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Accepting or rejecting an offer

Florida residents who are preparing to sell a home may be curious as to whether they must accept any offer that comes in. Similarly, anyone interested in purchasing a home may wonder under what circumstances an offer can be rejected.

A seller might have a number of valid, legal reasons for deciding not to accept an offer. In some residential real estate cases, the sellers simply change their minds and decide they would prefer not to move or are going to keep the house and rent it out. That is a perfectly acceptable reason for saying no. A seller could also decline an offer that is less money than hoped for. If the seller would prefer a cash offer to close the sale more quickly and the buyer intends to finance, the seller could decline this as well.

The one exception is when the decision to reject an offer is based on illegal discrimination. The Fair Housing Act prohibits a seller from refusing to sell a house to someone based on the buyer's race, religion, gender, sex, color or familial status. For example, a seller could not reject an offer solely because it came from a single parent or from someone who followed different religious beliefs.

Buying or selling a home can be a stressful process. A local real estate attorney may be able to help determine how much a buyer should offer to increase the odds of being accepted. With sellers, an attorney may be able to help review the advantages and disadvantages of an offer. They could negotiate unfavorable clauses in a proposed contract or issues that are found during an inspection. The attorney can help facilitate the closing to reduce stress on the parties.

Source: FindLaw, "Can a Homeowner Legally Refuse to Sell a Home to a Potential Buyer?," Accessed Feb. 11, 2015

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