Seller backed out after i accepted their counter

42 Replies

I made an offer on a house on the MLS. Through our realtors, the seller countered. I accepted the counter offer. My realtor let the seller's realtor know I accepted. My realtor began working on the contract. Late in the evening (8pm) I get a text from my realtor saying that two more offers just came in and they want my highest and best by the next day. I stayed put on my offer. They went with a different offer. Is this common? Do I have any recourse or did I just learn a lesson about nothing being official until it's in ink? Thanks in advance for any input

Originally posted by @David Jackson :

I made an offer on a house on the MLS. Through our realtors, the seller countered. I accepted the counter offer. My realtor let the seller's realtor know I accepted. My realtor began working on the contract. Late in the evening (8pm) I get a text from my realtor saying that two more offers just came in and they want my highest and best by the next day. I stayed put on my offer. They went with a different offer. Is this common? Do I have any recourse or did I just learn a lesson about nothing being official until it's in ink? Thanks in advance for any input

 Happens all the time.  Until there is an executed contract in hand it is not a deal.  You were given the opportunity to send in your best offer and got outbid.  

You don't have any recourse because you simply don't have a deal.  It's that "no tickie, no laundry" thing.  Until it's in writing and executed by both parties, you don't have an accepted anything.  It's just chatting.  Always submit an offer in contract form and have the sellers counter back in writing. You can slap your initials on the counter and have it done before those late evening offers are received.  

I'm sorry this happened to you...I bet you'll find an even better one now.  

@David Jackson sorry to hear that happened to you, but like @Patricia Steiner said, you really should submit your offers and receive counter offers in written contract form. I'd let your realtor know that going forward that's what you want to do to avoid this in the future.

@Brie Schmidt I’m ok with being outbid. I stuck to my numbers. Just didn’t realize realtors still take offers after one has been accepted. Lesson learned.

Time is of the essence, ALWAYS..  Its not a binding contract until everything is in writing, AND delivered/confirmed received by the other party..  

Originally posted by @David Jackson :

@Brie Schmidt I’m ok with being outbid. I stuck to my numbers. Just didn’t realize realtors still take offers after one has been accepted. Lesson learned.

 This is a personal 'standard' not an obligation. If I had been the seller and had already verbally been back and forth and reached an agreement, I would feel it is respectful to stick to my word...that's not to say I would disparage someone else who chooses to take another offer because it's not 'physically' under contract. But the technical answer is it wasn't in writing yet, so it wasn't in contract yet.

@David Jackson   there is a term in real estate law: "Statute of Frauds".  Simply explained, real estate agreements, in order to be enforceable, must be in writing.  A 'verbal acceptance' is not worth the paper it isn't written on.  I don't really think about it as being 'cut-throat' as previously opined;  rather, it is the only proper way to put a transaction together.

I'd see this as a learning experience which didn't cost you a loss of money.  Just keep on moving forward!

Thanks to everyone for the thoughtful responses. I’ll be much more assertive with my realtor next time. I’m not sure why she was so comfortable waiting a day to draw up the new contract. In five hours, the deal was gone. Not blaming her—this was my deal.

Originally posted by @David Jackson :

@Brie Schmidt I’m ok with being outbid. I stuck to my numbers. Just didn’t realize realtors still take offers after one has been accepted. Lesson learned.

 Until the contract is signed by all parties it is not accepted.  That is why they called for "highest and best"

Originally posted by @Marc Winter :

@David Jackson   there is a term in real estate law: "Statute of Frauds".  Simply explained, real estate agreements, in order to be enforceable, must be in writing.  A 'verbal acceptance' is not worth the paper it isn't written on.  I don't really think about it as being 'cut-throat' as previously opined;  rather, it is the only proper way to put a transaction together.

I'd see this as a learning experience which didn't cost you a loss of money.  Just keep on moving forward!

 this is why I only do business with realtors who use docusgin.. no docusign not dealing with you.. contracts can be singed around in an hour with that system.. then saved to the Claude.  

@David Jackson

Sounds like you learned a lesson, but also, you’re an investor that’s making bids based on numbers. If they want more than makes financial sense then it’s better for them not to choose you.

@David Jackson you're realtor didnt suggest that you put the offer in writing over a verbal offer??

Find a new realtor, this one will cost you a lot of deals....

@Jason D. she texted me what their counter offer was. I told her I accepted. She said she would get the  contract together in the morning. I thought this was odd but I trusted her. She’s a big player in the local RE community. 25+ years experience. The big lesson is to be more assertive on things like this. And if something feels off—like waiting 17 hrs to put an agreement in writing—I need to speak up.

@Jay Hinrichs she does use docusign. The initial offer was so easy. Not sure why she didn’t want to put the contract together real quick to avoid this. 

This is only my second deal. I’m happy to learn from a gut punch like this. Just hurts today.

