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Many times you will hear that a property listed for sale has an “accepted offer”. Accepted offer is a contract law term that means that buyer and seller have reached an agreement on the terms of sale and both have signed a legally binding contract (in most cases a residential purchase agreement). Once an offer has been accepted escrow is opened.

The status of a listing with an accepted offer can still be active in the MLS if the listing agent hasn’t gotten around to updating their listing status yet. Once a property has an accepted offer, the mls status should be changed to pending or looking for backup.

Be careful! If an agent representing the seller tells you verbally that you have acceptance, don’t take their word for it. Until you have received a signed copy of the complete contract with both parties signatures, in your possession- you do not have acceptance. According to contract law, acceptance by the seller must be in writing. A verbal statement is not enforceable and does not create a valid contract.

‘Spit and Handshake’ deals are not a valid contracts in legal terms.

Think: Acceptance is synonymous with signed contract in your hands.

A listing agent might tell you that the sellers told them they will accept your offer, and you as the buyer’s agent go and tell your client the good news, just to find out after a day and a half with no communication from the selling side, that they accepted a cash offer that appeared under the table at the eleventh hour.

Remember: UNTIL YOU HAVE SIGNED CONTRACT WITH OWNERS AND BUYERS Signature – you don’t have Squat…

Great buyer’s agents will hound listing agents until they are sent the completed contract.

False Start

As an aside, don’t go spending money on the property before receiving acceptance. This might sound simple, but when you are really excited about buying a property it might be tempting to buy furniture and decorations, hiring movers, and spending money on inspection reports or construction bids. You are basically crossing your fingers hoping that everything will go smoothly. Wait for acceptance before taking on any expenses


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