You can't consider yourself still under negotiation of terms and having a valid contract at the same time. When he asked for XYZ to be done, they were still in contract.When the sellers said "no", they were still in contract.He could have waived the inspection contingency after the sellers said "no", and continued on.It was only when the inspection contingency wasn't waived (and the time period expired) that he was no longer in contract.Asking for a modification to the contract does NOT mean that the original contract is nullified. So you can indeed be attempting to negotiate and have a valid contract at the same time. In this case the only reason that the contract didn't continue is because the buyer exercised his inspection contingency. You may think "but he didn't actually say he didn't want it, the time just expired". The way his contract was written is that when the time expired, that contingency was exercised (unless waived). So by his inaction (not waiving it or getting an extension) he did exercise the option.
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