Home Buying in 30309>Question Details

Nervous Buyer, Home Buyer in 30309

Is it an ethics violation to ask a seller to re-negotiate when a verbal agreement has been made?

Asked by Nervous Buyer, 30309 Mon May 21, 2012

We made an offer and was countered..negating a key rule of sleeping on all major decisions, we accepted the counter...now we realize we/our budget is not comfortable with the decision. Is it such a violation of negotiation ethics to go back and ask for our original offer to be reconsidered (we realize, as we did at first, that they may not be willing to sell at that price...but is this such a violation of the rules that they would not even allow the reopening of negotiations?
We have not signed anything..it has all been verbal over the phone..

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Nervous Buyer,

What could possibly be troubling you? As you can see from many of the answers, you have no obligations, and there are no hard and fast ethical rules that apply other than this one - The Golden Rule:

"He who has the gold makes the rules..."
1 vote Thank Flag Link Mon May 21, 2012
In Georgia, a contract must be written and must be signed by both parties. Until then, you are just talking. Nothing wrong with changing your mind after you sleep on, as long as you have not signed anything. Somebodys feelings might get hurt, but I do not see any ethics violation.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Mon May 21, 2012
There's no ethics violation or any other violation.

If it's all been verbal, there's been no agreement. Real estate agreements must be in writing.

Are you going back on your word? If it were some other sort of purchase--a tricycle or a couch--probably so. Such deals can be negotiated verbally and in some cases can even be binding. But real estate? No.

I do have to wonder, though, whether any real estate agents have been involved. You should have been receiving advice from your agent about what can and can't be done.

Advice: Get an agent. Then submit an offer in writing.

If you're buying FSBO, still get an agent. And if you don't want an agent, then have a lawyer assist you.

Hope that helps.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Mon May 21, 2012
Don Tepper, Real Estate Pro in Burke, VA
Should not have any problems. Have your agent put it in writing. Explain that after revewing your financial picture the verbal offer may not work so you are asking them to consider the attached writte offer.. Also ask your agent to present this in a way that keep communications open with the seller so they know that you are very interested in the property and trying to make it work for both parties. Often a party in the negotiations can miscommunicate and get emotions going. That never helps the bottom line for either the buyer or the seller. Put your offer in writing. Even if you were going to make the same offer as the one you made verbally should be in writing. You are making a major investment and I don't care if you are buying a property from your parents - put everything in writing.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Aug 4, 2012
I doubt very much if you have a binding contract to work with, but I am not licensed to sell real estate in your state. In MN negotiations are open until the last party signs or initials all changes and delivers that final copy back to the other party or their agent.

That said you run the high risk of irritating the seller and having them walk away. If you are okay with that, the take your shot. If you really must have the house, try to work with your agent to developed a strategy to make the move more comfortable while retaining the sale.

The realtors code of ethics would not preclude what you are proposing.

Cameron Piper
Licensed MN Broker
Coldwell Banker Burnet
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon May 21, 2012
Two questions, the first, did a Realtor allow you to make a verbal offer?

The second, how far apart was your offer and the counter? I have watched hundreds of people in the new construction arena purchase a basic package then sweat bullets over a $5,000 upgrade. My point is, if the offers were not a great deal apart you probably shouldn’t be buying this house anyway. I can’t imagine with today’s interest rates how much the counter would need to be to make it unaffordable. Did it make more than $100 difference in payments? Nothing magic about a $100, just pointing out reality. We agreed to a $1500 a month payment but backed out when it went to $1525. If you are cutting it that close it may be time to step back.

Jim Simms
NMLS # 6395
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon May 21, 2012
You have nothing, which is good for you in this scenario! Verbal offers are not enforceable in the state of GA. Its just that, verbal. In order for a contract to be enforceable in GA it must be in writing.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon May 21, 2012
Very troubling times we live in. LEGALLY, all the answers below are correct, Real Estate must be contracted in writing. Morally, a person is only as good as his or her word. Verbal contracts and handshake deals should be as good as anything in writing. If you're careful about what you say and stand behind it, it should be as solid as a contract. These days even contracts aren't worth the paper they're printed on, you can almost always find a way to weasel out of a deal. Very sad that nobody is willing to be accountable for their words and actions anymore...Just my two cents.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon May 21, 2012
You're not under contract, needs to be written and signed. Even still, if you're smart and have a due diligence period you could terminate during that time and nuke the deal.

0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon May 21, 2012
You are under contract with a buyer when both the buyer and the seller have signed a contract. At this point you are still in negotiations.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon May 21, 2012
You can have verbal offers all day long, but until it's in writing, it's not really an offer at all. Call it "second thoughts" or "sleep on it" you are not under contract to purchase. AND, even if you were Under Contract, and still in your Due Diligence period, you have the right to terminate the agreement for ANY reason.

All the parties just need to come together and understand where you are coming from. If the Seller can't accept your original offer, then move on to the next option. Don't put yourself in a position to be buying more than you are comfortable with/can afford.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon May 21, 2012
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