2 contracts accepted on 1 property... - Posted by G Green

Posted by John P. (CO) on July 18, 2001 at 22:03:48:

Wish I knew how to go back and change the wording, D!

2 contracts accepted on 1 property… - Posted by G Green

Posted by G Green on July 17, 2001 at 19:08:52:

So here’s the situation I’m in. I recently listed my property with an agent. Within one day, we had an offer for $15k less than asking (we’ll call refer to this as offer from Group A). Knowing that we had a good house, we counter offered back with full price and gave Group A until 3pm the next day to decide. Later that day, another party (Group B) looked at the house and loved it. Hearing that we already had another offer, they submitted a full price + $600 offer that evening and gave ue until 12 noon the next day to decide to accept or counter.

So, at this point there are two contracts on the table. The first is my counter to Group A, expiring at 3pm. The other is from Group B, expiring at 12 noon. Well, the next morning my agent got a call from Group A. He informed them that we had received another offer (I guess in an attempt to drive up the price). Group A seemed a bit put off by the high price, and it didn’t look like they would accept the counter. So, knowing this, my agent recommended that we accept the new offer while it was available. So I did.

The next thing I know, I find out that Group A accepted the counter as well. My agent didn’t cancel the counter! So, now I have the same house sold to 2 different parties! How do we resolve this situation? It looks bad now - Group A and Group B are gearing up with Lawyers and looking for a lawsuit. My agent is scrambling trying to keep it out of court, even offering his commission to the group that walks away from the house. Unbelievably, neither group will accept - they both think they have the house and won’t back down.

What can I do? If this goes to court, I’m going to lose big time. I’ll be stuck with an empty house and won’t be able to get into a new one. Any ideas?? I need help!


Re: 2 contracts accepted on 1 property… - Posted by JD

Posted by JD on July 18, 2001 at 11:23:12:

I agree with everything JTIN said. I would play out the contracts till the inspection objection period ends, one may drop out at that time. If neither drops out, I would then choose which one I wanted to close with. Close. Then let the agents O/E carrier deal with the other. But there is a good chance they will both record their contracts, preventing you from getting Title Insurance, hence you will have to go to court anyway. I dont know if the agents O/E would reimburss you for the additional holding time.

Re: 2 contracts accepted on 1 property… - Posted by Jeff

Posted by Jeff on July 17, 2001 at 22:06:18:

G, My wife and I were reading your post and she told me that she has seen this exact thing happen before. My wife works at a title company in Alb. NM. She not so sure either has a valid claim to your home. Group B should have no claim due to the fact that they had no “funds in place”. Meaning legal tender must be held in earnest for contract validity. I don’t know for sure but she seems pretty adiment about it. She said that in the case she delt with, the seller called his attorny and her came in and sat with the buyers and their attornies and cleared the matter in 20 min. Well I hope that you get this all under control. Good Luck.

Re: 2 contracts accepted on 1 property… - Posted by JT - IN (St. John, USVI)

Posted by JT - IN (St. John, USVI) on July 17, 2001 at 22:01:08:


It seems that your agent has let you down here, by not being in control of this situation. You ragent should have, immediately upon receiving an acceptable offer from B, notified A, that you are withdrawing your counter offer. This action would have eleiminated you being in a tissy here, but unfortunately, you are no doubt having heart burn over this.
I would seek advise from a competent RE lawyer,as previously advised, to put your agent on notice that he/she “dropped the ball”, and you expect them to negate any actions against you. Let this go no further, without making your statement from your RE atty, to ALL parties involved.

Obviously, you can only sell the house once, and that is what you will do, if litigation doesn’t get in the way. Good Luck!

Just the way that I view things…

JT - IN (from St. John, USVI)

Re: 2 contracts accepted on 1 property… - Posted by Nate(DC)

Posted by Nate(DC) on July 17, 2001 at 21:02:12:

Was your counter offer to Group A in writing? If so, did it state that it was an exclusive offer? Depending on your state law, it may be the case that unless the offer states that it is exclusive, that you reserve the right to accept other offers. But I don’t know your state law (in fact, I don’t even know what state you’re in).

I agree with Jim, you’re going to need a good real estate attorney immediately, and the broker is going to have to spend some serious bucks to unwind the mess he made.


Re: Which one - Posted by Ed Copp (OH)

Posted by Ed Copp (OH) on July 17, 2001 at 20:39:30:

did you accept first? That is the contract. Everything else is just unaccepted counter offers.

Your agent can NOT accept for you, unless of course they have your power of attorney which I doubt.

So you need to understand what a contract is in this case. A&B made offers to you, you made counter offers back to them. No contract yet just offers and counter offers. Now both A&B agreed to your counter offers. So you ask when does this thing become a contract? The answer is when the agent delivers the contract to you (hard copy) and says congratulations, you have a “contract”. The question now is which one did you actually accept “in hand” first? That one is the contract, and the other one in an incomplete counter offer.

Be assured that whichever agent does not get paid here, will cry and moan long and loud (boo Hoo).

Re: 2 contracts accepted on 1 property… - Posted by SCook85

Posted by SCook85 on July 17, 2001 at 20:07:53:

I’m not quite sure the way the law would read in this situation, but I do recall someone once saying that a counter offer is simply that, a counter offer. If another offer comes in during that time you can accept it. Group A loses.


Re: 2 contracts accepted on 1 property… - Posted by Jim Locker

Posted by Jim Locker on July 17, 2001 at 20:00:48:

It looks to me like the time frames here are absolutely critical. As you describe it, you accepted Group B’s offer and your agent screwed up. I suppose this acceptance occured before noon, and Group A’s acceptance occured before 3 PM?

