If you’re looking to buy a home, you may come across different clauses defining what you can and can’t do when buying (or selling) real property. It can really be an acronym soup! Today, we’re going to go over another acronym used in negotiating real estate offers, ROFR or right of first refusal.
What Is A Right Of First Refusal (ROFR) In Real Estate?
When discussing real estate, the term right of first refusal (ROFR), also called the first right of refusal, refers to the contractual right given to an interested party that allows them to be the first buyer to submit an offer on a specified property. If the ROFR holder no longer wants to submit a bid, then the seller can then accept other offers and someone else can buy the property.
在讨论房地产时，优先购买权 (ROFR) 一词，也称为优先购买权，是指授予利益相关方的合同权利，允许他们成为第一个对特定财产提交报价的买家。如果 ROFR 持有人不再想提交投标，那么卖方可以接受其他报价，其他人可以购买该物业。
If a home buyer knows they like a property, but it’s not currently for sale, a ROFR clause can allow them to have the first right to purchase a property if the seller does decide to put it on the market. Under this agreement, the seller has to contact the potential buyer and give them a chance to purchase it before they can accept another bona fide offer on the property.
如果购房者知道他们喜欢某处房产，但目前尚未出售，则 ROFR 条款可以让他们在卖方决定将其投放市场的情况下拥有购买房产的优先权。根据该协议，卖方必须联系潜在买家并让他们有机会购买，然后他们才能接受该物业的另一项善意报价。
How Does A Right Of First Refusal Work?
The right of first refusal is negotiated before homeowners bring a property to the market. That person usually has a time limit on how long they have to negotiate before the property owner can communicate with other potential buyers. There’s a date window on the notification, and once that time passes or the buyer declines, the seller is free to sell to another buyer.
There are a couple of ways that the right of first refusal often comes to pass. A real estate agent might see you have a property that’s highly desired by a particular client and ask if you would be open to a ROFR agreement if the property went up for sale. A landlord might also try to entice renters by agreeing to a right of first refusal clause for tenants, should they ever decide to sell.
优先购买权通常通过多种方式实现。房地产经纪人可能会看到您拥有特定客户非常需要的房产，并询问您是否愿意接受 ROFR 协议，如果该房产出售。如果租户决定出售，房东也可能会试图通过同意租户的优先购买权条款来吸引租户。
How Do You Enter A Right Of First Refusal Agreement?
If you’re going to execute an agreement for a right of first refusal, it’s best for both sides to have lawyers involved. This is because there should be a time limit window where the agreement to ROFR applies.
如果您要执行优先购买权协议，最好双方都有律师参与。这是因为应该有一个适用于 ROFR 协议的时间限制窗口。
Typically included in these contracts is an agreed-upon way to calculate what the future sale price of the property might be. In the absence of a specific purchase price agreement, the potential buyer may have the right to match an offer that the owner was going to accept from a member of the general public. If the buyer no longer wants the property, the seller simply accepts the other offer.
For example, the price might be a flat amount or a certain percentage above the current market value. The terms and rules of the agreement should be clear to all participants prior to anyone signing on the dotted line.
Pros And Cons Of Right Of First Refusal
ROFR agreements have benefits and drawbacks for each party to the transaction. Let’s run through both sides of it for both the buyer and seller.
Here are the considerations a potential future buyer might have to think about before entering into a ROFR agreement.
以下是潜在的未来买家在签订 ROFR 协议之前可能需要考虑的因素。
The benefits for potential buyers are as follows:
- No competition. Even if the seller puts the property on the market, they can’t accept any offers before allowing you to have a shot at the property based on the terms in your original contract. This could enable you to get a home you really value without having any anxiety about a bidding war.
- Prices are often pre-negotiated. Because pricing terms are often included in the contract, you could be getting a property for less than it would earn if it hit the open market. It’s worth noting that this only works out if you’re in a market where prices are rising steadily.
- Time to work toward goals. For tenants, entering into a ROFR agreement allows them the time to work on their credit and save up for a down payment while potentially locking in a purchase price, so they’ll be ready to buy when the unit owner is ready to sell.
