Can you revise an offer on a short sale without a counter?

Asked by Ja, Sacramento, CA Sun Apr 5, 2009

We placed an offer on a short sale about 2 months ago. The seller agreed and we are now awaiting the banks response. We know the sellers short sale package was approved and the bank is just working on the offer. We had thought we were the only offer till last week when we found out we were 1 of a few and were not the highest. My question is, can we revise our offer without a counter offer? Our original offer was the full ask price on the house so we had thought it was a good offer. We are worried the bank will accept the highest offer without giving us a chance to put the best offer out there. If we do revise the offer, will the bank try to get more money from us then?

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Milton Knight, Agent, Coral Gables, FL
Tue Jul 7, 2009
Dear Ja:

From the Sellers points...there should not be a problem when a Buyer wants to revise the offer to higher price. I am assuming that you have a fully executed contract with the Seller contingent on the Seller's lender approval. Therefore, one way to revise your offer without opening the existing contract could be through an addendum to the contract whereby the parties agree to ammend the purchase price but leave all other terms unchanged. Contact your Realtor as soon as possible so that they can assist you in doing this. Time is very important if the Sellers lender is reviewing the offers on the table and is about to make a decision.

Now, it should be noted that while the highest purchase price offer may appear best on its face, it may not always be the one the Seller (or Seller's Lender) goes with. It is possible that a higher purchase price will in fact net the Seller less if there are Seller contributions involved. There are also other terms of the offer to be considered (besides price) that may affect a seller's lender decision.

Concerning your qestion: "If we do revise the offer, will the bank try to get more money from us then?" The bank can always try to get more money (and they usually do), but it is up to you to accept their terms or not. Be careful not to get caught up in the heat of the moment and try to use your best judgment so that you make a decision that you will be happy with for years to come. Good Luck!!!
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Keisha Mathe…, Agent, Elk Grove, CA
Tue Apr 7, 2009
Ja, if the bank is already reviewing an offer, the agent submitted what was, to them, the best offer. The agent should have done their "countering" prior to submitting the "best" offer so that a situation like this did not arise.

It would not be fair to the current "best" offer to allow another buyer to come in and override their offer without allowing them an opportunity to increase theirs as well. Do you see where this is going? It doesn't really end fairly.

Unfortunately, short sales are new to most agents, and the majority of agents who take them on don't have enough daily experience in them to set up appropriate processes to safeguard the transaction.

I would recommend you look for another property and have your agent do a little more investigating of the listing agent's experience and process prior to making an offer.
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Erin, , South Lake Tahoe, CA
Mon Apr 6, 2009
Dear Ja: Certainly--you can always revise your offer any time before it is accepted by the Seller and the Lender in this case. Banks always take the offer with the highest and best net proceeds to them. You should offer at least market value. Sometimes the prices of homes are below market value. My statistics show that homes in Sacramento County that are median value and below are selling on average for 101% of listing price. In addition to that, the number of sales from March of 2008 have increased by 28%, so you need to be aggressive. On top of that, the median value of homes in Sacramento County went up for the first time in 12 months in March. Buyer's market---hah!
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Patti Philli…, , Carlsbad, CA
Sun Apr 5, 2009
Ja, If you are willing to pay more for the home, you could ask your agent to revise page one of the offer and offer more. The listing agent may or may not let your agent know where you stand, and what it would take to put you in the first position. My feeling always is with short sales- and if I have my seller's permission- to try to get the best I can for the home, so that the bank is most likely to accept the offer and not have my clients foreclosed on.

Different agents feel differently about this, but I feel that it is my job to make it work for my sellers.

So, you can try and see what it would take, and then put in a higher offer if the listing agent will do it.

Good luck.

Patti Phillips
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