First Right of Refusal

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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First Right of Refusal

I have a legal binding contract between seller and myself first right of
refusal with no date to reply to counter. Just found out the house in question
is pending/under contract as of yesterday 8/25. Three part question

1st the seller can’t go under contract/or negotiate without presenting the
offer to me first correct?

2nd since there’s no specified time/date in the contract between seller and
myself my understand I can take my time in counter off?

3rd Wasnt seller to tell me that house was to be listed first before listing
it on the market?

Please advise
Ps house its in the state GA, Atlanta. Mortgage is under my name but deed was
transferred to the seller

Thank You

Asked on August 26, 2018 under Real Estate Law, Georgia


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

To really answer your question requires a review of the terms of the agreement--the contract with the right of first refusal--since contracts are enforced as per their plain terms. That said, generally a right of first refusal requires that you have the opportunity to buy the house under the terms offered to others, and they cannot sell to others unless you were given--and passed on--that option. They can list the house for sale legally--a right of first refusal doesn't mean they can't put it out there or solicit interest, but it does mean that they can't actually sell (e.g. go into contract) without you first having the right to buy. (Generally, it's not cost efficient to list first before giving you your option to buy, but they can do this.) Not having a specified time/date to reply by in the contract means that you'd have to respond within a "reasonable" time--the seller does not have to wait on your leisure and you can't hold them "hostage" by barring them from selling their property for an indefinite period of time. Typically, in real estate, a reasonable time would be taken to around between 3  and 5 business days.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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