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cash offer submitted 2/15
counter offer by sellers sent via email 2/17
buyers agree to sellers counter offer, make corrections on contract to reflect the changes, sign and faxed back afternoon of 2/17
upon email receipt of the revised contract by the listing agent he informs us he is ill and unable to meet with his sellers to get contract executed but that he spoke with his sellers and confirmed the offer acceptance and was willing to offer us a verbal acceptance of contract (all of this in email) and utilities would be on by Friday 2/19 for inspector.
Listing agent emails our Realtor late morning and says he had another offer come in, submitted it to his sellers and we needed “highest and best” by 3pm.
We were so angry at this point that we did not adjust as we felt we were being blackmailed.
I know that a verbal contract will not hold up in court, but do we have any other recourse?

I know there are 1000’s of house out there, but we live a small town population 1500 so not many houses in this price range. It was being purchased for my daughter for the purpose of allowing her to free herself from an abusive relationship and start over. The house also had family members on both sides and one across the street for added security in this trying time!

Any ideas?
Sellers may have executed the other contract tonight but no earnest $ delivered yet.
Thanks

10 Thoughts on accepted verbal agreement to buy home, List agent not promt in executing contract. We lost the house!?
  1. Reply
    Liz S
    October 31, 2011 at 9:43 pm

    I would talk to a lawyer and see what you can do. If nothing else threaten legal action, most people don’t want that. Sounds like they screwed/ are screwing you over…sorry and good luck!

  2. Reply
    helprhome
    October 31, 2011 at 10:32 pm

    Wow tough times for sure and you are such a good parent that you can’t sleep because of this! I’d be angry too. Your verbal offer was actually sort of in writing but, it might be argued either way. I can see that you trusted the agent because he put it in an e-mail. I can so understand the issue of blackmailed feelings. In real estate the feelings get us into trouble too often. This case could be brought to the association but, that doesn’t get you the house, so why bother might be the position on that. The one hope I can offer is this-I personally have a 3 day rule. It may turn around in your favor in that time. You offered all cash-that means that the other offer had to be all cash and higher or it wouldn’t have been a better offer! Period. If the other buyer changes their mind-inspections can do that for a person. Then you might still have a chance at the house. I would speak to the Listing agent’s broker and ask how that offer can be a “better offer” with no earnest money in the escrow account, no signed (executed) offer? You want a confirmation that your offer was submitted and have an e-mail that it was accepted. The Broker will understand the impact of that e-mail very well and the Association will consider it if you send them a letter. It is an issue for the listing agent to not be acting in a fair and honest manner with you and in a clear manner regarding his e-mails. He put it in writing that it was accepted and you relied (key word) on that fact. Now he tells you it wasn’t accepted and there still isn’t escrow or “executed” paperwork. If it ain’t signed, it ain’t done so get yours signed! And get the Listing agents’ broker involved. He is trying to get the best deal for his seller but, he doesn’t have either deal right at this moment! Hopefully tommorrow you will still have time to get to the broker and let him/her run some interference. No answers until Monday though. Banking hours. Even if they open on Sat that department probably won’t be there. Blessings and peaceful times to come-the best of wishes for your family! Go back to bed now you need to be fresh!

  3. Reply
    Peter B
    October 31, 2011 at 11:31 pm

    The trouble is real estate sale and purchase agreements HAVE to be in writing to be valid. This seems to hold world-wide. E-mail isn’t considered valid (yet), but faxed is (if agreed beforehand).

    So, you’ve got half of things in place. But, if your faxed counter offer wasn’t signed by the seller, even if verbally agreed by the seller and the agent gave a verbal statement that they were going to accept, if still isn’t valid. However, you do have a good complaint against the real estate agent – take it to the real estate board in your area, and agent and broker will probably be fined in some way.

    The problem, btw, is that the listing agent probably had the other offer in front of the seller before yours.

  4. Reply
    acermill
    October 31, 2011 at 11:31 pm

    In the realm of real estate contracts, all documents must be transmitted either in person, by postal service, or by fax, if so designated on the contracts. At this time, emails are not considered as a legal and binding means of document transmission. Certainly, any verbal agreements are not binding. From what I can determine, the last legal document action was on your part, which was the faxing back of a signed counter offer. You do not indicate if the sellers had signed the counter offer. Further, you indicate that the counter offer in question was emailed to the listing agent. That also represents a document transmission which does not meet the criteria.

    If I am confusing you here, the point to be made is that such documents, signed or not, are not considered to be legally binding unless delivered between the contract parties via one of the means of delivery specified in the contract. It appears that no legal binding delivery of any document signed by both parties occurred here.

    As well, you DID discover that another offer appeared, and you were given the opportunity to tender your ‘highest and best’. You chose to not take action on that information. If the other buyer now has a legally accepted offer, you are out in the cold. You failed to make a move when you might have done so. Therefore, you have no legal basis to make any sort of claim.

    If you want to make some sort of complaint, it should be to whichever agency oversees real estate agents in your area. Given the levels of emailing of offer information I am seeing here, BOTH agents need a letter of discipline from your state’s real estate commission.

  5. Reply
    RED
    October 31, 2011 at 11:34 pm

    As long as the contract is signed by the other buyer, and seller, it is binding. Normally there is a time limit on when the earnest money is delivered… if any to the seller.
    Remember you did have the opportunity to bid again, and turned it down. The listing agent’s duty is to get the best price he/ she can for the lister legally. Wouldn’t it have been worse if the agent, just said… they took another offer without giving you a second chance?
    Don’t despair, you can put your contract in as a back up in case the other buyer’s financing falls through, which happens quite a bit.
    Good luck.

  6. Reply
    Janet P
    November 1, 2011 at 12:00 am

    No, until you have a signed agreement you have nothing.

    As the sellers apparently have a signed contract with someone else this deal has closed for you, you are no longer involved.

    I don’t see any blackmail, just someone willing to pay more then you were willing to pay. The sellers were still free to accept the better offer, and they did. Almost 100% of people would have done the same thing.

  7. Reply
    Othniel
    November 1, 2011 at 12:34 am

    Hang in there and see what happens. The current buyer may not be able to buy, may not have the financing or may change his mind. It happens all the time in real estate. In the meantime keep looking and there may be something better out there for you. Be patient because you have to kiss a lot of frogs in order to find the prince.

    I assume that you had no money in escrow or what you had has been released.

  8. Reply
    Realtoratheart
    November 1, 2011 at 1:17 am

    You have a legal contractual dilemma that needs an attorney. I suggest you find one quickly and file the necessary paperwork. You will need to document what you’ve said here. Because this is a legal contractual issue, we can not answer. We are not lawyers, and you won’t find a lawyer who would put his license on the line for just the side of the story.

  9. Reply
    teran_realtor
    November 1, 2011 at 2:09 am

    Depends upon the laws of your state. In Texas for example, a real estate contract must be in writing to be enforceable. Don’t know how it is where you are.

  10. Reply
    Janice 10
    November 1, 2011 at 2:18 am

    You need to get your offer in writing and use this as a learning experience and keep on looking for another house. Best Wishes.

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