Question Details

Pat Broe, Both Buyer and Seller in New York, NY

WHAT DOES IT MEAN IF A HOUSE HAS A VERBAL AGREEMENT ONLY AND CAN STILL BE SHOWN?

Asked by Pat Broe, New York, NY Fri Sep 14, 2007

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An offer is just that, an offer. It is not a legally binding contract and no earnest money has been put down. In NY, inspections are generally done prior to the signing of contracts. Where I am in Westchester County, it generally takes about 10 days for an offer to become a contract because we bring in attorneys once an accepted offer has been reached. During that limbo period between an accepted offer and signed contract, other potential buyers are allowed to make offers. A higher or better offer can nudge out the existing offer.

If you find that you are truly "in love" with a house that has an accepted offer on it - and you wish to make an offer - DON'T LOW-BALL!!! If a house has an accepted offer, a low-ball offer will get you no where. I'm not suggesting you overpay either. If this is a house you truly want and are planning to be in for more than a couple of years - make you BEST OFFER. If you don't get it - at least you will know that you gave the best offer you could.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Fri Sep 14, 2007
It most professions - if it ain't written it didn't happen. I can tell you from my experience in several different industries over my lengthy career - this is true in any state of our nation.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Fri Sep 14, 2007
It means the seller has accepted an offer from a seller, but is still showing the house in case the deal poops out. We will even show houses in contract for back up offers.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Sep 14, 2007
In California all Real Estate contract must be in writing to be legal. A verbal agreement is just words communicated and it does not consititute a contract and is not enforceable.
Web Reference: http://pamiwnterbauer.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Sep 14, 2007
Pam Winterba…, Real Estate Pro in San Ramon, CA
MVP'08
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Hi,
You asked another question about a NJ property. Does this question pertain to NJ? If so, we have here the automatic attorney review period for residential contracts when real estate licensees complete the standard real estate contract forms. In NJ, a contract is not binding until the conclusion of attorney reveiw or the time allowed for attorney review expires. During attorney review, some sellers choose to show property and others determine they will cease showing their property. The seller decides this.

If there is a verbal agreement, it could also mean that a written offer was delivered, followed by verbal counteroffers, and the actual final contract has not been intialed with all the changes, even though the parties reached agreement.

Few Realtors in this area are willing to present a verbal offer, let alone come to agreement without a written offer. We are not obligated to present verbal offers (we are obligated to present written offers), and many agents decline to do so.

The seller is not obligated to sell to a buyer when only a verbal agreement has been reached. In fact, in New Jersey, even after signing of both buyer and seller, the contract can be voided by an attorney during the review period. Some sellers will continue to show; others not. Some sellers show for back-up only; other sellers shop the offer, using the agreement in hand as a negotiating tool.

The Realtor who explained it has a verbal agreement is simply providing full disclosure. You might want to ask if the purpose for showing is back up only or if the seller will seriously consider accepting your offer, if you made one, in lieu of the one in hand that is not signed.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Sep 14, 2007
Deborah Madey, Real Estate Pro in Red Bank, NJ
MVP'08
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Not to sound humorous but a verbal agreement "is not worth the paper that it is not written on". Neither party is obligated to honor whatever they supposedly agreed to and either party may be under the wrong impression about the specific details. In other words, you do not have a binding contract. The Realtor Code of Ethics and numerous legal precedents clearly demonstrate that agreements should be put into writing so that all parties know exactly what they have agreed to. The law also covers what constitutes a legal contract. Please consult a Real Estate professional and/ or an Attorney for the specifics.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Sep 14, 2007
Hello Pat:

Same as the other two agents, a Verbal Agreement is NOT binding in California, so a house can still be shown.

However, from your previous question, are you interested in NJ rule? If not, which state? The right agent can give you the correct answer.

Either way, even with a binding contract, it still does not prevent a seller from showing his/her house to interested parties. The contract can fall out and they might want to get a back up offers.

The sellers just can't take another primary offer. Some of the sellers don't like to be put in the fish bowl, then they will ask their Realtor not to show the house while there is a contract on the house; but legally, the house can be shown even with a binding contract. .

Hope this helps.

Sylvia
Web Reference: http://www.SylviaBarry.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Sep 14, 2007
Sylvia Barry,…, Real Estate Pro in Novato, CA
MVP'08
Contact
Pat, I have to agree with Ken. In my state of Iowa, a verbal agreement has no legal binding and should therefore be presented or documented in writing. That "verbal" agreement can mean lots of things. Sometimes,a "potential buyer" likes the house so much that upon selling his own house, he would like to make an offer on this one. So, he "verbally" agrees with the owner on this contingency.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Sep 14, 2007
Pat:

Verbal Offers to purchase are not legal in my state (SC) and probably not in yours either. So until an offer is made in writing and accepted in writing by the Seller, the property can still be shown.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Sep 14, 2007
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