The bottom line is that neither party (the buyer or seller) is legally obligated to the deal until there are fully executed contracts. In my office when an offer gets accepted, 99.9% of the time it is contingent on the property being sold "as-is" plus the buyer is expected to move forward expeditiously. If the buyer moves too slow, or does an inspection and wants to re-negotiate the price... or if a higher offer comes on the table before you go to contract... you can lose the deal. If that does happen, there is really nothing that you can do as a buyer because you were not actually in contract and legally bound by said contract.
Your situation is not so much the norm. As a matter of fact, in my 18 years in the real estate business, the vast majority of the time when a deals falters, it is due to the buyer changing their mind and not the seller. In that situation, the seller feels kind of like you do but they have no legal recourse so they just have to accept it. Once in a while, it goes the other way and the seller changes their mind. It could be due to a higher offer, or just the seller simply changing their mind and deciding not to sell.
Moving forward, you have to learn from this experience. Next time you make a deal, make sure you move forward as quickly as possible to get into contract. Only then will you be 100% certain that you have the deal (I am not trying to suggest that you didn't move forward expeditiously, I wouldn't know because I was not involved in the deal).
If I can be of further assistance, please let me know. good luck!
Mitchell S. Feldman
Associate Broker/ Director of Sales
Madison Estates & Properties, Inc.
Office: (718) 645-1665/ Cell: (917) 805-0783
Respect or lack of it, isn't the real issue in your situation. As another agent mentioned below, unless you have a fully executed contract of sale signed by you (the buyer) and seller, you donâ€™t have a deal. Handshakes and promises donâ€™t apply.
Have you seen the website you referred to? I donâ€™t know what they are all about, but reading their home page would make me run the other way. It reads like an infomercial.
Can I ask why you decided to have your attorney review the home inspection report? Itâ€™s not a legal matter, and is better left for you and your agent to review and decide if the condition of the property is acceptable.
As far as the company you used or the agent you used (can we presume you had an agent?), they should have discussed their other offer with you, in hopes of possibly getting you to step up with more money or better terms for the seller. But to me it sounds like the firm itself was selling their own project, and not represented a third party seller.
You had a bad experience, this sort of stuff happens more often than not. Brush it off, hire a good agent and have them help you find another property.