Is buyer able to make an offer higher on the purchase of a home already under contract if seller has already accepted offer from another buyer?

Asked by Susan, 08753 Wed Mar 30, 2011

The question is whether the house is still in attorneny review with the other buyers No one seems to know if the house is still in attorney review with the other buyers. I thought they could entertain all offers

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Mary Petti, Agent, Edison, NJ
Wed Mar 30, 2011
Susan,

Both Cynthia and Christopher are correct.
Cynthia is correct that If still in attorney review, all subsequent offers are forwarded, in writing, directly to the attorney for the seller, unless the seller had specified in writing that no more offers will be accepted, or accepted for back-up only.
If OUT of attorney review and under contract, technically all offers can still be presented to the seller, through their attorney, until closing day, again unless the seller has said otherwise in writing. However, Chris is correct that usually once under contract, a seller is not going to "mess with the transaction" they have just because of price. There are a lot of ramifications that come along with canceling a contract once it is under contract.
1 vote
Cynthia Freu…, Agent, Warren, NJ
Wed Mar 30, 2011
Chris,
Here in NJ, once a seller has accepted an offer, we send all subsequent offers to the attorney. Of course I am referring to offers in writing. All real estate is local!
1 vote
Mary Petti, Agent, Edison, NJ
Thu Mar 31, 2011
Susan,

In NEW JERSEY, once a seller accepts an offer and it is in attorney review, if they put in writing, that all subsequent offers are for back-up only, you can still present an offer. But this means just what it says, that if the accepted offer falls apart, the seller can go back to their "back-ups" and see if the other buyers are still interested.

I as I said before, if the seller HAS NOT put in writing that subsequent offers are for back-up only (or that they are not accepting any other offers at all), TECHNICALLY you can submit an offer right up to the day of closing.

However, in both cases, it still doesn't mean that they will accept your offer. Additionally once the offer they have is out of attorney review and "under contract", the seller can face some penalties if they cancel the previous offer and take yours, so it's highly unlikey they would.
0 votes
Jennifer Mu's…, Agent, Arcadia, CA
Thu Mar 31, 2011
All offers can be entertained and should be presented but be aware if an offer from someone else has been accepted by the buyer, then your offer can only be accepted as a backup. The other buyer has the right to complete the purchase (assuming they can get financing and whatnot) according to the terms that they agreed upon with the buyer. Your offer would only come into play if the other deal falls out of escrow for some reason. This could happen if the purchaser decides not to complete the purchase and exercises their contingencies. Your offer could also contribute to the original deal falling out of escrow. Say for example the buyer makes excessive demands for repairs or seller concessions and your offer is markedly better than theirs. The seller may refuse to make any concessions so that the deal with the initial purchaser falls apart knowing they can take your offer. The seller would be taking a chance doing this but it can happen. As said before though, if the buyer can close escrow according to the terms of his deal, they can do so whether you are there as a backup or not. Talk to your agent about it. You should be able to get your offer presented.
Web Reference:  http://JenniferMu.com
0 votes
Lucia Islas-…, , San Diego, CA
Thu Mar 31, 2011
Hello Susan,

In California, if an offer has already been accepted by the seller the contract is now legally binding and both parties must continue with the process to close escrow. If you would like to write a higher offer and find out that the property is already in escrow, you may still submit your offer but it will be treated as a "back-up" offer. Your offer along with the previous offers will be present ted to the seller in the event the original buyer backs out or falls out of escrow.

Convey to the listing agent through your buying agent that you are very much interested and would like to be considered as a "back-up"; express your motivation and interest in this home. Always confirm they received your offer too. Sometimes a cover letter with your motivation helps your offer stick out from the rest as well.

