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Can buyers withdraw offers before seller acceptance?




Question: I’m representing a buyer who made an offer to purchase a residential property and the seller has three days to accept. However, the buyer now wants to go a different direction and no longer wants this property – he wants me to withdraw his offer.

The seller hasn’t accepted the offer yet, but there are still two days left until the time-of-acceptance period expires. May the buyer withdraw this offer?

Answer: Yes. An offer may be withdrawn any time prior to acceptance, even if the time-of-acceptance period hasn’t expired. The withdrawal may be done by verbal or written communication – however, a written withdrawal is recommended.

Question: I have a listing that was only on the market a couple days when three offers came in. The seller accepted one of the offers. Now the broker who represents the buyer whose offer arrived first claims my seller had an obligation to negotiate with his buyer because his offer was presented to the seller first. Is this true?

Answer: No. There is no Florida law that would require the seller to respond to any offer. In addition, no Florida law requires the seller to negotiate with each buyer in the order in which offers were received.

Question: I’m a single agent for a buyer and submitted an offer using the Florida Realtors® Contract for Residential Sale and Purchase contract form. The seller’s single agent is telling me that his brokerage prefers the Florida Realtors/Florida Bar Residential Contract for Sale And Purchase form, and that they won’t present my offer to his seller. May they do that?

Answer: It depends. Section 475.278(3)(a), Florida Statutes, provides that a single agent must present “all offers and counteroffers in a timely manner, unless a party has previously directed the licensee otherwise in writing.” Therefore, if the seller has previously directed his or her single agent, in writing, to withhold any offers written on a particular form, then it would not be a violation for the seller’s single agent to refuse to present it to the seller.

However, if the seller hasn’t previously directed their single agent in writing, then the agent must timely present the offer.

Question: I’m a Realtor representing a buyer (as a single agent) who’s interested in a property listed with another brokerage firm. I submitted my buyer’s offer to the listing agent several days ago; however, I’m concerned that the listing agent hasn’t presented the offer to the seller. I’ve been unsuccessful in reaching the listing agent. May I contact the seller directly?

Answer: No. Pursuant to Article 16 of the Code of Ethics, a Realtor working as a buyer’s agent may communicate with the seller only through the listing office unless they have permission to communicate with the seller directly. You are welcome to inform the listing agent and broker that you suspect the offer wasn’t presented and ask for any proof of submission. If you are unsatisfied by the listing agent and broker response (or lack of a response), you can always file a complaint with the Florida Real Estate Commission (FREC), which should trigger an investigation.

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