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Old 03-14-2010, 10:20 PM
 
Location: lowell,ma
2 posts, read 24,558 times
Reputation: 12

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After the initial offer was made in writing, couple of counters were made via email. Finally the sellers agent gave a final counter amount that seller would agree with and will close the deal. After my buyer agreed to it, emails were exchanged to confirm it between both brokers. re-worked paper work signed by the buyer was sent over to the sellers agent to get it signed. But just before signing it, sellers agent informed that sellers decided to accept another offer. They did not even give a chance to my buyer to match it or come up with another number.
When questioned, the sellers agent claims email acknowledgment is not binding and they could accept the offers until they sign the paper work. If email is not accepted as a proof of record, why all realtors exchange emails with counters before everything is finalised? I have done these email communication of numbers with other agents as well before with no issues. anybody knows if the seller has to honor what they agreed via email? where could I complain about this ethical violation by a realtor?
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Old 03-14-2010, 10:27 PM
 
Location: Temecula, CA
31 posts, read 170,439 times
Reputation: 23
Unfortunately the sellers agent is correct, email agreement is not binding. Lesson learned. Always negotiate offers on the proper forms.
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Old 03-14-2010, 11:15 PM
 
Location: NJ
17,579 posts, read 39,747,775 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NattyMojo View Post
Unfortunately the sellers agent is correct, email agreement is not binding. Lesson learned. Always negotiate offers on the proper forms.
I am currently buying in South New Jersey. The way the offers work is that the initial offer is made via an offer sheet. Once that initial offer is made the remainder of the negotiation is done via email and phone. But nothing at all is binding until an actual contract is sent out once the negotations are over. So even if both sides agree, if no contract goes out its like nothing ever happened.

I thought this was odd as the last time I bought and sold the initial offer was made by sending an actual signed contract and once both parties agreed and signed it that was a done deal (other than having to go through an attorney review period).
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Old 03-14-2010, 11:18 PM
 
Location: Palm Coast, Fl
2,249 posts, read 8,058,887 times
Reputation: 1002
Computer Forensics Blog: Does email constitute a signed contract?

If you do a little more research, in this day and age, it appears that the confirmation, especially by both sides of the table agreeing in writing would constitute a contract. Now, what you are going to do with that information I have no idea. I'm not an attorney and I can only imagine it would cost more to get the contract reinstated and closed, but, you can always call an attorney to find out... a letter may just suffice, but then again, it appears the seller would be in two contracts.
"proper forms"...well, I could have a contract on a 'proper' approved association contract and the seller/buyer can ammend that contract on a piece of paper at any time they want...could be on a napkin as long as they both agree to it and sign. Electronic signatures are accepted in this day and age. Heck, a faxed check can be considered legal tender in some places.
Talk to your broker and an attorney in your area. Me? I would talk to an attorney and then chalk it up and be very careful when dealing with that particular agent in the future.
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Old 03-14-2010, 11:19 PM
 
28,441 posts, read 71,005,190 times
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Nice bad effort negotiation lesson. Did the seller's agent notify you that other offers were being entertained? Be sure to spread word of how pleasant it was to work with the winner from the other side...

On the other hand if your client, the buyer, agreed that the last offer was their "final and best" then there is nothing that they should be troubled about.
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Old 03-15-2010, 08:27 AM
 
Location: lowell,ma
2 posts, read 24,558 times
Reputation: 12
This happened after couple of counters and best and final situation. When the listing agent asked me if I have a new number from my buyer, I told them get me the final number seller would want and I would see if my buyer could accept it. I made it specifically clear to her at that time that once my buyer accepts that counter, it has to be final and no mind-changing from the seller. I emphasized it over and over as i knew my buyer was getting overwhelmed with 3 or 4 times going back and forth over 4-5 days. There were 2-3 offers on the property right at the beginning. Listing agent gave me a number over the phone and my buyer took it. we had emails exchanged to confirm the seller accepts the number and I prepared the re-worked paper and send it to them. I got a call from the lsiting agent that the seller is not home now and she won't get home until 6pm. My buyer started celebrating as if he got the house. At 6pm, the agent calls again and say seller accepted another offer. I was furious. They did not even consulted me before accepting another one.
I think couple of things listing agent did not do ethically:
1. broke the email agreement
2. did not work diligently to get the forms signed from the seller on time.
3. Did not give me a chance to go back to my buyer as we already had an offer accepted.

