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Counter Offers not Required

Counter Offers not Required

askphyllis real estate question, real estate q and A

Dear Phyllis,

I have been looking at homes for nine months. During that time we have written several offers which for various reasons weren’t accepted. The most recent offer my agent submitted was on a home which had been on the market for three weeks. When asked, the seller’s agent said there we no other offers. So, I offered a tad less than asking price. After two days, my agent contacted the seller’s agent who told him that the seller accepted another offer. Isn’t it some kind of violation that the seller’s agent didn’t contact us to let us know another offer came in? It seems at the very least, we should have been given a chance to make a higher offer.


Dear Gipped,

There is a lot of confusion over multiple offers and how they should be handled. Ultimately, how offers are handled is determined by the seller and not their real estate agent. Likely the seller’s agent was accurate when telling your Realtor that there were no offers (at that moment in time).

It seems logical that the seller and their agent would have countered both offers asking that you come back with your “highest and best price”. Logical but not required. I don’t know why you weren’t given the opportunity to improve your offer. Perhaps the terms of the other offer were greatly superior. Suppose the seller wanted a quick closing. And the other offer was higher than yours, and could close sooner because the buyer was paying all cash. Or maybe the buyer offered the seller the opportunity to remain in the home for an extended period after close of escrow. The seller may not have wanted to risk losing what they considered a superior offer.

In the future have your Realtor® stay in close contact with the seller’s agent as situations can quickly change. I suggest your agent simply ask the seller’s agent why you didn’t get a counter offer. This could be useful information for the next offer you write.

Best of luck on your home search.

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