Can a Seller accept other offers during contract negotiation?

Asked by Rashaad Hampton, Falls Church, VA Mon Mar 10, 2014

We made an offer on a home. THe seller made a counter. Most of the Contract was signed by both parties. THe only section that wasn't signed was the section for Radon Testing...which I guess was a counter to their counter.
Can the seller still accept other offers, when they have a partially signed contract with another party?

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Giorgio Danso, Agent, Fairfax, VA
Wed Jun 18, 2014
During contract negotiations, yes, a seller can accept other offers. Please keep in mind, until all parties involved in the negotiations have accepted the terms, initialed and signed (no verbal commitments) the contract, there are no guarantees. If a better offer is presented to the seller, it is possible that the seller will withdraw from current negotiations. Remember, in real estate, TIME IS OF THE ESSENNCE!

Giorgio Danso Realtor®, ABR®
Portfolio Realty Solutions
571-263-6868 Direct
703-637-8100 Office
1 vote
Rashaad Hamp…, Renter, Falls Church, VA
Mon Mar 10, 2014
Thanks all for the responses. To answer your questions, Yes, we did have a realtor. However, we terminated the relationship. We felt we lost the house because she was not responding in a timely manner. Her lack of responsiveness allowed other offers to be made during while we were finalizing the signatures. We have a new realtor now.
1 vote
I agree! I think it's bad form to accept other offers during a negotiation,and if the seller does that to me, I will run for the nearest exit! ;)
Flag Tue May 30, 2017
Conniemwilli…, Renter, Florence, SC
Fri May 6, 2016
We had a contract, that got kicked out due to the fact that the seller says the first buyer found a lender and wanted back in after they asked her to sign a contract release. Before and during this time we were in negotiating. This listing agent assured us that they wouldn't have a problem getting the contract released because the contract had expired and they had no problem returning their Earnest money. The listing agent sent my agent a message telling him not to tell us just yet if we could get the house, she wanted to wait to see if the first buyer loan would be approved. Is this legal?
0 votes
We were scheduled to close on May 31 and the first buyer came back in and is scheduled to close June 6th. Is this legal?
Flag Fri May 6, 2016
Ali Daneshza…, Agent, Chantilly, VA
Tue Apr 21, 2015
Until a contract is ratified the seller can consider any offer
0 votes
can you find out who the other party is? who is negotiating against you?
Flag Tue Jan 17, 2017
Johnrice5874, Home Buyer, Elkridge, MD
Sat Mar 28, 2015
If you have a contract in play and another offer comes into play - You have a fiduciary responsibility to your client (the seller) to let him know you are in a multiple bid situation and you should go back to all offers on the table and make sure they give you their Highest and Best Bid. You want your client to get the highest price for their house. To me, its a little dirty to just throw another bid out that is in play without giving that buyer the opportunity give a higher bid. It sounds like the law is clear in regards to having a Ratified Contract and Earnest Money Deposited but the ethical question is Did that agent uphold his fiduciary responsible to his client in regards to notifying all offers that there are multiple bids to get your client the best price has been broken. You can hide behind the Law but we all know if he didn't give all offers the opportunity to give there highest and best bid then as an agent you are not representing your client
0 votes
Diana Hellman, Agent, Larchmont, NY
Wed Jun 18, 2014
Until you have a fully executed signed contract in real estate and a deposit put in escrow, the seller can negotiate with other potential buyers. I assume you have an attorney. You should be getting legal advice on this matter.
0 votes
The message below is for a house in Indiana.
Flag Thu Jul 6, 2017
A deposit was in escrow, but additional monies were spent for inspections and appraisals causing further negotiations. The Realtor accepted backup offers without notifying us that there was another party in play for the property.
Flag Thu Jul 6, 2017
Ruth and Per…, Agent, Los Gatos, CA
Wed Jun 18, 2014
Unless both parties, i.e. Buyer and Seller have signed
an agreement, there is No Contract in place.

Hence, then a seller can Negotiate with Another Buyer and also accept
another contract.

Good luck.

0 votes
Mark Queener, Agent, Ashburn, VA
Mon Jun 9, 2014
The seller has the right to withdraw the offer at anytime before the final initials and ratification date are inked to the contract. Let me know if you need assistance.

