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What does a counteroffer do to the original offer?

March 26, 2016

Author: UAR

I know I discussed this in our legal video last week, but I want to delve a little deeper just to make sure everyone is on the same page.

Let’s consider the following hypothetical. A buyer’s agent presents an offer to the listing agent on Monday with an acceptance deadline of Thursday. The seller counters the buyer’s offer and also gives the buyer until Thursday to accept the counteroffer.

On Wednesday, the seller has not heard anything from the buyer and is getting anxious. The seller decides that the buyer’s original offer really was a decent offer and would now like to accept the buyer’s original offer. Remember, the buyer’s original Monday offer had an acceptance deadline of Thursday.

Since it is only Wednesday, may the seller revoke their counteroffer and accept the buyer’s original offer?

The short answer is “No.” The seller may not accept the buyer’s original offer, even though it is only Wednesday, and even though the buyer’s offer didn’t expire until Thursday. By countering the buyer’s offer, the seller has “rejected” that offer. Once an offer has been rejected, it is no longer available to be accepted.

Please help your clients understand this as they weigh the pros and cons of countering an offer.

If you have any questions or concerns about contract formation, please feel free to call the UAR’s Legal Hotline at 801-676-5211 on Monday, Wednesday, or Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

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