if seller has made counter-offer to buyer, can they accept another offer prior to 1st buyer response time?

Asked by James, Portland, OR Tue Mar 31, 2009

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Tue Mar 31, 2009
I would just like to clarify that a Seller can withdraw a counteroffer anytime before he or his agent has been notified of acceptance. This can be done verbally, but I would suggest backing it up in writing. A fax or email is time and date stamped. If you have an Agent that doesn't check email very often it could slip through.
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Craig Loughr…, , Oregon
Wed Apr 1, 2009

Yes, the seller can accept another offer any time before your acceptance is communicated back to the seller. Period. That's why it's important to respond to counter offers quickly if you're serious about wanting a particular property. Even if you have already signed to accept the seller's counter offer, that counter offer can be withdrawn by the seller at any time before your acceptance is communicated back to the seller.

A contract has two basic elements: offer and acceptance. The third thing required to form a contract is communication of the offeree's acceptance to the offeror (in your case the seller). If your acceptance hasn't yet been communicated back to the offeror (usually through the agents involved), no contract has yet been formed. Can you find an attorney who'll sue anyway? Most likely. Every town has at least a few unscrupulous attorneys who will accept cases even though the law isn't on their side.

On the other hand, I don't know the all of the details of your situation, so I can't say what other factors may be relevant in your case. And I am not an attorney, so I can't practice law by telling you that you don't have a case.

Sorry you're having problems with your purchase. Best of luck in the future.

Craig Loughridge
Accredited Buyer Representative
Bryson Realty
Web Reference:  http://www.bybryson.com
0 votes
What if acceptance has been communicated in writing, but the counter itself hasn't yet been signed? For example, sending an e-mail saying "my buyers have accepted your counteroffer, and will provide their signatures once they're off work later today"?
Flag Wed Feb 8, 2017
Dirk Knudsen, Agent, Hillsboro, OR
Tue Mar 31, 2009
Yes but they need to be careful..... technically they an accept it. Would they possibly be held liable by the first buyer if that first buyer signed the counter within the time frames? You bet yah.

Seller needs to fax,email, and probably call the first buyer / agent and put them on notice that they are withdrawing their offer. That is usually enough!

Any seller signing a new offer with a valid counter out is not going to be able to proceed with offer #2 and will likely face litigation and mediation before it is over. So James.....I hope that helps. I have personally dealt with this one on more than one occasion.

Good luck with this.


Dirk Knudsen
Re/Max Metro Gold
Re/Max Hall of Fame
Web Reference:  http://www.theknudsens.com
0 votes
Hi Dirk, I'm curious whether there's a time frame requirement for the notice that the seller is withdrawing their offer. We had some friends whose agent point-blank told them that a seller is locked to their counter until the deadline. They hemmed and hawed until about 30 minutes before the deadline. Their agent called and reminded them they had 30 minutes and also informed them that there was a full price offer that had just come in, so they really needed to get the offer signed if they wanted the house. Well, it turns out that the agent hadn't checked his email, but literally 5 minutes before they signed the contract, the listing agent had emailed their buyer's agent and told him they were rescinding the counter offer. Does it not matter that they weren't told or warned? The house was snagged out from under them after 2 weeks of negotiations. Is this just the way the cookie crumbles?
Flag Fri Apr 8, 2016
Mike Gandolfo, Agent, Louisville, KY
Tue Mar 31, 2009
It is important to understand that an offer becomes a contract once it has been signed by both parties. If you have made a counter-offer to one buyer you have signed your half of the contract. If you accept the other contract in the meantime then you have your signature on two seperate deals agreeing to sell your house to both parties. You can only sell your home once. However, you can withdraw your counter-offer then accept the other offer. Just make sure that you tie off one loose end before accepting the other. That is the opinion of a Realtor, I am not an attorney and I am in no way giving legal advice.
0 votes
ok - so if a realtor provides two counter offers (not multiple counter) just regular counter - to two buyers - and both buyers accept - who prevails? mine was submitted within 1min of receipt and forwarded and acknowledged by agent within 5min. and the listing agent said we are giving it to the other one - and it's not because the agent is in my office..... so does it come down to time stamp? on the counter? any advice would be appreciative.
Flag Sun Jun 1, 2014
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