may have some sort of a shot being in "second position"

Harold Sharpe - Broker
So Cal Homes
(951) 821-8211
California Department of Real Estate Broker License # 01312992
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Oct 28, 2012
Hi everyone,

Thank you very much for sharing your expertise!

Best wishes.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Oct 27, 2012
As the others say, a back-up offer backs up an accepted primary offer. You can't have a back-up without a primary.

However, as also noted, sometimes the MLS status isn't promptly updated. So it's possible/likely that there is a primary offer.

If yours were the primary offer, you'd have put in a limited time frame so the offer couldn't be shopped around. And that, presumably, is what the buyers in first position did.

And there are plenty of ways for the sellers to accept an initial offer but welcome and encourage backups.

So, the scenario you outline (accepting a back-up without a primary) is technically impossible and, frankly, unnecessary.

For more information, ask your Realtor.

Hope that helps.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Oct 27, 2012
Don Tepper, Real Estate Pro in Fairfax, VA
Have your agent go into the MLS, pull up this listing & hit the "REPORT VIOLATION" button, all they have to say is "according to the listing agent this property has an accepted offer & my client has a back up offer that has been accepted in a back up position, the MLS rules state that this listing should be a "B-back up status" or otherwise not "A-Active" as it is showing now.

From there the MLS department should send out an email to the listing agent & to their broker notifying them of the apparent violation.

I use this Report Violation function especially on short sale listings that are showing Active, but also showing "Offer(s) submitted to Lien holder(s)", if a property is under contract it must show a status other than Active. In my opinion it's considered "deceptive advertising".

Shoot me an email directly should you want to discuss this further. I don't look back on this same Trula posting for answers after mine.

Emily S. Knell
562-430-3053 c
Realtor Since 1996
Realty ONE Group
100% short sale success ratio
& I can Prove it
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Oct 27, 2012
Your question is a logical impossibility. Until an offer is actually accepted, there can be no back-up offer, it's just another offer. Also, your offer should not have been accepted by the seller with a back-up contingency, that is just plain stupid for the seller to do under any circumstances. What if an offer better than yours came in while the primary offer was still under contract. There is obviously something wrong that you should get straightened out before committing a deposit.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Oct 27, 2012
If you are back-up offer number one and the property falls out of escrow with the 1st primary offer then you should be the accepted offer. Some agents even if they accept an offer forget or don't put it pending on the MLS so that might be the issue.

Monique Carrabba
The Carrabba Group
Keller Williams
(323) 899-2900
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Oct 27, 2012
Just because it still shows as active does not mean another offer wasn't accepted. Although most MLS rules require listing agents to change status within 48-72 hours, many agents don't do that so as to keep people coming after the property until the primary is solid. My guess is that's what's going on.

Unethical, but happens all the time.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Oct 27, 2012
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