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Can a seller reject an offer they already accepted?

by | Oct 17, 2021 | Litigation Practice, Real Estate Practice

Investing in real estate means looking for the best price and trying to find a good deal, which can help you maximize your earnings if you plan to sell the property. It can also help you lower the costs if you plan to hold the property and use it in some other capacity, such as renting it out. 

When you see a property that fits your definition of a good deal, you move quickly to buy it. The seller, excited to make the sale, may quickly accept your offer. But what if someone else then comes along and offers more than you did? Can the seller reject the offer and take the higher offer, which would clearly put them in a better financial position? 

Were contingencies added to the contract?

What a seller can do in such a situation all depends on the contract itself. If contingencies allow the seller to back out for specific reasons, they can do so. 

For instance, the seller may accept the offer with the contingency that the appraisal needs to come back at a specific level. If the appraisal is too low, they may be able to refuse the sale at that point. 

Another example of a contingency in residential sales is that the seller has to buy another home to be obligated to sell the one they live in. If they’re unable to do so, then they can step away from the sale. 

The key here is just to review the contract carefully before making that offer. You certainly do not have to agree to a contract containing contingencies you do not approve of, but you need to know what they mean if you do agree to them and how they can be used. If a conflict arises, you also need to know what legal steps to take.

if you believe a Pennsylvania seller of real estate is preparing to back out of your agreement to buy the property and sell to someone else, but they have not yet closed on the sale to the other buyer, a Lis Pendens may be a valuable, quick and effective tool to stop the other sale. Your agreement of sale gives you the right to claim an interest in the equitable title to the property, and the Lis Pendens gives anyone who searches the title to the property notice of your agreement of sale, and your claim. Make sure you get help from a lawyer to file the Lis Pendens, and perfect it by serving it on the seller and others involved in the second sale.