Offer was made on a property in MI. An agent submitted offer to my agent. We/our agent countered full price via email. The agent replied offering full price, but we have to close by a certain date and we will have 30 days occupancy (which we wanted.more) again via email. We discussed and our agent replied that we would accept the offer, to resend your offer with the changes (a purchase agreement) and we will sign.
This was on a monday, my agent said she will present the paperwork for us to sign when she comes back from vacation on thursday.
Thursday morning, my agent recieves another offer (better) and brings both offers to present to me. One of my options she said was to ask for highest and best, which i chose.
First agents crying foul.. do i have to accept without the signature?
Just so I am sure I read your facts right, you are the seller correct? Not the buyer?
Signatures are required to make any real estate transaction binding under Michigan's statute of frauds. Writing acceptance in an e-mail is not sufficient to constitute a signature, generally.
While I do not deem it likely, that does not mean that the first offeror won't seek enforcement of that in court. If that is the case your options are to either go with the first offer or hire an attorney to defend you in the court.
This is not an open and shut question. The issue of whether or not email constitutes a binding writing, meeting the Michigan statute of frauds which requires that agreements for the sale of real estate be in writing, depends upon whether the parties indicated an intent to be bound by their email communications. My opinion (worth what you are paying for it) is that when your agent told the selling agent that she would present paperwork for your signature on return from vacation, she was indicating to the selling agent that you were not yet bound and would only be bound upon signing "the paperwork". You did not and therefore you are free to accept other offers.
Others may have different opinions or perhaps a different view of the facts, and therefore, a lawsuit is a possibility. My bottom line: discuss this with an attorney whom you hire to analyze the situation.
You haven't identified the other parties involved in this question so I cannot determine whether I may have a conflict in this matter. Should it turn out that I have an attorney-client relationship with any of the other parties, my response to this question will not prevent me from continuing to represent an existing client.
"our agent replied that we would accept the offer, to resend your offer with the changes (a purchase agreement) and we will sign. "
You can't have a contract to have a contract, so the "agreement" to "accept the offer" at a future time when you "will sign" indicates to me that you did not already have a contract and that was communicated to the other side.
This will get to an evidence question, so if the difference is not great, you may wish to avoid the litigation possibility.
This is not legal advice. I am not your lawyer. You are not my client. You cannot rely on my response to your question. My response to your question is probably worth exactly what you paid for it. You don't get to sue me for anything. If you'd like to sue me, well you have to hire me first.
From your description, it appears that both parties understood there needed to be a written acceptance of the counter-offer, as expressed in the email. Therefore, a signature was necessary to make any counter-offer binding.
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