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Can a Seller Rescind a Counter Offer if a Better One Comes in?

Do just a little bit of research and you’ll realize there are millions of real estate questions and because every situation is different and you are dealing with multiple parties in every transaction, there will always be a question. Which is why I always say that experience is the best teacher. Real estate agents can take all the classes they want but this will not prepare them for real-life experiences. Our decades of real estate experience has equipped us to handle just about every real estate scenario out there.

So here’s a question of the day:

If the seller just sent over a counter offer and now has received a better offer, can the seller rescind the counteroffer?

A counteroffer can be rescinded (revoked) up until the time it has been accepted. The counteroffer may be signed by the buyer but if it is not been returned to the seller as assigned, the seller can resend the counteroffer. This may really upset the buyer, especially if the buyer’s agent does not return the counteroffer in a timely manner. The buyer might think that they have already signed the counteroffer and agreed to it but if their agent does not return the counteroffer right away and the seller receives a better offer that they want to accept, they can cancel, terminate, or rescind that counteroffer and then that buyer is out of luck.

This is why time is of the essence is such an important factor in real estate transactions. Most counteroffers and negotiations have a standard default three days to respond. If there’s no communication within that three days and no acknowledgment or counteroffer, the deal is technically terminated. The deal doesn’t legally get terminated though unless the buyer or seller evokes their rights on termination.

For instance, if the buyer took over three days to get the counteroffer back, the transaction is not automatically terminated. The buyer’s agent could contact the listing agent stating that they needed a couple of extra days and is the seller still interested in negotiating. Chances are, if the seller doesn’t have another offer on the table they will let the extra few days of negotiation slip, but, if the buyer does not get back to the seller even if they’ve discussed it and the seller, in turn, gets a better offer, they can go ahead and accept that better offer no questions asked and then the original buyer is out of luck.

Again, it comes down to communication and experience. Dealing with hundreds if not thousands of real estate transactions over the years really puts us in a better negotiating position. As a Mesa and San Tan Valley Real Estate Agent, I have the know-how, when, and who to communicate with and work for our buyers so that they get the right house they want for their terms and price.

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