First let me say I believe it unethical unless dealing with foreclosed properties owned by banks or similar institutions. Please don't forget that selling a home is often a stressful and nervous time for a seller, and it is unfair for anyone to submit an offer that a seller would accept if they don't genuinely intend to purchase the property. What would make things even worse is if a seller were to accept your offer over someone else's and then have the other buyer move on to a different property- believe me, I've seen that happen. A seller can find themselves with multiple offers one day and none the next.
That said, an Offer to Purchase, when fully executed, is a legally binding contract. Many people, agents included, look on the Offer merely as the step before the Purchase and Sale and don't give it due consideration. It is true that in most cases a buyer can withdraw an offer soon after it is accepted and not lose their deposit, or have a seller attempt to make them perform. Typically, a seller just wants to sell their property and they don't want to waste time and energy fighting with someone who doesn't want to buy it. Bear in mind, however, that a seller does have legal recourse if they choose to go that route, and you never know what the end result may be.
In answer to your question, I would add a clause to the offer stipulating that no binding contract is in effect until a copy of the fully executed agreement is HAND DELIVERED to you, the buyer, before the date and time of the expiration of the offer. It is important to follow up with the seller or seller's agent to make sure you are aware that your offer has been accepted, giving you time to revoke the offer before you receive a copy. (For reference see: Mailbox Rule)
One thing to bear in mind is that putting a clause like this, or any other unusual requirement, in an offer can make it unattractive to a seller and thus lead to none of your offers being accepted. My advice is to make one offer at a time, in a competitive situation make your best offer first, and sooner or later you'll be successful.
I am not an attorney. I advise consulting an experienced real estate attorney for all real estate transactions.
Hope this helps!
Breach of Good Faith and Fair Dealing Covenants.
In some states, contract law contains a good faith and fair dealing covenant. If a buyer can afford to buy only one home yet makes multiple purchase offers on many homes, it is possible that the buyer has broken the good faith covenant, which may have legal ramifications. Buyers are advised to seek legal advice beforehand.
Sending the Same Check With Each Multiple Purchase Offer Could Void the Contract.
Sometimes buyers photocopy an earnest money deposit and submit a copy of the same check with each purchase offer. Since there is only one earnest money deposit check, only one offer actually has a deposit securing the purchase offer. The other offers have no deposits, which may invalidate and / or void the multiple purchase offers.
Multiple Purchase Offers Could Result in Multiple Acceptances.
If the offers contain no contract contingencies that would allow the buyer to cancel the transaction without consequences, a buyer could end up in contract on multiple purchase offers. In that event, all the sellers may expect the buyer to deposit funds and close each of the transactions. Buyers who refuse to perform could find themselves liable to the sellers and / or in court.
Protection Available for Multiple Purchase Offers
Many buyers are eager to buy bank-owned homes. One of the problems with foreclosure homes is REOs tend to draw a lot of interest from buyers, and the REO banks can take a long time to respond.
The answer for some buyers is to write a multiple purchase offer and submit on a bunch of bank-owned homes at the same time. These buyers might be able to write multiple purchase offers that could avoid liability for bad faith if they are written as conditional offers. This means the offer would contain language that makes the offer subject to the buyer's acceptance after the REO banks accepts the offer. It lets the REO banks know that the buyer has submitted multiple purchase offers.
For more information, please consult a real estate lawyer.
Many times you put money down to bind the offer. Just realize your deposit money could be at risk if you do not move forward on an offer that was accepted. Generally it is minimal 500- 1000 dollars.
and if your question is as buyer who is looking into buying only one of the homes the answer is still yes.
"IT IS ALWAYS EASIER TO GET OUT OF A DEAL THEN INTO ONE" most agents would like to tell you that but you have to look out for your own best interests.
There is always the risk of loosing your good faith deposit, but most offers will have contingency clauses in them, ie: inspections, mutually acceptable p&s, financing, specific dates, just to name a few.
There may be two homes that you like equally both just came on and your offer may not be accepted on one of them, or inspections may have issues making one a better home for you or a short sale with uncertainty of bank approval.
Typically it is rear that your situation comes up, but when it does and it is right for you to put multi offers in - then go for it, but it is also benefical to have a good buyer broker and an attorney you feel comfortable with to handle the p&s
Putting more than 1 offer on a single house doesn't seem logical to me. Can you expand on your reasoning?
If you mean can a seller consider more than one offer at a time on their property, the answer is yes. Multiple buyers may make offers on the same property and the Seller may choose who they want to negotiate with or which offer they wish to accept.
If you are asking can you make a second offer on a home if your first one were rejected or countered, the answer is still yes. This is called negotiating.
If you're not working with a dedicated buyer broker I would strongly advise you that it's really in your best interest to do so. At no cost to yourself, you would have an experienced expert on your side to consul you, answer questions, negotiate on your behalf, and supply you with tried and true resources you'll need such as inspectors, lawyers, lenders, contractors etc. If you're not sure how to find a great Broker, you might want to read my thoughts on the matter. I've posted a link below.
Hope I answered your question and best of luck to you.
On the other hand, if you are the seller having more than one offer on your home is a good thing! When that happens, typically the owner will either choose the best of the offers and accept that one, or ask all the potential buyers to come back with their 'highest and best' offer and choose one when these offers come in.