Question: My good news: My offer to buy a house was just accepted. My bad news: An estate owns the home. They told me my offer can be overridden, if a higher offer comes along. Is this true?

Answer: Estate sales are different from standard sales. Jittery estate representatives are usually concerned with their liability. If the other members of an estate complain, the probate court could weigh in.

Here is a scenario: Your contract to purchase is for $300,000. Then, another buyer comes along offering $350,000. The members of the estate are going to be pretty angry with the executor. He took your cheap deal, instead of working harder for a better one.

In a Massachusetts court, this situation played out similarly. An executor got in trouble for not being diligent enough. The resulting loss of $50,000 could be taken from the executor’s fee or his share of the estate. As a result, executors protect themselves by adding special language to their contracts allowing them to accept higher offers.

A good tip: negotiate a clause giving yourself the right to review and match any higher offers. With 48 hours, you can assess the legitimacy of the competing offer and match its price terms – keeping you in the driver’s seat to buy the property.

Priority Law is available to advise on real estate law questions.

This article was originally published in the Lowell Sun and is for informational purposes only and not to be relied on as legal advice, in any manner.