Home Buying in 22044>Question Details

Reman, Home Buyer in Fairfax County, VA

I put in an offer on a house and I was out bid. Now there is a contract on the house. I am willing to up my offer by a significant amount.

Asked by Reman, Fairfax County, VA Sat Mar 13, 2010

Is it illegal to make an offer after there is a contract but before the house has been sold?

Help the community by answering this question:


I put in a backup offer - a cash offer - which I believe is actually higher than the existing offer, I submitted earnest money to the seller's agent along with proof that I could meet the cash offer. The seller's agent says my best shot is the 21 day financing contingency.

The seller's agent used the standard NVAR contract. Let's say I sweeten the deal by raising my offer even higher. Does the seller have any way to get out of the contract if they want to aside from the 21 day finaning contingency?

As for my approach, I may well go with a realtor next time. I wanted to try it on my own and I have seen the advantages and disadvantages. The biggest one is that I didn't have a good CMA which is what cost me the time during which the other bid came in.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sat Mar 13, 2010

Most likely, the seller is tied to this offer unless the buyer does something to cause the deal to go south. I would keep my back up in there but look for something else in the mean time.

If you hire a Realtor to help at this point, remember to inform them that you have an outstanding offer so they can protect you with the proper verbage should you make another offer on a different property.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Mar 19, 2010

It is perfectly LEGAL for YOU as a buyer to submit another offer. It is up to the seller to decide if they want - or legally can - negotiate with you.

If you love the house and want another chance, it is best that your agent contacts the listing agent to find out if the seller will accept back-up offers. Just because the offer was ratified, it does NOT mean it will survive to the settlement. The buyer may withdraw the offer based on one of the contingencies, or the seller might not want to meet the buyer's demands, if they are too extreme.

Having said, you are gambling on your luck. You need to decide if it is worth your time and lost opportunity on another home.

Good Luck!
(no pun intended)
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Mar 13, 2010
I know that lots of buyers are reading stories about buyers making low-ball offers and getting some great deals. While that may happen in this area of Northern Virginia, it is the exception. Maybe that's why such deals get written up in the press and on the internet.

In most cases, the buyer who makes the highest and best offer wins the contract. That is not to say the buyer must offer the most money, although that usually helps. It is all about the offer with the most reasonable sales price, the most favorable financing, good settlement terms, the most workable contingencies - in other words, the best package for both the buyer and the seller.

In Fairfax County, as in many other areas of the country, the market will help determine the price of the house. A seller can set the price anywhere he or she wants. If it is very low, there will be lots of offers. If it is too high, there may not be any offers. Keep in mind that if you are competing for a house and offer signicantly more than others, the house may not appraise for the offer amount. Appraisals are based on the recently "sold" price of similar houses in the nearby area. A good buyer's agent can help figure out what those comparable home prices were.

Don't get discouraged. Do consider working with a Realtor who can help you understand the local market.
Best wishes!

Mary Margaret Gates
Realtor, GRI, SHS
RE/MAX Allegiance
Web Reference: http://www.mmgates.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Mar 13, 2010
Dear Reman & Buyers out there--

It is never ILLEGAL to make a bid on a house under contract. As a list agent, I am required to accept and present all bids, verbal and written to the Sellers, up until the day of closing.

That said, the Sellers cannot accept any other bids once under contract (they can't t sell the house twice!). They can accept BACK-UP offers-- or give the first buyer some kind of consideration to terminate the sales contract so they can accept a different offer.

Reman' situation should be a warming to Buyers out there -- if you like a house- make a resonable offer or take the risk in losing it! I am all about helping my Buyers get "a deal"-- but it is never a deal if you lose the house you wanted in the first place.

So many Buyers today are listening to the media and thinking that they can come in with a ridiculously low offer on a house that has been price at or below market value to start with, and that Sellers are just going to lay down & take it. I do tell my low-ball Buyers: "all you can do is ask." At the same time, you run the risk of insulting a seller so badly, that they won't even counter you offer, relegating your offer instead to the "round file."

Do you research- ask your Buyers Agent (hopefully he/she is an ABR) : a good market analysis will tell you what is a good and fair offer. In many neighborhoods and price ranges, houses are selling for 100-105% of the list price-- at least here in HamptonRoads and some areas of NOVA. In Real Estate there is such a thing a a WIN-WIN solution. Personally, those are the ones I like to be involved in.


0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Mar 13, 2010
Your agent can advise you best--If a fully executed contract exists, signed by all parties, and deposit money has been exchanged, your offer at this point would be considered a back offer--again your agent can best advise.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Mar 13, 2010
It's not illegal for you to make an offer but it may be illegal and most likely impossible for them to accept it if they have a ratified contract, depending on the contract they have ratified. Placing an offer where there may be multiple offers requires you and your agent to do some work before submitting your offer. Low ball offers rarely get accepted or even countered.

If you don't have a Realtor you are currently working with I'd be glad to help you with your next offer!! Drop me an e-mail via my web site if you wish to chat further.

Best regards,
Stan Reed, Realtor
Keller Williams Realty
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Mar 13, 2010
The seller is legally obligated to the buyer. Is there a kick-out clause? In that situation, a secondary contract is registered and will force the hand of the primary buyer to remove their financing contingency within three days or their contract voids. The secondary contract then becomes the primary and you are now in the contract. Next time, put your best financial foot forward on your offer!

Megan McMorrow
Long & Foster
Web Reference: http://MeganMovesU.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Mar 13, 2010
I am a Realtor & an Attorney licensed only in OH, so my comments are only my personal opinions. You may submit another offer. However, since the Seller has already accepted the other offer and the contract is in place, your offer would only be a back up offer. Your offer would only be considered by the Seller if the other purchase falls through. When I have a client in your situation, I advise them not submit a backup offer, as, in my experience, the other contracts go to completion. I suggest that you move on --- a better home may be "just around the corner." From your question, it appears that you are not usuing a Buyer's Agent. If you ues a Buyer's Agent, he/she will help you analyze all the statistics through a CMA (Comparative Market Analysis) for a given home, so you can decide on a target offer.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Mar 13, 2010

You are still looking for a home? I have followed your previous posts and I hope you will employ a professional buyers' agent whom you TRUST! These issues will continue to arise as long as you follow the same path. If your offer was outbid...you most likely are done. If the other offer was RATIFIED then your only hope is to be a backup and hope the first offer is overly aggressive with home inspection or the like and gets kicked out by the seller.

There are some specific terms and verbiage which should be used in your backup if you are even going to be recognized as legitimately having a chance. Best of luck to you and I do hope for your peace of mind that you have or get an agent that you trust and listen to him/her and hid his/her advice.

Should you need professional guidance I would love the opportunity to put my 20+ years of service to use for you. Remember this price does not equal value!

Kind Regards,

Erik J. Weisskopf, ABR,CRS,GRI
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Mar 13, 2010
Search Advice
Ask our community a question
Email me when…

Learn more

Copyright © 2016 Trulia, Inc. All rights reserved.   |  
Have a question? Visit our Help Center to find the answer