When a house is "under contract," can you still make an offer?

Asked by Buyingin2012, 07960 Fri Apr 6, 2012

I called the realtor about a multi-family house I was interested in purchasing - she told me it was in attorney review. That was a month ago. There is still a for sale sign out front. I called her again just to check if it was available, and she said it was under contract and they "should close on it by the end of the month." I assume you can't make an offer at this point, but I just want to be sure.

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Jeanne Feeni…, Agent, Basking Ridge, NJ
Sat Apr 7, 2012
Signs generally stay up until closing. While in attorney review, which precedes the property going under contract, a seller can entertain - and accept - another offer. Once under contract, back up offers can be held. If the home is closing at the end of this month, then it may well be that they have cleared the inspection and mortgage contingencies which are the main matters to be resolved. The listing agent should be able to give you a clear understanding of the status, and guide you on where to direct a back up offer.

Good luck to you,
Jeanne Feenick
Unwavering Commitment to Service, Unsurpassed Results
1 vote
Amy Lee Hoff…, Agent, Castle Pines, CO
Sun Oct 30, 2016
In Colorado, you can always put in a back up offer but the market has been so hot that the original (first) offer usually closes. But of course there is always that slim chance the first deal falls apart and you can get the home of your dreams. http://www.coloradohousesales.com
0 votes
Hshiner76, Home Buyer, Scranton, PA
Wed Dec 3, 2014
I called about a house in the realtor told me it was under contract The price of that house was 115,000 about a month later the same house is now 1600 thousandI just looked again and now it's at 117,000 how can it be under contract if the price keeps going up
0 votes
Susan Zanzon…, Agent, Morristown, NJ
Sat Jul 27, 2013
Hi there, I have a situation like this going on right now. I get calls all the time on the property and am completely upfront with everyone that its 'under contract' but I want to keep a running list of interested buyers...just in case. Potential buyers get a little annoyed & frustrated, but sellers really appreciate this and as a listing agent, I'm looking out for the best interests of my client. Once under contract, backups only. The signs stay up until its closed.
0 votes
Lynda Hester…, Agent, Kinnelon, NJ
Sun Apr 29, 2012
In New Jersey,you can make a written offer while it is in attorney review or under contract and the listing agent must present it to the seller and to their attorney- it will most likely be refused since the sellers already have a legal contract that they are involved in and may suffer damages for trying to get out of it. You may then decide if you want to request that your offer be held for back up status in case the first deal does not work out- I would advise you to work with a real estate agent who is experienced and can answer questions like this for you. Depending on the circumstances I might counsel you to spend your valuable time looking for another property to make an offer on that is not under contract-
Agents and some of their web sites may leave signs up or listings showing property as active for a variety of reasons so it is best to work with an experienced agent to help you with your purchase and find you a property where you have a good chance to have your offer accepted.
0 votes
Albert Baron…, Agent, Morristown, NJ
Sun Apr 8, 2012
Jeanne communicates the fact's and is extremely knowlegable in multiple offer situations!
0 votes
Victoria Loe…, , 08759
Sat Apr 7, 2012
If you really want this home put in an offer. Atleast if they other offer falls through for whatever the reason may be, then you are one step ahead of the game. Just know that the current owner can not back out of the first offer but it is always good to have a plan. GOOD LUCK!
0 votes
Wayne Odenbr…, Agent, Mountain Lakes, NJ
Fri Apr 6, 2012
You can make an offer. And the Agent is required to present it to the owner.
However, when it is Under Contract, the owner cannot just walk away.

But, keep this in mind. There might be issues that have come to light with the present Buyer. The owner may be thrilled to find out you are out there. But as it stands now, you would be a back up offer.
0 votes
Diane Glander, Agent, Spring Lake, NJ
Fri Apr 6, 2012
You can make an offer at any time, but the sellers cannot just walk away from their contracted buyer, no matter how good your offer is.
If you want to make an offer, you could be considered as a back up offer. That means should the first offer fall through (and that is possible if there are still contingencies to be met) your offer could be negotiated on.
As we say in the business, nothing is sold until it is closed.
Just for your information, you COULD have put in an offer when the first contract was in attorney review and had a much better chance of having your contract accepted. Either party CAN back out of a deal while it is in attorney review, without recourse.
Web Reference:  http://www.dianeglander.com
0 votes
Helene Jeane…, Agent, Metuchen, NJ
Fri Apr 6, 2012
As previously stated, you offer, if made, would be a "back up" or "contingency" offer. At this point, it is likely that inspection issues have been resolved and both parties are committed to the sale. Once under contract, the seller cannot accept another offer, however, you certainly may wish to keep in touch to ascertain if the property closed or submit a contingency offer. There are issues that can preclude a property from closing and if it does not close, you definitely want to know if there are any issues that change the Seller Disclosure which caused it not to close.

My recommendation would be to put your energies where you have a greater likelihood of success.
0 votes
Erin Joynt, Agent, Westminster, CO
Fri Apr 6, 2012
You can still make an offer, and the listing agent has to present all offers to their clients (I'm going by Colorado law, it could be different in your state). If the original deal falls through, then the sellers might consider accepting your offer.
0 votes
Gary Geer, Agent, Antioch, IL
Fri Apr 6, 2012
Contact your agent and find out if you can put in a backup offer on this home. That way if soemthing goes wrong and the first offer does not close the seller can consider your offer.
0 votes
Herb Entwist…, Agent, Boston, MA
Fri Apr 6, 2012
You can always present an offer. However, in all likelihood the other offer will close. The seller cannot accept more than one offer at one time. So it would essentially be a backup in the event that the the current agreement falls out of contract.
0 votes
Alan May, Agent, Evanston, IL
Fri Apr 6, 2012
You can always write and present an offer, even on an 'under contract' property.... but if it's already cleared the inspection and attorney review, it may be a waste of your time and effort.

Your offer, if accepted, would be considered a "back up" offer, in case anything happened to the original offer, to cause it not to close.
0 votes
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