I received an offer today from an agent from another firm (just across the street). Initially, he said he would fax it to me and I requested that he not fax it. After all, a fax machine might as well be placed in public for all to see what falls on the floor. I asked him to please seal it in an envelope and deliver to me if possible. I could have even picked it up. I explained to him that by faxing his offer, he could be exposing the offer for all to see, and that could be a violation of his fiduciary responsibility to his client (confidentiality). I had to explain that I had no control over who sees it before it got to my hands.
After presenting the offer to and consulting with my seller, I completed a Seller's Counter Offer form with the major changes to the offer of price and a concession and struck through a number of other requested concessions on the original offer and had my seller sign and initial all changes.
Upon presentation of the counter offer, the other agent became almost adversarial when he noticed I struck through and seller initialed parts of the offer that were unacceptable. He asked me why I had to write on and mess up the original contract? I replied, "what contract, until now all we have is a offer!"
He looked confused, he said no more...I guess he got my point.
In our area it is common for an offer to be chopped and initialed, and sometimes be almost entirely re-written in it's entirety, almost to the point of non-recognition, but until it's signed by all parties it simply remains an "offer" (or counter offer). Albeit chicken scratch in some cases. One of the most important components of all offers and counter offers is date and time stamping. Sometimes I'll take the initiative to clean up all the changes with a final "clean" version and get all parties to sign, but there is no need for one to get upset about having another's ink placed upon your offering. Maybe I destroyed a presumed masterpiece?
It is what it is. IMO