Can a seller accept another offer after I accented their counter offer?

Asked by Test, Virginia Wed Feb 6, 2008

I made an offer on a friday and a few hours later the seller(a bank) sent me a counter offer. I singed and returned the counter the next morning. (Sat) The bank was closed so their agent said he would present Mon. On Sunday another offer came in. The agent accepted and presented both offers on Monday. The bank then asked both of us for best offer and I was outbid. Wasn't the bank obligated to their own couter offer that I signed?

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Cindy Jones, Agent, Alexandira, VA
Thu Feb 7, 2008
When you are dealing with a short sale or foreclosure the process is different then when you are buying a home directly from the seller. Banks are looking to get the absolute best deal on their inventory. In many cases there is another form that needs to be signed that isn't part of the standard contract that leaves a buyer open to being outbid at the last minute.

If you find another property and it is a bank owned make sure you time your offer so that it gets back to the bank prior to a weekend. If you aren't represented by an agent find one who has experience with foreclosures to help guide you through the extra issues surrounding buying a foreclosure.
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Frank Bigans…, Agent, Newport News, VA
Thu Feb 7, 2008
I’m sorry to hear that your offer wasn’t accepted, but an offer is never “accepted” until it is “ratified.” It sounds like you’re not using a Realtor so to try and help you with your next offer, here’s a few tips.

1) Use a Realtor and preferably, use a Realtor who’s an Accredited Buyer Representative who holds the ABR designation. A “buyer’s agent” will rely of the seller for their commission, so they basically work for you for free. Visit to search for an ABR accredited Realtor near you.

2) Never submit an offer on a Friday or weekend, unless you can personally present the offer to the seller and seller’s agent. If the seller wants to think about your offer, then that should tell you your offer is not strong enough to grab the seller’s attention.

3) Always make your first offer the best offer. You only get one chance to make a good first impression.

I’m curious about your offer…
• Did you submit an offer below asking price and if so;
• Did you submit an offer below asking price because you “assumed” the seller wouldn’t be paying a commission to a buyer’s agent;
• Did you ask for closing costs from the seller and also submit an offer for less than their asking price;

You may have inadvertently disclosed some personal facts about you and your offer that was actually used against you. Using the seller's Realtor is just like using the same attorney in a civil court of law. Not good!

You should always have your own Realtor when buying a property so that your best interests are protected.

Frank Biganski, Realtor ABR
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James Downing, Agent, Dunedin, FL
Wed Feb 6, 2008
Nancy answered this already - Until you have received the SIGNED counter-offer; the contract is not binding.
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Nancy Hendri…, Agent, Fredericksburg, VA
Wed Feb 6, 2008
At that point delivery of your acceptance did not happen leaving the offer un ratified and the bank able to take a better offer. Basically, the offer would need to be signed by all parties, ratified and delivered back to the parties of the contract to make it binding.

P.S. The agent is required to present all offers even on the day of closing.
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