Can a Seller Reject a Perfectly Good Offer?
Though it may not seem like a legal issue to turn down an offer because of the buyer’s lender a seller is capable of doing so.
And how is it possible a home seller can reject an offer?
A seller has a large amount of leverage in deciding who they will accept an offer from to purchase their home. There is no legal contractual right for anybody to make an offer on a home that holds a seller to accept it. While you can’t as a seller engage in what is considered unlawful discrimination, not all discrimination practices are seen as unlawful.
There is a law in a play called the Fair Housing Act that addresses housing discrimination. This act prohibits sellers from refusing offers based on certain protected classes, but it still gives them a large amount of discretion in other ways when accepting an offer on their home.
Under current laws, you can’t refuse to sell a home because someone has a certain skin color or a certain biological makeup that puts them into a membership of a protected class. Other than these factors a seller does not have to sell their home to anybody they do not wish to sell to. They could even refuse to sell a home to a person they just simply do not like.
It is rare for a home seller to have a bias or opinion about a potential buyer’s lender but strangely enough, it has happened where an offer has been turned down because the seller had questions about the validity of the lender or they just did not trust the lender for whatever reason.
In some cases where this has happened, it is not a means of being cruel to the potential buyer simply a means of not being sure the lender used is a reputable one that can be trusted.
Is it legal for a home seller to request buyers use certain lenders?
It has happened before where a seller has required that those making offers on the home be preapproved by a lender of their choice to ensure that the lender is trustworthy and that the home loan is most likely to go through. While it is nice to be able to know the person you are accepting an offer from is financeable because they’re using a bank that is preferred, a seller cannot require that the person who buys their home gets a loan through a lender they prefer.
Furthermore, if the realtor working with the seller is aggressively pushing for buyers to obtain another lender it could be a violation of the realtor’s code of ethics. This is because it could make things unnecessarily difficult for buyers as well as prevent sellers from completely understanding and accepting perfectly good offers.
What can a buyer do if they think their offer has been unfairly rejected?
When it comes to accepting an offer, the homeowner has the ultimate responsibility. A seller is not held to the realtor’s code of ethics. But a realtor can be reprimanded by the National Association of Realtors if they are not giving buyers a fair shake in their sharing of offers to their clients.
If any advice has been given to the seller that motivates their interest in a direction that is not 100% with the intent of their best interest in mind it could be a violation of the realtor code. It can be difficult however to have solid proof that your offer was rejected on terms against real estate code and rules. It is a good idea to seek the advice of a lawyer that specializes in real estate law.
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