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Seller In Se…, Home Seller in Seattle, WA

I am a seller. I just received a purchase and sale agreement. Technically, it is counteroffer #2. According to the counteoffer, I only have 6 hours

Asked by Seller In Seattle, Seattle, WA Mon Jun 14, 2010

in which to make my decision. Is this fair? I've explained to the buying realtor that I needed more time but she did not seem very sympathetic. Her response was to do what I've got to do. How should /can I handle this?

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Mack McCoy’s answer
By now, you've made your decision, but other people will be reading this from time to time.

Negotiations aren't always easy, but most people would prefer to negotiate than to over pay or under sell.

Every counter offer carries with it some risk - the other party will reject it and walk away, leaving you with nothing; and some promise of reward - if they accept it, you'll be better off.

Sometimes in life, you're called upon to make a quick decision, a decision that may affect the rest of your life (as in, do you live in this house, or in some other house).

When time is short, sometimes even otherwise decisive people will avoid making a quick decision - calling friends and family and even strangers, posting on websites, cursing at the "unfairness" of it all.

But really, none of that matters. At some point in time, whether sooner or later, the other party's offer to you expires. Yes, they may still be willing to negotiate with you, or maybe not, but that offer is no longer within your right to accept.

The key is to not make the process more important than the objective.

All the best,
7 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jun 14, 2010
This is a negotiating ploy designed to pressure you into a decision. If the offer is within a range worth accepting, consider it. If you have been on the market a long time, with little activity consider it strongly. If you are new on the market and the offer seems low, it might be worth passing on. There is no way for anyone here to know the details or quality of the offer, so talk to your agent and ask their advice. If you don't have an agent, this is just one area where we earn our commissions. Dealing with tactics like this are what we do regularly.
If you elect to accept the offer, just be prepared for tough future negotiations on the inspection or other issues that may come up.
Is it fair? Yes, but it's not nice. I tend to react badly to such tactics, but again I don't know any details.
3 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jun 14, 2010
I know this question is old, but I wanted to share from a buyer's perspective for future readers.

We're military and moving 6000 miles to a new duty station soon. We will arrive at the new location a couple of weeks after school starts, we have 5 kids, 3 of whom are in school, one being a junior in high school. Until we buy a home, we don't know which of 10 or so school districts we will live in.

I've been looking at houses for a couple of months,ever since we got notification of where we were going. Our first agent was terrible, and I finally fired her. (Her loss, as it turns out, we would have been one of the easiest commissions she ever earned).

The day after we got a new agent, I happened to see she was actually the listing agent on a house I've been watching on realtor.com since January. Sent her an email asking questions about the property, got answers that sounded like it was almost perfect for us. That was on Monday. On Tuesday I told my mom about the house and asked if she would be willing to go look at it for us (she lives about an hour away from it). On Wednesday morning, she called our agent, and at 1pm, my mom and best friend went to see the house. I'd asked the agent to take a lot of extra pictures for us, since we couldn't see the house in person ourselves. Thursday morning I received the pictures. Spent most of the day on the phone with my mom, my agent, and my best friend asking questions and finding out everything we could about the house.

Thursday night, my husband and I decided to make an offer, called our agent and told her we were going to make an offer and I would have it in her email within the hour. Friday morning I received the contract and paperwork from our agent, we signed and immediately emailed it back. It was presented to the sellers late Friday evening, with a respond-by time of mid-day Saturday (yes, it had a specific time on it). I asked the agent to please let the sellers know we were in a time crunch and if we couldn't make a deal by Wednesday, we would have to put it on hold until August. (We will be traveling for over a month getting there, and out of touch for much of the trip)

Late Friday, the agent called and said the sellers had accepted our offer :-) Granted, we made our offer very attractive, but had the seller balked at the short time frame for a decision/counter-offer, it would have been a deal-breaker, because we simply do not have the time for a long back and forth trying to get to contract, because I have to be able to get the stuff done with my bank and that requires me to have an address for them to send paperwork to. I won't have an address after this coming week.

I know dual agents are frowned upon, but I believe for our particular situation, it was beneficial. The sellers were agreeable with us knowing why they have to sell, and we were agreeable with them knowing why we are in a time crunch to get a deal made. Each side knowing the others situation prevented a lot of dilly-dallying for us.