Good luck!
0 votes
ALLISON VIDAL, Agent, Casselberry, FL
Thu Mar 31, 2011
The buyer may submit offer as a backup should the first contract fall through. However, once under contract it is legally binding. Failure to perform by either party could result in litigation. Once the contract is fully executed it is a legal contract. You did not mention if the acceptance was verbal. If the acceptance is only verbal than your offer can be considered.
0 votes
Paandderealt…, , Pennsylvania
Thu Mar 31, 2011
My understanding is that all offers must be presented even if the home is under contract unless the seller has directed their agent not to. An agent's fiduciary duty is to their client. The seller can even accept a new offer; however, the seller would then be in default on the first contract, which most likely would lead to litigation, tying up the property and deposit monies entirely. And as for attorney review, it does not exist in all states, including Delaware and Pennsylvania where I sell. A back up offer would be the way to go. That way if the first deal falls through, you are first in line.
Web Reference:  http://www.ReneeBinkley.com
0 votes
Francesca Pa…, Agent, Manasquan, NJ
Thu Mar 31, 2011
Something sounds fishy. As long as the property is not out of attorney review, listings agents are obligated to present all offers to their sellers. Who are you represented by the listing agent or another agent?

Sometimes, if a listing agent has procured the buyer they don't want to lose the deal, so they will do what they can to preclude you from presenting that offer. I would have your agent inquire as to whether the buying agent is (1) themselves or (2) someone from their office. And if so, I would immediately contact the broker and advise him that you would like your offer presented IN PERSON to the seller by your agent as this is unethical conduct that unfortunately is happening more often in this market.

Until it's out of attorney review, it is fair game!

Francesca Patrizio, Broker Sales Associate
Francesca@PatrizioRE.com
732.606.2931 (24/7)
Web Reference:  http://www.PatrizioRE.com
0 votes
William Wues…, , Toms River, NJ
Wed Mar 30, 2011
Hi Susan,

As mentioned in the earlier comments. You can make an offer, & let your presence be know at the side line, but once the sale contract is reviewed & accepted by the Buyers & Sellers attorneys (Attorney review), the contract becomes a legally binding contract to both parties. Obligating both parties, the buyer & seller, to legally preform a specific action within a specific terms dictated in the contract. For example: I Mr. buyer will buy house 429 Hooper Ave from Mr & Mrs Seller for $XXXX amount of dollars within XXXX amount of days, with a mortgage contingency, Home inspection contingencies & ect, ect. So if you really love that house let your interest be known, You never know, not every contract goes together.... All in all, It always works out for a reason. Lose a favorite house to find a better one later...

On the other hand, from my experience in really estate... Time is the biggest deal killer in real estate. Good market or bad market, everyone is looking for a Good Deal. Therefore Good Deals don't last long because everyone is looking for one. With that in mind I always think its important for buyers to have a advantage perspective on their target market & its current market conditions. So when the time is right, They can make an educated and confident decision to jump on a Good Deal! Reach out if you feel you need real estate info in a more timely manner. I have a lot of great features & web tools buyers love using to keep them up with the market...

All in all, Its a shame some one beat you to the punch line on that house, but it all works out for a reason. At the same time, there's numerous great house coming on the market everyday or having price reductions.... I'm sure you'll find a new HOME in time.....

Good Luck and Happy Hunting...

Connecting Buyers and Sellers…
William Wuesthoff
Realtor-Associate®
429 Hooper Ave (downtown)
Toms River, NJ 08753
Office: (732) 286-9400 ext. 241
Cell: (732) 300-7771
E-mail: William@WilliamsonRealtors.com
Visit http://www.WilliamWuesthoff.com
0 votes
James Flanag…, Agent, Toms River, NJ
Wed Mar 30, 2011
Susan,

To find out if the house is still in "Attorney Review", have your agent ask the Listing Agent for a copy of the correspondence, between the attorneys, that states something to the effect, "attorney review is now satisfied" and has both attorney's signatures on it. If that correspondence cannot be produced, it is more than likely that the "Attorney Review" period is still open and your agent may present your offer.

Good luck!
Web Reference:  http://FlanaganRealty.com
0 votes
Christopher…, Agent, Tarrytown, NY
Wed Mar 30, 2011
Hi, In NY we are supposed to present all offers to the seller unless otherwise specified in writing, by the seller. Normally once a deal is under contract the seller won't mess with it, unless the buyer isn't performing as agreed.

