My boyfriend and I have found a house in pa that we decided to make an offer on but the sellers put in a counter offer after a couple of days. We

Asked by Samantha, Lansdowne, PA Thu Dec 8, 2011

then proceeded to counter their offer and were told by our agent that the offer was accepted. The next night we completed the necessary paperwork which included the offer we made and that our agent said was accepted. Today we received a call saying that the offer was not accepted and we don't know why or how this has happened. I thought that once our agent said the price was accepted and we signed the necessary papers then the offer could not be changed or negotiated beyond that point. Am I wrong and if not what can be done about this?

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Linda Walters, Agent, Wayne, PA
Tue Jan 3, 2012
Although it is correct that the law says you do not have an enforceable real estate contract until it is in writing, there is an exception to that rule which is: you can enforce the contract against the party who has signed it you haven't signed it yet. Unfortunately, this is not what happened here. That is why I always ask that the seller sign first in such a situation. But you should find out what aspect of the offer was not acceptable and see if you can resurrect this deal. If they got another offer, can you sweeten yours with a better closing date, for example. Don't let the bad feelings that this has caused get in the way of this house if it is the one you really want.
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Shawn Ryan R…, Agent, Belleville, NJ
Fri Dec 9, 2011
things can always be changed until you have a finalized contract in writing (after attorney review is concluded). but it does sound like there was miscommunication going on. i can understand why you would be upset.
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Robert D Hug…, Agent, Devon, PA
Fri Dec 9, 2011
Samantha, very sorry to hear this happened to you. "Time is of the essence" is standard language in our agreements, which means complete as soon as possible, and although Faxes and emails are acceptable to do business, It is crucial for your representative to have a paper trail of what transpired. 20 some years ago we did everything by physical delivery. IE. Dropped off all paperwork to the listing office, called them and told them we delivered agreements and addendums to them. They in turn would meet with the owner and have the seller complete paperwork. (signed, initialed and dated).

Verbals mean absolutely Nothing in Real Estate. Although you did your end signing the counter offer the owner sounds like they changed their mind, or may have received a better offer. When ever there is a Counter Offer, the Agreement is not completed until that owner accepts in writing the changes you made and you receive or your representative receives. As some of the other posts suggests, best to find out exactly what happened, so either you may salvage this transaction, or more important; don't let it happen to you again.

Best of luck to you and your boyfriend,

Rob Hughes: Long & Foster Real Estate Inc.
(Associate Broker) (AB065650)
(Hughes Associates) (Realtor since 1987)

Office: 610-225-7400 x7438

Cell# 484-410-9765 (Preferred)


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Elisa Dewees, Agent, Cherry Hill, NJ
Thu Dec 8, 2011
So sorry this happened to you Samantha. This is the lousy part of the home buying experience...getting disappointed in finding a home you want and things not working out. So many things could have happened...from the sellers changing their mind to another buying coming along and out-bidding your offer. Offers are just offers and not binding until contracts are signed by all parties and escrow deposit delivered.
I hope either the seller changes their mind or you find an even better home to buy!
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Dan Tabit, Agent, Issaquah, WA
Thu Dec 8, 2011
Something is only "accepted" when you have it in writing. The seller's may have verbally accepted, then reconsidered. Once you have a fully signed around contract with all terms, then things are set. Until then you can change your mind and they can change theirs, even when you said you'd do something. Only the signed contract proves you will.
If you have a signed contract at your price, they may want out of it, but you have a contract.
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R. Eric Axel…, Agent, Cherry Hill, NJ
Thu Dec 8, 2011
In some states, the delivery of the counter-offer to your agent counts a delivery. If you agent still has the email or voicemail, ask him or her to produce it along with time stamp.
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Jim O'Rourke, , Philadelphia County, PA
Thu Dec 8, 2011
May have been a miscommunication or a misunderstanding of the verbal offer. Once written, the contract may be more clearly understood; yet not be acceptable as written. End result is that until both buyer and seller have executed (signed) the contract, it is not binding.

You should have a discussion with your agent and ask what went wrong.

Best of luck to you with your home buying.
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