if a house is under contract, can I make a higher offer and is the selling agent obligated to tell the owner?

Asked by Janet, 30327 Sat May 2, 2009

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Jim Alexander, , Atlanta, GA
Sat May 2, 2009
Yes! The law says that the agent must present all offers. If accepted, it would need to be in a back-up position, so if the primary offer died, the back-up offer would then be in first position. You may want to write it so you can terminate at anytime you like. You may not want to be tied-up as the back-up and not be able to terminate if you found something else that you wanted to make an offer on.
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GumDropz, Home Buyer, Loganville, GA
Mon Feb 11, 2013
BUT, can anyone enter and view the home that is under contract? What if that person damages or alters the home but the person contracted to buy the house is not made aware or is outside their 10 day "change your mind" period?
0 votes
Bryan Furse, Agent, Atlanta, GA
Wed May 6, 2009
YES! You can ALWAYS make a higher offer!

YES! The selling agent is obligated to take ALL WRITTEN offers to the seller,
no matter what: higher, lower, insulting, complimentary, halucinary... by law,
all written offers MUST be presented to the seller.

To make a ridiculous example, if you offered, in writing, to give the seller $1 and punch them in the face, as extreme and insulting as it would be, the agent MUST take this offer to the seller NO MATTER WHAT, all the way until closing and the property is no longer in the seller's possession. I wouldn't recommend such an offer, but I'm just making the point that the agent is obligated to present all written offers.

Inversely, there's no telling what the contract on the property might say and they might not be able to accept your offer, but the agent is bound by law to present it, as long as it's in writing.

The only possible exception to this is if the seller has signed a power of attorney giving the agent authority to act on their behalf and not present offers. Even then, the regular law might take precedence. Of course, I've never heard of such a power of attorney being granted, so it's purely theorhetical and extremely unlikely.
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John Cobb, Agent, Warner Robins, GA
Sun May 3, 2009
The agents probably won't tell you what the current agreed upon price is on the current contract. You can make a backup offer and the agent is required to present the offer, but there is not requirement for them to respond to your offer. You may just want to ask the agent if they are accepting back up offers before going through the trouble of writing one.
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Julie Britta…, Agent, Atlanta, GA
Sat May 2, 2009
Hey Janet. Absolutely. It's called a back-up offer and by law, the listing agent must present the offer.

Let me know if you need any help or have any other questions.

Julie Brittain
Keller Williams Realty First Atlanta

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