Question Details

Heather, Home Buyer in Texas

My husband and I made an offer on a house. Can we make our final offer even if there is a contract pending?

Asked by Heather, Texas Thu Sep 13, 2007

My husband and I made and offer on a house. The same day another offer came in as well. The next morning, the sellers sat down with both offers. Our realtor said that the seller counteroffered with the other people because they were paying cash. They have now come to an agreement and have a contract on the house. We were never even given the options to give them our final offer. We really want this house. Can we still submit our final offer to them? If so, can they take our offer, or do they have the option to let the other people meet our offer or else they back out. Do we have any options at all? Please help. It's been 4 days since there agreement.

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you can certainly deliver another offer with the request that it be accepted as a backup offer. The sellers have no obligation to do so and may have a solid deal going but in this market a back up offer is something i'd like to have one of!

as a practical matter though i think a better tack is to let the seller know yours is a standing offer and ask to be alerted if the deal they have now fails. that stops the seller from using your offer as leverage to strongarm the current buyers if they ask for stuff after the deal is struck. better to let the curent deal fall out under its own weight and then go back with your offer.

chin up, there are many great homes out there and one will come available. patience...especially in this is a GREAT time to be a buyer.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Sep 13, 2007
The best you can hope for is that you are next in line should this contract fail in some fashion. It wouldn't be the first time the second offer became the first.

However, don't go putting in any more offers at this time! First of all they can't accept it because they agreed to take the cash offer first - their hands are tied. However - if you tell them "oh by the way, I'll pay you this much more" - and the first deal falls through - you just cost yourself some moolah!

If however, the first deal goes through - this wasnt' meant to be your home - it was meant to be theirs. Not to fret - you'll find another.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Sep 13, 2007
It's one of the reasons if you like the house to make the best offer right upfront. You can always make a back-up offer, but without knowing the terms of the accepted one it may not be a good idea. You should have your agent stay on top of the situation in case it fall apart.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Sep 26, 2007
If the offer has been accepted and there is a legal binding contract in place, I generally do not recommend that buyers make an offer.

As a buyers agent, I will follow up routinely w/ the sellers agent and advise the sellers agent that I have buyers with serious interest, but they aren't writing a back up offer at this time, as they would like to keep their options open if something else comes on the market. Each time I contact the sellers agent, I let the sellers agent know that they buyers have not found anything yet.

This lets the seller and sellers agent know that the interest is strong, and if the existing contract falls apart, we are sure to hear from them immediately.

The reason I don't recommmend actually writing the back up offer, is that once the seller knows they have that in hand, with term and prices, it becomes a negotatiating tool for the seller to use with the exisitng buyers. In other words, your back up offer might be the very glue that holds the exisitng contract together if it got shaky. The buyers in contract will be told that the sellers have another contract, for a a better price (or whatever is factually true) and if the buyers don't agree to the sellers terms of "not fixing the dishwasher, broker tiles, and gutters" they will simply kill the contract and move to the back up that is waiting in the wings.

If the sellers know a seriously intrerested party is in the wings, but have no guarantee that you will step up to the plate, they have less incentive and confidence to strongarm the current buyer. While the contract may very well go through (sorry!), you don't want to be the negotiating tool that helps the seller make that first contract work in his favor and not to yours.

Your buyers agent can keep reinforcing the message that you want the property, but concurrently let the seller know that you are still looking. If the contract goes weak, the seller will reach out through their agent.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Sep 15, 2007
Deborah Madey, Real Estate Pro in Brick, NJ
You can write a back up offer subject to the collapse of the first offer. Maybe there is an inspection contingency on the contract.

We always advise our buyer to write their best offer especially when there are multiple offers. An offer with all cash is hard to beat.
Web Reference:
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Sep 13, 2007
Pam Winterba…, Real Estate Pro in Danville, VA
Hi Heather:

This is why we, as Realtors, always advise our clients to put their best offer in when they make an offer on a house they really like.

Unfortunately, since there is a contract in place, the only thing you can do is to waif. The seller has the contractual obligation to follow through with the other offer. The only way you might get the house is if the buyer can not meet the contract terms or if something goes wrong during the inspection period and both sides can not come to an agreement on that.

Some people might suggest a back up offer, but I will go against that as that only gives the seller ammunition to force the other side to come through.

Be patient, ask your Realtor to keep a close eye on the property in case it goes back on the market, then be ready to make the offer again.

0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Sep 13, 2007
Sylvia Barry,…, Real Estate Pro in Marin, CA
Hi Heather,

A seller is never obligated to counter any offer. However, for whatever reason (cash terms, higher number, quicker close, fewer contingencies....), this seller found the other offer more appealing and chose to work with that one.

At this point, both parties are bound to their agreement, and unless either party cancels out of this contract during the attorney/inspection review period or some contingency goes unmet, there are no other options for you.

Sorry, I've lost a house before, and it's not fun.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Sep 13, 2007
In today's market Cash is King.
By your question you really don`t know if they even paid more than yourself.

"They have now come to an agreement and have a contract on the house."

That means it`s done, they do have a inspection period, they could cancel.
There is really nothing you can do. I would have expected that your Realtor would have told you that.

I hope you find your dream home
Good Luck
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Sep 13, 2007
Mr.P, Other/Just Looking in Arizona
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