Your agent has errors and omissions insurance. Looks to me like he is going to need it.

You need to get your own attorney. It could take awhile. Maybe you should just move back into your house until the dust settles.

Re: 2 contracts accepted on 1 property… - Posted by Nate(DC)

Posted by Nate(DC) on July 18, 2001 at 15:00:56:

I highly doubt either one would record the sales contract, because a document must be notarized to be recorded, and most real estate sales contracts are not notarized.

Other than that error of fact, point taken.

That would be the point… - Posted by JT - IN (St. John, USVI)

Posted by JT - IN (St. John, USVI) on July 18, 2001 at 13:00:08:

of putting th Agent on “Notice”, that you expect the agent and brokerage firm to indemnify you from “ANY LOSS”, including loss due to holding time, atty fees, etc. Put the Agent/Firm in the “Hot Seat”, because this is really “theri problem”, as opposed to your problem. Except that you will be the one getting sued, and you will pass any losses on to the Agent/Firm. Kind of like being in a rear end, chain collision, where each party sues the one that hit them, and ultimately, the one that caused the accident to begin with, ends up reimbursing exery one else and their isn co’s.

Could be a big mess, but notify your agent NOW, via your atty, how you plan to handle things, and this agent may miraculously figure an exit strategy for you!

Just the way that I view things…

JT - IN (from st. John, USVI)

Consideration is NOT … - Posted by JT - IN

Posted by JT - IN on July 17, 2001 at 22:22:28:

Cash on Deposit in the form of Earnest Money !!
This is widely misunderstood! Considertion is what is required for a contract ot be valid, but this need NOT be a deposit, but a promise to close, etc.

Most folks confuse the aspect of earnest $$ being required, due to it being the norm for RE purchase contracts, but NOT the way it is!

I’m sure that most deals your wife sees, that are “Realtor deals”, are accompanied by earnest money, but we don’t want to pattern ourselves after anything that RE agents do, as evidenced by the original post, and problem.

JT - IN (St. John, USVI)

Answers to your questions - Posted by G Greenwald

Posted by G Greenwald on July 17, 2001 at 21:28:49:

Let me see if I can answer all of your questions…

In response to Jim:
Actually, the offer that expired at noon was accepted at 2pm. The deadline was only verbally extended. The counter offer to Group A was accepted at 2:30pm. Do you think this affects anything? Also, I can’t move back in because my wife and I have already accepted positions in a different state. I need to get this resolved ASAP.

You are thinking exactly as my broker was, and the way that Group B is thinking. However, according to most people (including the Real Estate commission), Group A should get the property.

I accepted the offer from Group B. It was the only contract that I ever had in hand or delivered by my agent. I never actually saw the offer from Group A, just the revisions and the counter proposal in form of a fax. Also, A & B’s offers were not both counter offers. Group A accepted a counter and Group B had their original offer accepted by me. As for the agents, everyone seems to just want get the thing resolved (except the clients).

Yes, the counter was in writing. I’m not sure if it said that it was exclusive - I’ll check into it. I live in Denver, Colorado.

One other interesting point that my agent brought up tonight, Group B did not provide an Earnest payment/check - they only provided a copy of the check. Group A provided a check that is held by my agent. He seems to think that the contract is only valid if a check is submitted - any thoughts?

Thanks so much for your help! You give me some really good things to think about. Anyone know a good Real Estate Attorney in Denver?

Re: 2 contracts accepted on 1 property… - Posted by JD

Posted by JD on July 18, 2001 at 23:10:30:

I was once in a similar position to G Green. One buyer recorded their contract, I tried to close with the other buyer put could not get a Title commitment. I ended up closing with the party that recorded their contract.

Re: 2 contracts accepted on 1 property… - Posted by Bob H

Posted by Bob H on July 18, 2001 at 17:33:39:

It may vary from state to state, but in CO notarization is not a requirement for recordation.

We had a similar situation a few months ago, when a seller refused to close. The first thing our attorney advised us to do was record the contract.

Re: Answers to your questions - Posted by Bob H

Posted by Bob H on July 17, 2001 at 23:52:01:

Based upon the information in your posts, you have indeed sold your property both parties. Here is the name and phone number of the attorney I would use (I’m in CO also): Jon Goodman 303-494-3000. Best of luck in resolving your problem (BTW, as bad as your situation looks - your agent’s position is even worse)

Re: Answers to your questions - Posted by John P. (CO)

Posted by John P. (CO) on July 17, 2001 at 23:32:14:

Bill Bronchik, who writes for this site and heads the local investor group, is a real estate agent in Denver (or Aurora.) You can contact him through his site, legalwiz.com.

Re: Answers to your questions - Posted by Jim Locker

Posted by Jim Locker on July 17, 2001 at 21:50:39:

I dunno… from the description of the timing here, looks to me (I am not a lawyer) like A has the better claim.

Re: Answers to your questions - Posted by SandyFL

Posted by SandyFL on July 17, 2001 at 21:41:04:

Gee. Ever heard of Bill Bronchick? www.legalwiz.com?
But hey, I agree with Ed. The only legal contract there is is the written one from Group B!


Re: 2 contracts accepted on 1 property… - Posted by Nate(DC)

Posted by Nate(DC) on July 19, 2001 at 14:57:55:

I stand corrected. The post below also notes that a document does not have to be notarized to be recorded in Colorado.