Saturday
October 25, 2014

Sellers Jack Up Price After Offer is Accepted

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Sellers Jack Up Price After Offer is Accepted

Some home sellers are accepting a buyer’s offer, even having a contract drawn up, only to ask for a higher price a few days later.

The move called “goalpost-shifting” is becoming more common in competitive markets with limited inventories of homes for sale, The New York Times reports. Some sellers keep the bidding on their homes going even after they’ve said they'll accept an offer from a buyer. 

The New York Times describes a recent incident where a buyer offered $912,000 for a condo that was originally listed for $800,000, which had attracted more than a dozen offers. The seller accepted the buyer’s offer and a contract was written. However, a few days later the seller notified the buyer that the price had increased to $995,000. The buyer refused to increase his offer, and lost out on the unit. The seller ended up selling to another buyer who offered $1.1 million. 

The practice is controversial, but The New York Times quotes brokers who note that buyers are learning a tough lesson: Until signatures are on a contract, a deal isn’t done. Also, they note the buyer is generally given the opportunity to increase their offer. However, other agents say it’s a greedy move on sellers’ part and that once sellers give their word, they should honor it. 

“It’s surprising how ugly it’s getting,” says Robert Frankel, a real estate lawyer who frequently handles closings. “If you don’t hear back about a contract in two days, there are usually some shenanigans going on.”

Source: “The ‘Shift the Goalpost’ Home Sale,” The New York Times (July 19, 2013)

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