- 是时候朝着目标努力了。对于租户来说，签订 ROFR 协议可以让他们有时间利用自己的信用并节省首付，同时可能锁定购买价格，因此当单位所有者准备出售时，他们就可以购买了。
There are some drawbacks for the buyer as well:
- Limited decision window. There’s a time limit built into the typical ROFR agreement, so when the seller does decide to put the property up for sale, the potential buyer needs to be ready to make a quick decision and know whether they can line up the financing. They should be ready to enter into a purchase agreement within a matter of days.
- 有限的决策窗口。典型的 ROFR 协议有一个时间限制，所以当卖方决定出售房产时，潜在买家需要准备好做出快速决定，并知道他们是否可以安排融资。他们应该准备好在几天内签订购买协议。
- Prices are often pre-negotiated. This is both a pro and a con for both the buyer and seller. Essentially, if prices have gone down in your area, you could be overpaying by making a deal based on the terms of the original agreement. But if you let the property go to the open market, you take the risk that you won’t be able to get it.
The seller has their own incentives and downsides to weigh. Let’s do a quick rundown.
There are a few potential benefits to the seller:
- No listing required. If you enter into a ROFR, there’s a chance you could sell your property without ever having to list it – which can keep your costs down considerably.
- 无需上市。如果您签订了 ROFR，您就有机会在无需上市的情况下出售您的房产——这可以大大降低您的成本。
- You could make a windfall. If the buyer really wants it without the possibility of competition, you may be able to make out like a bandit and sell the property above market value (assuming the house appraises at that value if the buyer uses a mortgage).
- Give preference to certain buyers. The right of first refusal may be given to family members or current tenants in the property first, and the seller may wish to have an opportunity to weigh their offers before the property hits the market. This can help families build generational wealth.
Just as there are drawbacks for buyers, there are drawbacks for sellers as well:
- You end up limiting your market. Typically, the more buyers that have a chance to participate, the better chance a seller has to gain a higher price. By giving someone the first option, you could unintentionally be lowering your price.
- A fixed contract price could hurt. If you have a specific price point laid out in the contract that ends up being lower than the current market value for the property, you could be leaving money on the table.
- It could cause lending issues. Even if you’re not currently looking to sell your property, the existence of a right of first refusal could create issues if you’re thinking about refinancing an existing mortgage. Lenders and major mortgage investors generally prohibit you from getting a loan when these types of clauses exist because the property serves as collateral for the loan. If you default for any reason and the lender has to sell the property to recoup the investment, they won’t want any clause that prohibits them from making it available to the largest pool of interested buyers in order to get the most money.
What Is the Difference Between A Right Of First Offer (ROFO) And A Right Of First Refusal (ROFR)?
优先要约权 (ROFO) 和优先购买权 (ROFR) 有什么区别？
A right of first offer (ROFO) allows someone the opportunity to make the first move when a homeowner is looking to sell. Unlike a right of first refusal where an owner may be obligated to sell to the potential buyer under the original contract’s terms, the seller is still free to market the property for sale to others. The prospective buyer has a time limit to put together an offer, which the seller can accept or reject. The seller is also free to go back after initially rejecting the offer if they can’t get a more favorable deal from another interested party.
优先出价权 (ROFO) 让某人有机会在房主想要出售时迈出第一步。与业主可能有义务根据原始合同条款向潜在买家出售的优先购买权不同，卖家仍然可以自由地将房产推销给他人。潜在买家有时间限制提出要约，卖家可以接受或拒绝。如果卖方无法从另一方获得更优惠的交易，卖方也可以在最初拒绝报价后自由返回。
The Bottom Line: Carefully Consider Your Options Before Using A ROFR
底线：在使用 ROFR 之前仔细考虑您的选择
Whether you’re looking to buy or sell a home, you should still consider all of your options in a real estate transaction before entering into a right of first refusal agreement. This clause is a useful negotiation tactic, but depending on the situation and current housing market, it may or may not be worth the risk.