can the sellers realtor turn away my back up offer after it was excepted to submit another offer from her office so she can keep the full comission?

Asked by Suzukigsxrpr, 10541 Sat Jun 12, 2010

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Donald Mituz…, Agent, Chappaqua, NY
Thu Sep 2, 2010
The answer is clear...NO! An agent's legal obligation and fiduciary duty is to present any and all offers. Any agent that does not do this is putting their license on the line. You can't read the mind of a seller and to turn away an offer without submission to the seller is a grave mistake. I once sold a house that had an accepted offer and engineering inspection done. The seller happened to be home when I went for a second showing, she liked my buyers and thought the community would be perfect for their 4 children. The first buyer was stalling to sign contracts and she decided to go with my buyers. Keep in mind, my buyer also had a contingency for the sale of their house in another state. This would have been a big NO in most instances. When I presented my offer I also submitted a copy of the contract of sale on their other home as well as an unconditional mortgage commitment from their buyer. An agent should NEVER withhold the submission of any offer. It could come back to haunt you and cost you more then money, it could be your reputation and your real estate license.

Don Mituzas
2008 PCAR Realtor of the Year
NYSAR Professional Standards Committee
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Geraldine "G…, Agent, Jefferson Valley, NY
Thu Aug 19, 2010
It is the seller's realtor's fiduciary responsibility to present all offers, and ethically tell the agents who are presenting offers there is an accepted offer, eng. done etc. The seller makes the decision on whose offer they are accepting not the realtor.
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Scott Godzyk, Agent, Manchester, NH
Sat Jun 12, 2010
It depends on how your back up offer was written. if it states that in the event the first offer falls through your offer is accepted and will take its place then i would think no. Back up offers are a very gray area. your best bet is to meet with an attorney who can at least use the first free meeting to give you some guidance.

The language used in yoru contract will play the key part in if it is enforceable. good luck working things out
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Ruth and Per…, Agent, Los Gatos, CA
Sat Jun 12, 2010
Hi Suzukigsxrpr:

A back up offer is an offer made and received after an Acceptable Offer was recd. by the Seller and accepted.

If you were late or 2nd in line then too bad. Its not uncommon in certain markets to get a 2nd or 3rd offer
$100K to $250K over the first offer, as a buyer/s were just late. In real estate time is of essence.

However, if your offer was on the table before acceptance by the seller then there maybe legal grounds.

I believe what you are referring to is the full 6% commission.

Good luck.
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Don Tepper, Agent, Burke, VA
Sat Jun 12, 2010

If you offer was a backup offer, the seller can do that.

As for motivations, it's very likely that the offer that was accepted had a better price or terms. The amount of the commission difference would be insignificant or nonexistent.
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Anna M Brocco, Agent, Williston Park, NY
Sat Jun 12, 2010
The agent has an obligation to present all offers to the seller(s), and it's the seller not the agent who decides what offers to turn away--do keep in mind though, that back up offers are just that--and can only be exercised if the current deal falls apart; therefore it may be in your best interest to keep looking instead of waiting around and possibly missing ouit on other opportunities. Your agent and or attorney can best advise as it relates to your specific situation.
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Jeanne Feeni…, Agent, Basking Ridge, NJ
Sat Jun 12, 2010
An agent must present all bona fide offers for consideration to the seller - and until the time the the contract is in force, here in NJ that is after the completion of attorney review, either party can shift directions without recourse. So the answer to your question is that "yes" a seller can accept another offer during that review period. It is the seller that makes the decision on whether to accept an offer, not the agent. You are questioning the motivation of the agent, and while it would be rewarding to her/him if she collected the entire commission, that should not be the motivation. The agent presents the offers - and incidentally your agent can ask to present in person (I always ask to do so), but the seller makes the decision on what offer is the strongest.

You can request that your offer remain as back-up - it is a long road from acceptance to close, and things can change along the way - as you have found out. The contract likely has an inspection and mortgage contingency (unless all cash) and these are two important performance hurdles when transactions can hit bumps.

I always advice my buyers to urge their attorney to get them in and out of attorney review quickly so they cannot be bumped out.

Good luck to you!
Jeanne Feenick
Unwavering Commitment to Service
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