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Roger
Roger, Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
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If the sellers makes a counter offer, and then a day later

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If the sellers makes a counter offer, and then a day later decide to cancel it, is it legal?
Apparently, sellers were told the counter offer is not signed, so they instructed their agent to cancel the offer. Meanwhile buyers claim that the counter offer was accepted by them and emailed to sellers agent few hours before the seller notified everyone of cancellation. Sellers on the other hand clearly state they were not informed by their real estate agents of receipt of signed counter offer.
How does this work? What constitutes the receipt of counter offer?
Hi - my name is XXXXX XXXXX I'm a Real Estate litigation attorney. Thanks for your question.

If your acceptance of the counter-offer was in writing and delivered to the seller's agent (in person, fax or email) or the seller BEFORE the seller cancelled the counter-offer, then your acceptance would be valid and legally enforceable. Once the counter-offer acceptance is reduced to writing and delivered to the seller or his/her agent, then the contract is validated.

Notice to the agent is the same as notice to the seller, so this matter is really going to come down to timing. If you can prove that you delivered an acceptance in writing to the seller/agent before the seller attempted to withdraw the offer, then the contract should stand.

However, it may be hard to prove which came first - - and that will be the fight if you can't agree on this.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Thanks for your reply. A little more information :At the time sellers decided to cancel their agent stated to sellers " there is no counter offer acceptance yet so you can go ahead and cancel it ". However as an aftereffect once the buyers agent pressurized the sellers agent stated " oh yes, there was an email sent to me which I had not seen and until after the seller decided to cancel" so this has really come down to the question of " what constitutes email delivery? and how the time from an email delivery is validated?" The sellers agent also at this point is of the opinion that the contract is valid since there was an email however seller is firm that since they were clearly informed that theres no counter offer acceptance at the time of their decision so they dont consider it as valid.I am sellers relative btw.
The time of the seller's decision to cancel is of no legal significance. The seller's withdrawal of a counter-offer isn't effective until it is made in writing and delivered to you; and if the acceptance occurred before the withdrawal, then the contract should be valid.

I've not been able to find any case law that specifically says when an email is considered to be delivered, but your email should state the date and time it was sent, and you can compare that to any email you received from the seller, and if yours is earlier in time, then you should be in the better legal position.
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