There are 2 accepted offers on our condo.

Asked by Judith, Brooklyn, OH Sat Jun 14, 2008

The seller is sending out two contracts on Monday and, basically, whichever party returns the signed contract with their deposit gets the home. Is this legal/ethical?

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J R, , New York, NY
Sat Jun 14, 2008
Judith, as Brian said, it's a little confusing when we read posts about "they" "their" "our". As I re read your question it seems you are saying "There are two accepted offers on THE CONDO WE WANT TO BUY". (Is that correct? When you said OUR condo, I assumed you were the seller. )

My revised answer is, if you want the condo GET INTO CONTRACT. What is holding you up?

As I said, I had a seller client whose attorney sent out two contracts to two buyers we had. We told each buyer that the party who signed first would buy the home. Guess what, the higher offer, which came in second, dragged their feet and came up with all kinds of contingencies.

This example is why I told another poster and I will 99% of the time advise sticking with the first offer because many times the second offer "goes away". They may only want it "now" because someone else wanted it.
1 vote
;, , Riverhead, NY
Thu Jul 17, 2008
It would seem that the common sense approach (in the event that you are unable to obtain the property) is to have your OWN lawyer, or real estate agent, put the contract together for you next time, with a time frame in which the seller is to respond. NY is, indeed, and "attorney" state (although review is advised, not required by home sellers/buyers, and real estate agents are able to provide an attorney approved contract). What NY is is a SELLER oriented state, so the majority of agents would view this as "ethical". Is it? Depends on whether you're a buyer or a seller. Try having an offer written up by your agent, with your own lawyer reviewing it/modifying it, and presenting it to the seller, next time around. Hopefully, you get this place, if it's the home that you want- good luck!
Web Reference:  http://optionsrealty.com
0 votes
J R, , New York, NY
Mon Jun 16, 2008
When I was in that situation I had neither buyer myself.
0 votes
Thomas McGiv…, Agent, Farmingville, NY
Sun Jun 15, 2008
i am not advising you - this is only my opinion. i would tell my agent to tell the listing agent that unless the seller makes a decision FIRST - our offer is off the table and walk UNLESS - the listing agent specifically speaks to their client and informs my agent of the number that is needed to beat out the other offer - OR - i would expect my agent to aggressively point out the PROS for our offer over the other.

it sounds like you're in a situation where the listing agent has a buyer themselves and you're working with another agent - thus, the money is better for the listing agent. TECHNICALLY - if the listing agreement the listing agent has with his client states that ALL OFFERS should be presented to the seller - then the agent should do so - HOWEVER - say you're at 650k and the other party is at 635k...BUT - with your offer - the listing agent only is making 2.5% but with the other offer, since the buyer is making offer directly through the listing agent, they stand to make 5% on the deal. i'm not suggesting this is the case, but you never know.

Good luck...
Web Reference:  http://www.tommcgiveron.com
0 votes
J R, , New York, NY
Sat Jun 14, 2008
Sylvia: If the seller signs on both then how does the seller prove that one deposit comes in before the other?

Hi Sylvia, it works differently here, the seller doesn't sign on anything till the contracts, signed by the buyer, come back to them. There should be no problem in Judith's 2 accepted offer scenario.
0 votes
J R, , New York, NY
Sat Jun 14, 2008
Judith, what I would do if I were the selling agent, and have done many times, is make sure I physically pick up and deliver the contract from their attorney to yours to cut out some time, and after you sign it, pick it up and return it. The other agent should also try to do the same thing. Your attorney should call the listing agent as soon as you sign it and tell her you've signed, then the you or your atty should call your selling agent and have them come pick it up.
0 votes
Franklin Far…, , West Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA
Sat Jun 14, 2008
New York is an "attorney" state meaning the transaction is handled by an attorney once the realtor finds the property.

Because an attorney is involved I presume the process is legal and I assume you have your own attorney representing you.

Unless the returned documents are mechanically time stamped you can only rely on the word of the attorney.

New York real estate is handled differently In California. Here, if the seller signes both contracts and returns them to the buyer WITHOUT a multiple counter offer form stating the date and time of response by the buyers, the seller has sold the property to both buyers.

Let's hope everyone in this transaction is fair and honest.

Good luck!
0 votes
Judith, Home Buyer, Brooklyn, OH
Sat Jun 14, 2008
To clarify, we are the buyer and the contract for the condo has not gone out. We learned that the seller accepted two offers and is sending out the contract at the same time. We are not back-up, we're being pitted against each other. Again, I agree with the responses, how will I really know which contract and deposit was returned first?
0 votes
Sylvia Barry,…, Agent, Marin, CA
Sat Jun 14, 2008
Hi Judith:

Please correct me if I am wrong reading your question - Sounds to me that the seller is countering two offers back and saying that whichever buyer sends the deposit in firsts is the offer that will be in escrow with them.

The problem then lies in the seller - If the seller signs on both then how does the seller prove that one deposit comes in before the other? What happens if the second one really wants the house and challenges that? It could be messy.

That is why I never recommend my clients to accept two offers. We will take one primary offer but the other will be back up offer - all spelled out clearly.

Without seeing the actual contracts and counter offers, it is really difficult to tell, but from what you said, the above will be my first concerns.

Sylvia
0 votes
Megan Manly, Agent, Nashville, TN
Sat Jun 14, 2008
I'm confused. Judith, did an attorney send them out, as JR stated? Obviously, he knows a bit more about the situation than the rest of us do. Can you expound? Also, are you the buyer and calling the condo "ours" meaning that you want it?
0 votes
J R, , New York, NY
Sat Jun 14, 2008
I've had my own sellers do it. Since your attorney sent them out, why would you think it was not legal? And apparantly both parties agreed to it. Hopefully one will get off the pot, so to speak.
0 votes
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