Home Buying in Bayville>Question Details

Jcrad118, Home Buyer in Bayville, NJ

can the seller decline your bid after you were already out of attorney review?

Asked by Jcrad118, Bayville, NJ Thu Mar 24, 2011

My fiance and i placed a bid on a home and the seller accepted. We started an aggressive attorney review and were out of review on March 22. A bid came in on March 23 and the seller accepted and declined our offer after we were already out of attorney review. Is this legal? and can we fight this?

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Laura Giannotta’s answer
You have an attorney, and this question should be addressed by him or her. It's no longer a question about real estate, but contract law.

Laura Giannotta
Keller Williams Atlantic Shore
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Mar 24, 2011
Well, check with your attorney. That's what he's there for.

I'm not a lawyer, so this isn't legal advice. However, if both you and the seller had signed the agreement AND if there wasn't some provision in the contract allowing the seller to back out (for instance, a provision stating that if a new offer came in within x days of acceptance, then the seller could terminate your agreement and accept the new one), then you're probably legally "in the right."

But, as your lawyer will explain, it can be awfully difficult to force a seller to sell to you. There are ways of making it difficult for the seller to sell to anyone else, but that can get messy and expensive.

Again, what does your lawyer say?
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Mar 24, 2011
Don Tepper, Real Estate Pro in Burke, VA
This is most definitely a question your attorney can - and should - address. If you are under contract and performing under the terms of the contract, you may have a good case.

Good luck to you,
Jeanne Feenick
Unwavering Commtiment to Serivce
Web Reference: http://www.feenick.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Mar 26, 2011
When attorney review is completed by a signed and executed contract agreed upon by the buyers and sellers and attorneys there is a legal and binding contract which can be terminated by clauses in the contract such as home inspection issues and mortgage contingencies. If termination of the contract by a higher offer is not stipulated in the contract after the attorney review process is completed there may be breach. Talk to your attorney.
Best of luck,
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Mar 24, 2011
Everyone that said "ask your lawyer" is correct. If you were at odds about inspection issues, that could kill the deal, but most likely on your side, as the buyer. I would also check all of the dates and make sure YOUR attorney did in fact tell the sellers attorney that you were out of review.
It is really a legal question, and could be completely specific to your deal.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Mar 24, 2011
I agree with Laura. This is a question answered best by a lawyer.
But as a layperson, if your lawyer and the other attorney signed a end of attorney review letter. I believe then you would have a binding contract.
Of course this is a question that can only be answered correctly by your Lawyer
Web Reference: http://Flanaganrealty.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Mar 24, 2011
Hi J,

Disclaimer: I am not an attorney and all legal questions should be answered by your attorney.

If you have documentation that attorney review was complete, you probably have a case. When attorney review is complete, the attorneys sign off and there is a dated correspondence to the effect that the attorney review period is concluded. If you can produce that correspondence, then the sellers have breached the contract and you have a case. If you are just going by time, you are out of luck, because the attorney review period was made open ended as soon as it began. The first thing the attorneys do is disapprove the contract, rendering it null and void unless the conditions of the attorney review are met. So you NEED written proof in the form of an "attorney review is concluded" letter to proceed.

Have you gone over this with your attorney?

Now the reality: In the final analysis, you are not going to get the house, because bringing an action will take months and cost thousands. So your only real options are to improve your offer, or to move on to another house. Often it is not "whether" you can sue but "whether" you have the time and resources to dedicate to a suit. Most people believe that life is too short and move on to another home.

A contract is really only as good as the intent and honor of the parties, and in this case it sounds like your sellers are the type of people for whom a few thousand dollars is worth breaking their word. If it were me, I would tell them to take their house and... well, you know.

Marc Paolella
Relocation Director/Appraiser
Century 21 Joe Tekula Realtors
201 Route 10 East
Succasunna, NJ 07876
Phone (direct): (973) 584-4235
Coolest map-based home search: http://www.marcpaolella.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Mar 24, 2011
I believe once you are out of attorney review the seller cannot accept another offer. If that were the case do you know how many deals would fall apart everytime the seller got a higher offer? Your attorney should have told you this. The reason you have attorney review is so that you can legally discuss all terms (price, closing, etc) and when all parties agree, attorney review ends and they are legallly bound.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Mar 24, 2011
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