Do offers get reviewed by seller's lawyer?

Asked by Anna, 02110 Sun Oct 21, 2012

I recently made an offer on a newly constructed condo. My agent told me that the sales office sent my offer to their lawyer for review before any further negotiation can be done. And the process takes at least 10 business days. Is this normal? What is the purpose of this? Thanks!

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Michael Pall…, Agent, Boston, MA
Sun Oct 21, 2012
Hi Anna,

I can only guess that the developer has authorized his attorney to review all offers before submitting them to him in an effort to handle the consideration of all offers most efficiently. Even so, there's no reason for this to take 10 days. I would ask your agent to get a better explanation for this time-consuming process.

Good luck!
1 vote
Heath Coker, Agent, Falmouth, MA
Thu Oct 25, 2012
Many times a lawyer will act quicky on an offer because "time is of the essence."
The 10 days may be just a range to allow them to act when things get busy.
One thought: If the builder takes that long to respond to an offer, how long will they take to respond to a punch list?

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Territory.c…, Agent, MA,
Tue Oct 23, 2012
Usually not but in the case of new development I am not surprised. The developer may have an attorney they trust over their "agent" to review all legal documents. The 10 business days does not seem normal. Perhaps they are planning to go right to Purchase and Sale Contract instead of signing the offer first.
Hopefully you are using an exclusive buyer's agent (not someone who works in the sales office of the property / lot you are purchasing)

Good luck!
Massachusetts Exclusive Buyer Brokerage
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Scott A. Nel…, , 02155
Mon Oct 22, 2012
Sometimes this is done with a new development due to need for certain types of financing. An example of this might be that the property is awaiting FHA approval. You didn't specify if "your agent" is your buyers agent or the listing agent but you should get a clear answer as to why this takes 10 days. Also without knowing any specifics of your offer or how it's structured that could affect the process of getting an offer accepted. Many builders are going the route of having an attorney review all offers, some take some time doing this (10 days does seem a bit much though). If you're financing this purchase you'll be using the services of at least your lenders attorney but these are the types of situations where having your own personal attorney involved earlier in the transaction is very important. You should ask friends, family, colleagues for the name of a real estate attorney they've used recently and been happy with. Then take all your documents, copies of offer etc. for them to review. Most all will give you an initial consultation for free anyway. If "your agent" is your buyers agent and not the sellers agent or a dual or designated agent you could also ask for a referral to a real estate attorney they work with regularly. Where you sound like you may be involved in negotiations with the developers attorney, having your own attorney will protect your interests.

Hope this helps,
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Jeanne Feeni…, Agent, Basking Ridge, NJ
Mon Oct 22, 2012
Sounds like a long review period to me - but it may be the process established for this new construction project. In my area of NJ we have somethiing called "attorney review" that kicks in after acceptance of the offer by both parties. The docs then go to both seller and buyer attorneys to be reviewed. Letters are exchanged and when both parties agree on changes review is concluded and you are under contract.

This sounds different. I would ask your agent if this is the standard process for this project and if you are at any risk of losing the deal during this 10 day period, and if the process can move more quickly.

Good luck and best,
Jeanne Feenick
Unwavering Commitment to Service, Unsurpassed Results
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James Furlong, Agent, Brookline, MA
Mon Oct 22, 2012
The seller can require a review of the offer by anyone they chose and it can take as long as it takes. However, the buyer includes a deadline in the offer and that deadline is exceeded the offer is no longer valid unless the time to perform is extended. The "normal" is that the buyer's offer is valid for 24 hours and a response is provided verbally by the seller if a counter-offer is made, or the offer is accepted by the seller and is signed. From there it goes through inspection with possible further negotiations and then the first draft of the P&S agreement is drawn up by the seller's lawyer and reviewed by the buyer's lawyer. It is at this time that the lawyers usually get involved and the time-frame to complete the P&S is usually 2 to 3 days.
0 votes
My NC Homes…, Agent, Chapel Hill, NC
Mon Oct 22, 2012
Your agent may have misspoken or inadvertently given you the wrong impression. With resale property lawyers rarely review contracts. When the buyer signs it, it's an offer; once the Seller signs (and has made no changes) it's a contract.

With new construction there's often a regional sales director or in some cases an attorney being used by the builder that will need to sign your offer to make it a contract. I suspect this is what is happening with you, I will say 10 days is absurd. I would suggest telling your agent (i hope it's ot the on site sales agent if it is you don't have an agent only the seller does) that 10 business days is unacceptable to you and that you expect it back signed on by Friday otherwise you're pulling your offer.
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Louis Wolfs…, Agent, Needham, MA
Mon Oct 22, 2012
Some offers are written by attorney's others can be reviewed by attorney's. It may also depend on the complexity of the offer.

My recommendation is that the following language should be in an offer it usually will satisfy all attorney's.

"Subject to a mutually acceptable purchase and sales agreement." This means that the purchase and sales agreement will be acceptable to the sellers attorney and the buyers attorney.

You would want a home inspection acceptable to the buyer and or their agents on or before xxxx days (new construction prior to closing)

Also in a condo purchase it should also have "review and approval of the condo doc and budget prior to the signing of the p&s (or if signed you and your attorney can have until xx date to review)

10 days is not normal, no purpose in it if the price is agreeable, dates are agreeable, financing is agreeable and the language i have is in it.
0 votes
Mario Pavli, Agent, Boston, MA
Sun Oct 21, 2012
Hi Anna,

I think 10 days is way to long. Once an offer has been submitted it should take a few days tops (3-5 days) for you to get an answer.

I would consult with your agent and find out why it's taking this long.

Best Of Luck.
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