How are Counter Offers Rejected?
The seller is not required to respond to an offer. Does that surprise you? Of course, it doesn't mean that the brokers might not have earned a commission if the seller refuses to respond to a full-price-and-terms offer. The brokers would likely still demand payment. A non-response doesn't alleviate the seller's responsibility to the broker. Here are the most common ways to reject an offer:
Many purchase contracts provide a spot near the bottom for the seller to initial that the offer has been rejected.
Sellers can also write "rejected" across the face of the contract, initial and date it.
Most offers specify a date of expiration of offer in the event the seller elects not to respond.
What About Multiple Counter Offers?
Depending on your specific state laws, sellers may or may not be able to issue multiple counter offers. In California, it's fairly straight-forward. Sellers can counter more than one offer and each counter can be different. Even if one of the buyers accepts the seller's counter under these circumstances, the seller does not have to accept the buyer's acceptance. For more specific advice, consult a real estate lawyer.
How are Counter Offers Accepted?
If the counter offer is issued by the seller, the buyer can simply accept the counter and deliver it back to the party designated to receive it. Time is always of the essence. Counter offers contain expirations just like purchase offers, which means the seller can accept another offer while the buyer is deciding whether to sign the counter offer.
When I've called agents to find out availability of property and whether any offers have been received, it's very common (especially in seller's markets) to hear, "We have a counter out." Some agents would feel discouraged at that news. But I've snatched homes out from under the noses of competing buyers by immediately submitting an offer from my buyer while the counter "was out." What commonly happens in these situations is the seller accepts the second buyer's offer and then simply withdraws her counter offer from consideration, kicking the first buyer out of the game.
Do you mean resend as in send it to the buyer again or recind as in end negotation and go into contract with another?
The main point is that there is no contract till all term and conditions have been agreed upon by both parties and both parties have received acknowledgement of the agreement.
It can get confusing but remember that some one is making an offer, whether its the buyer offering to buy or the seller offering different terms. As long as the offers are going back and forth there is no contract. Either party can resend the offer or recind the offer up until the point that the contract has been accepted with no changes and the offeror has been notified that the offer has been accepted.
This is my understanding of contract law and if you have further questions I suggest you ask a lawyer.
The one thing that I'd like to add to this discussion is that it would be my hope that a buyer in a counter offer situation is working with a realtor that is actively in contact with the seller's agent. It's important that the seller be aware that the buyer is taking their time contemplating the offer. Also, it's important for the buyer's agent to know if the seller receives another offer and may want to accept it over the counter offer. As everyone has commented the seller does have the right to rescind the counter offer if it hasn't been accepted by the buyer. But as I think it's very important to remain in contact with the seller through their agent during the 7 day period. Like Jim mentioned, there may be someone else out there that can move in and present an offer that is more attractive to the seller.
Liz and Kaye gave you good answers. The Seller can do whatever he/she wants if the Buyer is unresponsive. If you do not want to take the Counter offer as it is written, write your own and submit it to the Seller. If you decline the Counter Offer, your Agent should let the Seller's Agent know this.
Also the Seller does not have to accept even if you have accepted/signed the Counter Offer from him/her if there are multiple Counter Offers out there. The question is do you want the property or not? Why did you wait to respond? If the Seller has come back with a second Counter at a different price, your agent needs to call the Seller's agent to see what is really going on and you can proceed from there.