When is a contract ratified and binding? When both the buyer and seller have signed and initialed off on changes. There may be a loop hole if you aren’t careful. If the expiration date for an offer of acceptance has passed then the contract becomes unenforceable.
For example, an offer on a home is received and the buyer gives the seller until 5pm to respond. The sellers make changes, initial the changes and sign the dotted line. The seller would then put an expiration for their counter offer to the buyer, let’s say 5pm the next day. The buyer doesn’t get the initialed changes back to the seller until after 5pm. Technically, there is no obligation for the seller to go through with the offer because the offer expired.
It can also work in the reverse. The buyer’s offer expires and the seller’s think they have a contract because they signed it and sent it back. Even if the seller didn’t make any changes to the contract if they didn’t get it back to the buyer within the time specified on the contract there is no deal.
Why would this become an issue? What if the seller gets a better offer, or the buyer finds another home they like better? Both parties can miss out on opportunities.
When it comes to contracts and selling a home let the professionals handle the details. A qualified Realtor would know when a contract is binding and what the stipulations may be. Too many times there have been cases where the moving truck is coming, arrangements have been made to purchase another home or rent, and the buyer finds a way to back out of a deal at the last minute.