Can the list price of a house be changed after an offer is made?

Get Legal Help Today

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

Can the list price of a house be changed after an offer is made?

I am looking to buy a house. I found one I liked for $310,000. I made a good offer contingent on them paying my closing fees. They responded back yes to the closing fees but the price on the house will be $316,000. I said no and checked the listing today and the price of the house is still $310,000. Is that legal?

Asked on January 23, 2016 under Real Estate Law, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

Unlike when you go into say, a department store and see something listed as for sale for $31.00, and the store *must* take your $31.00 and sell you that item, a home-seller has the right to turn down any offer--even a market price or above market price offer--for any reason that is not a prohibited form of discrimination (the main one of which, for housing purposes, is racial discrimination). They can take a lower offer from person A while insisting on more money from person B. So as a general matter, this is legal.
It is further legal because you wanted closing fees: that would cost them money and effectively reduces the price of the house. For example, say that closing costs may be $5k - $6k. An offer of $310k but seller pays closing is really the equivalent of a $304k to $305k offer, because paying closng reduces what they get by $5-6k. 
Evidently, they want to get $310k for their house--not $310k less closing. So they came back and said sure--pay us $316k and we'll pay your closing, so we'll net out to around $310k after closing. That is both legal and reasonable: they don't have to accept less profit on their house because you want your closing costs paid.
When you wouldn't do that, they went back to listing the house at the same $310k it was at and they wanted--that is legal.
FYI, I don't know your real estate market, but if it's anything like mine (northern NJ), try making a non-closing cost offer: in my area, where houses sell well, no sellers accept an offer requiring them to pay closing costs unless the offer is well over asking price.


IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

Get Legal Help Today

Find the right lawyer for your legal issue.

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption