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Seller accepted two contracts

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Junior Member
What is the name of your state (only U.S. law)? What is the name of your state (only U.S. law)? Florida

We were looking at houses and our agent was told by the listing agent of one of the homes that they had an offer but would like our feedback. Our agent called back and said we liked it but had a couple more houses to see and needed a day, but that we were strong buyers (20% down, secure mortgage). The agent said that sounded better. The next day we looked at a couple other houses and decided to put an offer in on the one with another offer. We submitted our offer and the next morning were told it was accepted. The sellers signed a contract with us and we sent our deposit to the title company. Today (2 days later) they told our agent that actual they had another contract on the house when they accepted and signed ours and that the other Byers were threatening to sue. They said they didn't think the other buyers could get financing and want us to be a backup contract. The other buyer has until May 15 to get financing. We have a signed contract, and apparently the buyer prefers our contract - their agent says she didn't think the contract from the other buyer was valid because it did not have signed addendums. Now apparently they feel they have to honor the first contract (which we didn't know about until today). We missed an opportunity to buy a different home because we thought we had this one and, because we are out of state we will have to spend a considerable amount to come back to florida to look again if this falls through. I have to move for a job so we need to move down in the next couple months. Our agent talked to the broker and apparently the other buyers aren't threatening to sue anymore but they want us to act as a backup, not a primary contract (we did not sign a back up contract, we signed a contract and were told the house was ours). We do still want the house, but their agent seems incredibly shady. This process has been incredibly stressful and devastating.
Questions: do we have any right/ability to look at the other contract to be sure it is binding and is prior to ours?
Do we have any recourse to get damages or compensation (besides our earnest money back)?
Is there anything we can do at this point aside from wait to see if their financing falls through?

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Senior Member
You might have a right to look at the other contract once you start to sue them, but what good would it do you? If you had a valid contract that didn't have any indication that it was subject to the other contract falling through, you will have damages from their breach. There's not likely anything you can do to force them to sell to you, but you can probably impress upon them what would happen if they don't. You should contact an attorney where this house (or the seller) is.


Senior Member
You cannot force them to sell to you if there was another valid contract in place prior to yours. The seller simply could not enter into a second contract so yours is not valid. Court cannot force them to sell to you if there was a valid contract already in place when yours was seemingly accepted. The existing buyers have priority here. The seller nor the courts can terminate the existing contract simply to allow yours to move forward.

We missed an opportunity to buy a different home because we thought we had this one
do you mean you had an opportunity to make an offer to purchase this other home? If so, there is no guarantee the bid would be accepted. You can't sue based on what might have happened because you really don't know what might have happened.

If you do want yours to be a backup offer I suggest you sign an addendum stating yours is a back up contract and if the current contract fails yours is activated. Failing to do that could lose you the house again since as I said, without this addendum your contract is not valid due to the existing contract in place. Therefore they can simply ignore it even if the current contract fails.

the only thing you might have are damages from the breach but so far I don't see any. You way you had an opportunity to purchase a different house; unless you had an accepted contract contingent to the offer on this current house not being accepted, as I said before, all you had was an opportunity to submit an offer.
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