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Because mine wasn’t the only offer, I made an offer $20,000 higher than the home’s asking price. I just checked online and found out the home sold for less than my offer. How do I know that the seller’s agent submitted my offer? Is there any action I or my real estate agent can take?
Dear Feeling Cheated,
Let’s assume that the listing agent acted ethically and did submit your offer, but the seller decided on another. There may have been several reasons other than price that the seller chose a lower offer:
Seller in Possession: Perhaps the buyer allowed the seller a generous period of time to remain in the home after escrow closed.
Financing: Maybe the offer the seller selected was cash. You didn’t mention if you had a large down payment, or what type of financing. Appraisal conditions on FHA loans can sometimes pose problems.
Contingencies: Perhaps the buyer had fewer contingencies; maybe they waived their appraisal and or investigative (inspection) contingency.
Another scenario may have been that the offer the seller selected over yours was initially similar or higher in price. Perhaps during the inspection period some high ticket defects were discovered. A cracked chimney can easily be upwards of $15,000 to repair and to replace a sewer line is usually a minimum of $6,000 – $8,000.
The listing agent is obligated to present all offers to the seller. On the last page of the Residential Purchase agreement there are two sections. One is for the Listing Broker to initial and note the date the offer was presented. The second section is for the seller to initial a rejection of offer. The seller is not obligated to initial a rejection of offer and may not want to bother (especially after the fact). You can ask your Realtor® to have the seller’s agent prove that your offer was submitted by having the seller’s agent initial this section.
I suggest that you ask your real estate agent to contact the seller’s agent and ask for an explanation. After you receive the explanation, you can decide if you want to pursue this further by filing a complaint with the Department of Real Estate or even seeking legal remedy.
I hope this is helpful,