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How long can a seller sit on a contract?

A month ago, the seller accepted our offer. She has had our amended contract (we asked for more than 10 days to get the inspection complete -- only change) now for three weeks, with no movement on signing it.

I have many questions.

If she doesn't want to sell, can't she just back out since we're not in contract?
If she has another offer, what's next? Is she required to ask us to counter-offer?
How long can she hold us in limbo like this? Do contracts expire, if left unsigned? 

Any insights would be helpful at this point -- she's not budging.
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October 23 2013 - Maplewood
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Answers (6)

You don't have a contract period  Have your attorney notify the sellers that you  are cancelling your offer and move on. If you have made a good faith deposit make sure that you get it back.
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October 23 2013
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Thanks, everyone!

Our buyer's agent and our attorney are trying to get the story out of the seller's agent & attorney. The most we've heard so far is, "she needs more time to move." 

We've even offered to push out the closing date, but still haven't heard a word.

I realize that we have no contract. If she's not going to sell to us, doesn't she at least owe us some kind of official UN-acceptance of our offer? What are we supposed to do with all of this radio silence?

And if we find another house we want to put an offer on, how hard is it to rescind our offer to her?
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October 23 2013
you are out of contract. Any idea what her motives are? by now your inspection would be over one way or the other. So that cannot be the issue.
Are you both represented? I would simply write a new contract and send it to her agent. The agent has to present. See what happens.
But in any case I would try to find out what the underlying issue is. If she does not react, move on.
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October 23 2013
It's tricky.  In Massachusetts, we use binding offer letters in the western part of the state, Springfield / Longmeadow area, with a 24 hour expiration, but in the eastern part of the state, Boston area, they don't use offer letters, they go right to a p&s after a verbal offer.  I once had an agent give me the run around for 5 days on an offer out in Boston..  

My advice to you would be that if they haven't signed, you have no contract.  I use docusign, it's quick, easy, and fast, and eliminates people holding onto paper and not getting it signed.  Maybe you should take a look at their service. dotloop also has a service, but I like docusign better.
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October 23 2013
If the amendment wasn't signed then the contract is void. What I would do is have a friend inquire about the property thru another agent and see what feedback they get
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October 23 2013
Well if the seller has not signed the contract then you have no contract. If that is the case then the rest of your questions become moot. Since you are in northern New Jersey I assume you are using an attorney?
If you have a realtor then what are they doing.
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October 23 2013
 
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