So, long story to say, if you don't know the buyer's situation, you have no clue why they may have a short response time required. I would not necessarily recommend buying a home the way we have (dual agent, haven't seen it in person, etc), but I am a LOT more comfortable with that than living in a travel trailer with my 5 kids, 5 cats, large parrot, etc for 2 months while we look for a home, go through the offer process, and then wait for closing, which currently is 45-60 days with my bank.
4 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Jul 4, 2010
Interesting discussion here. Obviously the six hours has passed so curious what you decided to do. I personally would have a number already in my head of what I wanted and would be able to make a decision or counter in about 15 minutes if my home were listed. Has your agent given you a net proceeds so that you know what your range is as well? If not, you should ask for one and then you wouldn't need to worry about a six hour deadline.
Web Reference: http://www.cooperjacobs.com
3 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jun 18, 2010
People - this question was asked June 14 - and the person said they had a SIX (6) hours to respond!

That was over a month ago - the 6 hours were up long ago, thus, I am sure he made his decision and has resolved it one way or the other.

So, Seller in Seattle- if you're still there - how did you handle it?
2 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jul 21, 2010
I was thinking...response time is usually about a date and not "hours". Perhaps you mean they asked you to respond today (which usually means by 9 p.m. in standard contracts) and you got the offer this morning and thought you had to answer by 5?

Maybe the buyer signed it last night and sent it to the agent and they asked you to sign by today's date? Maybe by the time the buyer agent received it and forwarded it to you, some of the full day expired?

Very rare that a contract would require a number of hours vs today's date meaning by 9 p.m. It's 10:30 right now... :)
2 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jun 14, 2010
I am curious to know whether you accepted the offer or not. Good luck. It is important for sellers to know how much they will net and if it is going to result in a short sale before accepting an offer.
Web Reference: http://www.gitabantwal.com
1 vote Thank Flag Link Fri Jul 23, 2010
I am just curious now to find out what you decided to do and how it all turned out.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Jul 21, 2010
Is your 6 hours up yet? Jow about a report on what happended? Most of us realtors are kind of slow because we don't notice that you asked this June 14. So we can stop this thread, please respond.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sat Jul 17, 2010
How badly you want the property.? In poker it's put or shut up. In real estate put your money where your mouth is than you run for cover.

Dear Seller, The right decisions are made sometimes instinctively. The wrong ones with procrastination.
If you listen to reason you either love it or leave it.

Best of Luck with the decision
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Jul 7, 2010
DO NOT LET ANYONE rush your sale. Make sure you accept the offer which meets your terms. Real Estate is the largest investment most people make in their lifetimes. If the offer is valid and real, your agent should be able to acquire the extension.

Roger Perry
Rodeo Realty - Beverly Hills
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Jun 30, 2010
Many times the buyers are in from out of town and need to buy right now. They may have a second choice that they want to make an offer on if they can't come to an agreement with you..
As long as you can come to agreement on the closing date, you should know what you want to take as a sale price. If the price is not acceptable then the timing doesn't matter. if it is take it.
It comes down to, do you want to go or do you want to stay?
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Jun 30, 2010
It's obvious the 6 hours has come and gone. For those who review these responses for future reference: I would see the time limitations as an effort to ascertain whether you are serious about selling the property while allowing the prospective purchasers to make an offer on their second choice in a timely manner.

It is important to establish up-front, when you put your home on the market for sale, just exactly what your end goals are. Discuss those goals with your Broker. Best to iron out the wrinkles before they become mountains. Given the current market conditions, Buyers are in the driver's seat. Unless you're looking for a driver, establishing attainable parameters from day one in concert with your Broker should keep you securely in control.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Jun 30, 2010
Since this is counter offer #2, with this short time line to respond, it does appear that these buyers want to move on this quickly or move onto something else. There could be other issues that may require a few more hours to think it over. I would have to agree that you request a more reasonable time to consider all the aspects of the counteroffer. But, reasonable is key, if you already made your decision on the most important aspects of the offer, then I would suggest you communicate that with the agent and see if the other issues that you need more time to consider are a "deal breaker" or not. Good luck!
1 vote Thank Flag Link Fri Jun 25, 2010
I suggest asking your listing broker for advice.
Obviously they are interested in purchasing your home or would not have made an offer.
Web Reference: http://michaeldvorkin.com
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Jun 23, 2010
"In WA the default time period is 2 days, unless defined as less. You could counter the counter and ask for more time without giving an answer on price."

That would not allow you to accept the price at the end of those two days, and would be no different than simply not responding to the counter-offer in a timely manner.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Jun 16, 2010
As Mack says, you'll have made your decision by now, but others may be reading this and wondering how they'd handle a similar situation.