I hear legally, I cannot do much, as only written documents are binding!!! In this world of internet, there is no value for email confirmation?? If not, why are we all exchanging emails with counters etc...
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Old 03-15-2010, 08:34 AM
 
Location: New Mexico
631 posts, read 2,163,469 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NattyMojo View Post
Unfortunately the sellers agent is correct, email agreement is not binding. Lesson learned. Always negotiate offers on the proper forms.
Ditto here.

The counter has verbage that ties to the purchase agreement based on contract law. The purchase agreement probably states also agreements to be in writing.
I see email as more of a verbal communication, not signed in writing.
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Old 03-15-2010, 08:38 AM
 
Location: New Mexico
631 posts, read 2,163,469 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by palmcoasting View Post
Computer Forensics Blog: Does email constitute a signed contract?

"proper forms"...well, I could have a contract on a 'proper' approved association contract and the seller/buyer can ammend that contract on a piece of paper at any time they want...could be on a napkin as long as they both agree to it and sign.
I agree the napkin could have worked too. But make sure the napkin is tied to the purchase agreement. Seller X and Buyer X, purchase agreement dated X agrees to amend contract X.... as X....
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Old 03-15-2010, 08:45 AM
 
Location: Cary, NC
33,616 posts, read 58,304,270 times
Reputation: 32347
Quote:
Originally Posted by tyngsb View Post
This happened after couple of counters and best and final situation. When the listing agent asked me if I have a new number from my buyer, I told them get me the final number seller would want and I would see if my buyer could accept it. I made it specifically clear to her at that time that once my buyer accepts that counter, it has to be final and no mind-changing from the seller. I emphasized it over and over as i knew my buyer was getting overwhelmed with 3 or 4 times going back and forth over 4-5 days. There were 2-3 offers on the property right at the beginning. Listing agent gave me a number over the phone and my buyer took it. we had emails exchanged to confirm the seller accepts the number and I prepared the re-worked paper and send it to them. I got a call from the lsiting agent that the seller is not home now and she won't get home until 6pm. My buyer started celebrating as if he got the house. At 6pm, the agent calls again and say seller accepted another offer. I was furious. They did not even consulted me before accepting another one.
I think couple of things listing agent did not do ethically:
1. broke the email agreement
2. did not work diligently to get the forms signed from the seller on time.
3. Did not give me a chance to go back to my buyer as we already had an offer accepted.

I hear legally, I cannot do much, as only written documents are binding!!! In this world of internet, there is no value for email confirmation?? If not, why are we all exchanging emails with counters etc...
Email has great value. It is a wonderful tool, vs. faxing or hand delivering paper over distance.
It just is not binding.

It's a tough break for your buyers, but one of the fundamentals of Prelicensing Class RE Practice 101: It isn't a contract until all changes are signed off, and acceptance is conveyed.
I get contracts on hot properties signed at midnight, if I need to.
I also use electronic signatures to speed things.
I never relax until I have a contract, because I know that a property on the market is subject to a better offer at any time.
Conveying acceptance prior to signoff is NOT a contract.

It ain't a deal until it is a deal, and you don't have a deal.
Get over it and go serve your client.
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Old 03-15-2010, 09:07 AM
 
Location: Central Texas
20,413 posts, read 37,792,946 times
Reputation: 22550
A wise agent advises their client (and keeps firmly in mind) that until all signatures are in place, you don't have an agreement. Even if it is negotiated via email (and I try VERY hard not to do that because I've been bitten by this).

If we counter, we do it in writing on the appropriate form. If we agree, we do it in writing on the appropriate form. In this day of email, printers, and scanners, not to mention electronic signatures, there is NO good reason not to do it that way. And a very good reason TO do it that way - the kind of situation you find yourself in doesn't occur and you don't find yourself (and, worse, your client) asking the question in the OP.
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