Home Buying in Edison>Question Details

vh, Home Buyer in Edison, NJ

Can a buyer agent legally eligible to counter the offer without Seller's knowledge?

Asked by vh, Edison, NJ Thu Jun 6, 2013

Can a buyer communicate to a seller by postal mail about the offer / counter offer submitted?

Help the community by answering this question:


If your question is about a seller receiving an offer, or countering an offer, just ask that it be put in writing. A simple letter stating that the offer was received, rejected or countered with the sellers signature.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jun 7, 2013

The actual "question" posted does not make too much sense, maybe you want to clarify that a little bit...

But the statement underneath it…

"Can a buyer communicate to a seller by postal mail about the offer / counter offer submitted?""

Sounds as though the buyer was unhappy with not getting an offer accepted or the response and contacted the seller directly to discuss with the seller. If that is the case it should not be.. but is it "illegal" ? probably not.

The listing agent is contracted by the seller to list advertise and negotiate the sale of the property as the sale representative. But, no one can really stop a buyer from speaking directly with the seller although that may sour the seller on that particular buyer.

Either way, the deal would go through the Realtors involved if another agreement is struck.

John Sacktig
Orange Key Realty
Direct: 732-213-1409
1 vote Thank Flag Link Fri Jun 7, 2013
The buyer really shouldn't reach out (via mail or any other manner) directly to the seller. The seller will expect their agent to handle all inquiries.

So, I am not clear as to what exactly you're questioning?

Do you think your buyer's agent hasn't presented your offer?
Are you asking about the counter offer from the seller or TO the seller?
You can always sit and discuss this with the agent's Broker.

Perhaps with some clarification, I can better answer your question.

Bottom line - There should be no counter offers without either side giving their permission.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Jun 6, 2013
If both the seller's agent and the buyer's agent were from the same brokerage, that's called dual agency.

An agent cannot not counter an offer without the buyers or sellers knowledge. If you agree to the counter, accept it and give the seller 24 hours to sign. If you don't agree with the counter, continue to negotiate the price though your agent.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Jun 8, 2013
Thank you all. Let me clarify further (may be I was not clear!!)
1. A listing agent became a buyer's agent. Since it was listed by 2 agents , the other agent became a "seller agent". So, "Buyer agent" was appointed to the buyer on the fly during an open house.
2. The counter offer(s) the buyer got was not signed by the seller. It was more through e-mail
3. The buyer is unsure if buyer agent really presented the offer to the seller. Is the counter offer originated really from the seller or the seller agent (and buyer agent) coming up with a higher number.

Laura Giannotta: Great. Buyer could have done that.
John Sacktig : Thank you. Buyer being unhappy with the counter offer presented by e-mail is a possible scenario. The buyer is not really able to trust the buyer/seller agent.
Larry Tollen : "Seller not wanting to hear directly from buyer" but still wants to sell the house. . .and pays the agent 5% for that reason. I don't see your logical view on that statement from an economic perspective. I think seller goes to an agent only if all options to sell the house on his own is ruled out due to lack of time, lack of market, etc. Please Note : No offense made to your statement. With due respect, I have a different opinion .
Poonacha U Bollera : Sorry for being unclear with my question. Hope I clarified it better now.
Maria Gilda Racelis-Owner: I sense there was an ethical violation here. You brought up a good point. But who monitors this? How is it measured in real estate business ?
Debra (Debbie) Rose: I believe the buyer agent hasn't presented the offer. The point well taken from your statement is that buyer could have represented it to agent's broker. On your bottom line statement, how does the buyer know that the seller had given permission to counter the offer?

Thank you once again for all your thoughts.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jun 7, 2013
All communication involving an offer should go through the agents representing each party. Since a client does not buy or sell a home often; a buyer or seller can make substantial negotiating mistakes which could cost them money or potentially stop the transaction from happening.

Seasoned Realtors negotiate contracts all the time and have the experience and expertise to represent you.

If you feel you are not being represented well, it may be time for a different agent.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jun 7, 2013
Buyer agents work for the buyer and have nothing to do with the seller. Listing agents represent the seller. Your question makes no sense. Can a buyer try to communicate with a seller by the mail, sure,they can. Should they? No, it's likely to do more harm than good and the vast majority of sellers absolutely don't want to hear from you, if they did they would be selling without an agent.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jun 7, 2013
If the buyer authorizes, their agent can make a counter offer. Has the sellers agent refused to accept a counter offer?
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jun 7, 2013
If the seller has instructed the listing agent to have all offers mailed to them directly, and the listing agent conveys this instruction to the buyers' agent, then this practice is not unethical. I could not answer if this practice is legal.

On the other hand, if the buyer's agent bypass the listing agent, this, in my opinion, can pose a potential ethics violation.

Moreover, if both buyers and sellers are represented by the agents, all communication should be coursed via proper channels. Hence, the word representation. This is the standard practice.

I hope this helps.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jun 7, 2013
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