Mark Queener
0 votes
Kenneth Wang, Agent, Chantilly, VA
Sun Jun 1, 2014
Hi Rashaad,

Every time a contract is countered, it's basically the same as presenting a completely new offer. As the other agents mentioned, there is no such thing as a partially signed contract. The seller reserves the right to either accept, reject, or simply accept a different offer. It's professional Realtor's courtesy to communicate this between the parties involved.

Let me know how else I can help. Your Personal NoVa Realtor.

Best regards,

Kenneth Wang
(571) 251-1113
0 votes
Paulina-Marie…, Agent, Sterling, VA
Wed Apr 30, 2014
Thankfully, there is no such thing as a "partially signed contract". A contract is either signed and accepted in it's entirety(with or without contingencies), or it is not. Right up until that point of acceptance, the seller is free to consider all offers presented. Unfortunately, in your case, this worked against you.

Paulina Noel
Realtor & Relocation Specialist
Healthcare | Military | Government Contractors
Keller Williams Realty, Dulles | 703.868.2233
0 votes
Faiza Alvi, Agent, Woodbridge, VA
Tue Mar 11, 2014

Whenever one party (seller or buyer) counter or counter back, the other party reserves the right (in your case the seller) to accept the counter, reject it or work with an other offer. Let's say if they have countered you: then for 3 days they must wait for your response and not accept another offer. But since you have made a counter back, that gives seller the option to kick you out and accept another offer.
I always explain all of the aspects of the process to my clients (seller and/or buyer) so they understand what to expect and not to have any misunderstanding.
I don't see (from your question) that your previous agent was at fault or did something wrong, it was just that you loose your right once you counter to the other party.
I hope this helps and good luck with your home purchase.

?Faiza Alvi
PH: ?(?703 ?)? 389-7973?
Realtor® ? |? NBI Realty
PWAR Million Dollar Club Member 2011 2013
0 votes
In our case, we accepted their counter within 48 hours of the sellers offer, but another offer came in the day before. We came back at a full price offer which is also the offer the second buyer put in, and they sold the house to them! Does that seem fair?
Flag Mon Oct 31, 2016
Don Stewart, Agent, McLean, VA
Mon Mar 10, 2014
In a word, yes. Many times another offer comes in while negotiating with a previous offer. It is good to remember that an offer is just that, an offer, until all pages are accepted and signed/initialed by both parties it is Not a contract..
0 votes
John Ginty, Agent, Reston, VA
Mon Mar 10, 2014

Are you currently working with a Realtor who is representing you in this transaction? If so, you will need to discuss this with your agent. If not, please give me a call at 703-307-3449 and I will be happy to help you out.

John Ginty
Keller Williams Capital Properties Fairfax
10300 Eaton Pl, Suite 120
Fairfax, VA 22030
0 votes
Sarah Knobbs, Agent, Chantilly, VA
Mon Mar 10, 2014
Yes, the seller can still accept other offers in this situation. A contract is either signed, or it is not; there is no "partially signed." Once complete agreement is reached on all terms of the contract and both parties have signed the contract in its entirety, it is ratified and both parties move forward to remove any contingencies on the way to settlement. In the absence of a "kick out" clause*, the seller cannot accept any other offers at this point. Your agent should be navigating you through this process to ensure that each checkpoint is completed, starting here with contract ratification.

*There are cases where the buyer needs the money from selling their previous home to pay for the new house. In this case, a contingency will be added to the contract to protect the buyer from being contractually obligated to buy something he/she cannot afford. A "kick out" clause may be added by the seller at this point, which would allow them to continue to advertise the home and receive other offers until the original buyer can sell his/her home and remove that contingency.
0 votes
Misty Mount, Agent, Yorktown, VA
Mon Mar 10, 2014
Absolutely. Until the contract is fully ratified.
0 votes
Dorota Khan, Agent, Chantilly, VA
Mon Mar 10, 2014
Yes, seller can accept all other offers until contract is ratified.
0 votes
Tim Horinko, Agent, Fairfax, VA
Mon Mar 10, 2014
Always double check with a real estate attorney on contractual questions.

If all areas of the contract have not been signed off and/or initialed to by all parties the contract is not considered ratified. The seller can accept a different offer if in fact your contract is not ratified. Do you have a Realtor representing you? Did you know that you can have a Realtor represent you and the Seller pays their commission?

Keller Williams Fairfax Gateway
Tim Horinko Broker/Owner
0 votes
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