When you sell or purchase a home, your realtor will usually present you with a widely used form contract. The realtor will have the ability to customize that form to fit your needs. The contract will typically provide that each party's attorney will have 5 business days to (1) approve the contract; (2) reject the contract; or (3) negotiate modifications to the contract.
During this 5 day period, the contract is contingent upon attorney approval. If your attorney fails to reject or seek to modify the contract within the 5 day period, the contract will automatically be binding upon you after the 5 day period expires.
When your attorney sends a letter requesting modification of the contract, he or she will include language in the letter that states that the proposed modifications do or do not represent a counter-offer. If the modifications do represent a counter-offer, the other side will have an opportunity to negate the contract by rejecting the modifications. If the modifications do not represent a counter-offer, rejecting the modifications will not nullify the contract.
Often, the parties cannot come to an agreement on the all of the contract modifications within the 5 day review period. In this case, the review period is typically extended by mutual agreement.
A good attorney will be sure to staunchly protect his client's interests while, at the same time, working to achieve a meeting of the minds between the parties so as to prevent the deal from falling through.