Special Clause Offers
A Special Clause Offer is when the buyer submits an offer to purchase on a home with the condition that they must first sell their own home before they can complete the purchase (Sale of Buyer’s Home Condition). This usually happens when a buyer is unable or unwilling to support multiple mortgages.
A Special Clause Offer will include a Sale of Buyer’s Home Schedule attached to the Purchase Contract, outlining the buyer’s property details and asking price. The buyer and the seller will also agree to a reasonable time frame for the buyer to waive their conditions, should the Seller accept an additional offer. This gives the buyer the “first right of refusal” on the property in the case of a second offer.
Although the Special Clause Offer is legally binding, the listing will remain active on the MLS® until the conditions are waived. The fact that a Special Clause Offer is in effect will be disclosed, but its specific details are not. The seller’s agent will continue to market the home to potential buyers as per usual.
If the seller accepts another offer (the Second Contract), the buyer will be notified and they will have until the agreed upon timeframe outlined in Clause 7 of the Sale of Buyer’s Home Schedule (usually 24 or 48 hours) to waive their conditions. If the buyer is unable to waive conditions or fails to give the seller notice within the specified timeframe, the seller can accept the new offer and the original offer is collapsed.
As a Realtor, it’s important to prepare your clients for the pitfalls of Special Clause Offers:
When representing the sellers, ensure your clients realize that the sale of the buyer’s home is out of your control. You have no influence over the price, advertising, salability, or market conditions of the buyer’s home, and no idea how long it may take to sell. In a slow market, your clients may find comfort in having a potential buyer “locked in” but they should also know that others are wary of submitting competing offers, especially in a buyer’s market when inventory is high.
When representing the buyers, your clients need to understand that the seller may accept another offer at any point in time. You will want to help them price and advertise their property aggressively in hopes of a quick sale to secure their dream home.
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