@Marc Winter

A verbal acceptance written on paper...is no longer a verbal acceptance. So there’s that.

@David Jackson

If she’s that big time as you say, your deal was either to small monetarily for her to care, or she had more important things to do. It sucks to hear, but its the truth.

A hungry (read: younger) real estate agent will be much faster in getting it done, as in within the hour, no matter where they are. My main agent who I do my sub-$300k investment deals with is just that. In his mid-20s. He bangs the Docusigns out in under an hour flat and then harasses me to sign it and the counters asap. He even sends my wife’s Docusigns to my email just so I can sign them on her behalf cause she hates clicking through em, and she slows the process down, and he doesn’t want to bug her. Reduce or remove and replace your rate limiting factor (agent) and you will win deals.

The current agent I am working with on buying my personal residence (7 figure range) is slower, takes more time, we talk things through more and come up with strategy, but even he makes sure the offer will go in that same evening.

@Aaron Hunt I feel this is very much the problem in my situation. So a fewmore details... I actually did use a younger, newer agent at her office. He had helped me find my primary residence a few years ago. I knew it was a small deal so I brought it to him and didn’t ask for a ton of work from him.  Just send the seller disclosure, unlock the property and submit an offer. For some reason he said that the broker would be doing all the paperwork. I was really confused by it but I knew she had a ton of experience. She absolutely treated me like a bother. I get it, she stood to my 3k on the deal. I just thought she’d still rather have it than not have it. It’s the Pocono mountains. There aren’t a ton of 7figure transactions up there.

@David Jackson Sad to hear you lost the deal. Your offer should be aggressive if it is a great deal and if you are in a hot market. 

@David Jackson

Find a new realtor..  Thats BS on her behalf..  I'm an experienced agent doing 5-6x the transaction volume of the average agent..  I make great money for what I do, absurdly great..  The least I can friggen do is write an offer for a client in a timely manner..  I have my laptop with me at all times, and spend more time in random parking lots and pull over on side streets writing offers on the spot..  I don't mess around which I why I have the success I do..  For the agent to wait 17 hours to write a counter is unacceptable..  I've written offers and counter offers while I've had the flu, in between throwing up..  It only take 15 mins, and should only take 5 mins to write a counter..  

Drop this lady like a bad habit and find someone who cares about your business and treats you like you deserve to be treated..  

Originally posted by @Brandon Carriere :

@David Jackson

Find a new realtor..  Thats BS on her behalf..  I'm an experienced agent doing 5-6x the transaction volume of the average agent..  I make great money for what I do, absurdly great..  The least I can friggen do is write an offer for a client in a timely manner..  I have my laptop with me at all times, and spend more time in random parking lots and pull over on side streets writing offers on the spot..  I don't mess around which I why I have the success I do..  For the agent to wait 17 hours to write a counter is unacceptable..  I've written offers and counter offers while I've had the flu, in between throwing up..  It only take 15 mins, and should only take 5 mins to write a counter..  

Drop this lady like a bad habit and find someone who cares about your business and treats you like you deserve to be treated..  

 I agree with this. I do offers & counters with my agent through my phone. They do everything around here through DotLoop; we can have a counter sent, signed and returned in 10 minutes. There is a lot of back and forth through text and phone calls on the front end but once there's an agreed price it is done in minutes. 

@David Jackson so was the initial offer on writing?

And was the counter in writing?

You said that she texted you the counter, but how did she receive the counter?

Originally posted by @David Jackson :

@Jason D. she texted me what their counter offer was. I told her I accepted. She said she would get the  contract together in the morning. I thought this was odd but I trusted her. She’s a big player in the local RE community. 25+ years experience. The big lesson is to be more assertive on things like this. And if something feels off—like waiting 17 hrs to put an agreement in writing—I need to speak up.

@Jay Hinrichs she does use docusign. The initial offer was so easy. Not sure why she didn’t want to put the contract together real quick to avoid this. 

This is only my second deal. I’m happy to learn from a gut punch like this. Just hurts today.

I only make offers in writing for this exact reason. My realtor has written offers at 10PM at night and I am sure he would do it later if necessary to get a deal. If I had a verbal agreement, I would give them two hours to digitally sign a written offer. Waiting 17 hours to even send over the written offer is crazy. Your realtor lost this deal. 

I have said before and will keep telling people, the number one quality you need in a realtor is them being responsive. That means getting you into properties quickly and writing offers quickly. Offers attract offers. The selling realtor probably called some other buyers that were previously interested and told them there was an offer on the table. You want your deal in writing and with a short response time. Don't give them time to shop for other buyers.

Even if your offer is the highest with cash. The sellers have reasons to choose someone who offers less. Just make sure you have the seller signs the rejection on the contract.

That is very common. Move on look for another one.


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