Is the acceptance of a counteroffer legally binding?

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Is the acceptance of a counteroffer legally binding?

I made an offer for a property in the amount of 400K. The offer was accepted and it was contingent upon inspection, appraisal and loan approval. After inspection, we found out that there are a lot of things that should be fixed. So we submitted a contract termination and asked the listing agent to get it signed and send it back to us, unless the seller was willing to reduce the price to 375k. The listing agent asked us to submit the price in an addendum. We did. We got a counter offer for $390K (sent through an email). If I reject the counter offer and want to back out of the contract, can the seller be able to sign the $375K addendum and force me to buy the house? Is their email counteroffer legally binding?Thank you

Asked on July 2, 2015 under Real Estate Law, Maryland

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

A counteroffer rejects the offer which its countering and takes it "off the table"--once someone counters, they cannot go back and accept the prior offer without the consent/agreement of the other party (i.e. you could let them accept the prior, $375k offer). An email counteroffer is as effective as a counteroffer transmitted any other way (such as by fax, regular mail, hand delivery, etc.), unless there was something previously agreed to by the parties limiting the way counteroffers could be made.


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