Mc Naught & Co

When is an Offer a sale?

X3In the process of buying and selling a house often the sale document goes backwards and forwards until everyone is happy with the purchase price and terms. Not always does this comply with the law and the “sale” may be invalid. Here’s more information on this..

If an offer to purchase a property by a buyer contains a clause – usually at the end – that says that the offer is valid for acceptance until a certain date and time, then the offer will lapse and be of no effect if the seller does not accept the offer within the time limit.

If the seller intends to accept the offer but the time limit has expired, he needs to extend the time limit, initial the alteration, and sign the document and send it back to the buyer, or agent on behalf of the buyer.

You therefore do not yet have a binding sale agreement, as, the time limit by the buyer having gone past, the seller is now effectively making an offer back to the buyer giving the buyer a new time limit within which to accept the seller’s offer back to the buyer.

Only if the buyer now signs the alteration and resigns the document is he accepting the extension of the time limit and the offer within such extended period. You would then now have a sale.

This also relates to any other alteration to the sale terms if the seller makes changes to the buyer’s offer when he receives it. For example if the buyer provided that all curtains are to be included in the sale, and the seller crosses that out, the seller’s new offer to sell the property without the curtains needs to be referred back to the buyer to see if the buyer accepts this change to the sale conditions. If the buyer does not accept this change you still do not yet have a binding sale.

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