Christopher Pagli
Licensed Associate Broker
Accredited Buyer Representative
GREEN Designated Agent
William Raveis Legends Realty Group
914.406.9023
Web Reference:  http://raveis.com/chrispagli
0 votes
Marion Thack…, Agent, Winter Park, FL
Wed Mar 30, 2011
You can make an offer and if it is still review the seller can choose your offer. However, should he have already accepted the other offer you can asked that he will take yours as a back offer in case the first contract false thru. Your agent should know all of this and should advise you accordingly.
0 votes
Cynthia Freu…, Agent, Warren, NJ
Wed Mar 30, 2011
Yes you can, but it is usually a long shot. A seller can have back-up offers. If for some reason the current deal falls through, the seller can then contact the buyers who have submitted back up offers. I personally had a buyer who lost his job after we were under contract, but before closing. The deal fell through. This is rare, but it is an example of when a back up offer would have become viable. If you have time to wait for possibilities like this, then go for it. Most people just move on. There is a big inventory, and with the spring market coming, there is bound to be a lot more.
0 votes
Andrea Mcewan, , Toms River, NJ
Wed Mar 30, 2011
You can, but only as a back up offer. There is always a chance that the accepted offer can fall through. Whether it be from not being able to obtain a mortgage or issues with the inspection. Its a long shot, but always worth a shot if you really love the place. If there is anything else I can help you with, other questions or other property you would like to see, please don't hesitate to get in contact with me! Andrea McEwan, Blue Diamond Realty, Toms River, NJ. Amcewan@bluediamondrealty.net
0 votes
Andrea Mills, Agent, Sebring, FL
Wed Mar 30, 2011
Of course you can make a higher offer. Since the seller has accepted an offer from another buyer already, your offer can only be accepted by the seller if the first offer/transaction falls through.
0 votes
Yelena Tsula…, Agent, Morris Plains, NJ
Wed Mar 30, 2011
Hello, Susan!
You are right! If the offer has been accepted, but still in attorney review, it means there is no contract, and a seller may entertain another offer. Your Realtor has to find our if an attorney review is still in process.
You should make an offer in any case, if you like this house, and see what will happen. On today's market anything can happen and even if house is under contract of purchase now, tomorrow this contract may fall apart, and a house can be yours.
Web Reference:  http://YelenaTsuladze.com
0 votes
Phil Rotondo, Agent, Melbourne, FL
Wed Mar 30, 2011
You can offer any amount, Susan; but your offer cannot be substituted for the primary contract as long as it's an executed contract and still in effect.
Web Reference:  http://www.321property.com
0 votes
Kenneth Verb…, Agent, PRINCETON, NJ
Wed Mar 30, 2011
You can always make an offer up until closing! The question really is can a seller negotiate your offer and that depends upon the contract they have signed and it's status. If you make a offer higher than the one that has been accepted and for any reason buyer kills contract (say your offer is much higher and buyer insists seller do minor repairs, the seller could refuse, let buyer kill contract and move on to your offer)
When in doubt make your offer. Submit it to sellers attorney, agent and copy seller to be certain they get it.
good luck. (again Buyer can always make offers, sellers may however be bound by a contract)
0 votes
Marilyn Zuck…, , Boca Raton, FL
Wed Mar 30, 2011
If there is already an accepted offer , you can request to put in a "back up" offer, in case the first deal falls apart for some reason. Sometimes there is buyer remorse, or issues with the inspection, or they can't get a mortgage. There's still alot that go wrong thereby putting your back up offer in first place. If the first deal is cash with no contingencies, I would move on.
0 votes
Scott Godzyk, Agent, Manchester, NH
Wed Mar 30, 2011
In most cases no, you may be able to make an offer but as a back up, not to take over the first offer and kick them out. If an offer is signed by teh buyer and seller, they are in a legal contract and can have reppurcusions if they back out. you can ask if there are any contingincies and be there if teh buyer backs out.
0 votes
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