That's a very basic negotiating technique. See, for example, http://www.rdawson.com/articles/time-pressure.html In fact, see all the negotiating articles at http://www.rdawson.com/articles.html

If you've ever bought a car, or shopped at home for replacement windows, the pitch is: "That's the price right now. But if you say no, the price goes up."

What you've got to do is figure out whether the price meets your parameters. Or, in this case, whether the offer is sufficient. And, as noted already, you also have to weight other issues. In this case, how long has your property been on the market? Have you received other offers? And so on.

Even then, though, you should constantly be reviewing your parameters. For example, maybe you put your home on the market at $300,000. But with no offers in 6 weeks, you're willing to take $275,000. That's OK. Be realistic. If an offer comes in right around $275,000, it'd make sense to take it. If an offer comes in at $225,000, that's below your current price. Don't take it.

Let us know what you decided to do.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Jun 15, 2010
Don Tepper, Real Estate Pro in Burke, VA
Selling a home is a big decision. If you feel that 6 hours is too short, take your time. Don't allow pressure to force you to make an uncomfortable decision. If one buyer liked the home, so will others.

Relax and take the time you need. If this buyer goes away, they will be doing you a favor. It means they weren't serious about the house anyway and would be just as difficult throughout the process.

Good Luck.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Jun 15, 2010
Your Question: am a seller. I just received a purchase and sale agreement. Technically, it is counteroffer #2. According to the counteoffer, I only have 6 hours in which to make my decision. Is this fair? I've explained to the buying realtor that I needed more time but she did not seem very sympathetic. Her response was to do what I've got to do. How should /can I handle this

Without knowing details to the transaction i.e. If you have a listing agent, what is the listed priced, how long the property has been on the market, what offers you have received in the past (if any), what is the normal marketing time, if your home is a distressed sale, among other questions- I offer this response to your question.

Answer: First, you should be represented by a licensed professional who sells properties in your market. This can save you grief and perhaps a lot of time and money. Second, the buyers agent response time is unreasonable and appears to trying to intimidate you. It's best to understand that if the negotiations which are difficult in the beginning are going to be worse as the escrow proceeds. Lastly, If they really want the property they will be reasonable with their time frames.

I hope this advice helps you out. Best of luck.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Mon Jun 14, 2010
The buyer could give a seller 60 seconds to consider an offer. There is no restriction on how short of time a party can impose on the other party.

I would add though that the time limit is only relevant if the party is going to accept the offer/counter-offer. If they're going to counter the offer, they can do so at any time.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Mon Jun 14, 2010

If the seller is talking to the Agent for the Buyer...as it says in the question...we have to assume that he is a For Sale by Owner with no agent. Otherwise he would not be talking directly to the agent for the buyer.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Mon Jun 14, 2010
You are at the big dance right now. Buyers give you a spin, (offer), you give them a spin, (counter) and so on and son until you are either tired of dancing or the music comes to an end which will be when you strike a deal. Each individual situation is unique to itself, hopefully you have employed the services of a professional agent with experience who can guide you successfully through this time.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Mon Jun 14, 2010
It is fair for them to do this. They are trying to get a decision made as quickly as possible. Of course, it is also perfectable acceptable for you to not respond and call their bluff. You can counter tomorrow and see if they are still interested. You do of course take the risk of them walking.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Mon Jun 14, 2010
I hope you didn't let the buyer wait too long.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Sep 23, 2010
I definetly think if you need time you should take it, but don't over do it. The buyers do have quite a bit of choices. If you are working with an agent they should try to help you wit the pro's and con's. If it's only a few thousand dollars away from where you want to be - Is it really worth holding on to your home a few more months hoping you get a better offer as the market is still coming down. Good luck with whatever you decide, I know it's not always as easy as you might want it to be, Think wisely sometimes your 1st offer is your best offer.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jul 29, 2010
Carl - click on "email alerts" on the left, under the question.
Uncheck (if they are checked) the 2 options regarding receiving email alerts, further responses, etc, - click on "save" .....hopefully it should end further updates.

Good luck, as I have been trying the same thing, but on some threads, they still keep coming.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Jul 25, 2010
Obviously the poster has not returned. June 14 is long passed. My major complaiont with Trulis is that OPs do not return and update. I wish I could turn off these threads selectively so as not ro receive answers when this happens.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Jul 25, 2010
I agree with John. In this market, a property can be shown for months with little response, then all of a sudden, when actual activity happens, people want to participate. When you consider how many choices buyers have right now, the goal of the sellers agent is to get the best price and not leave offers floating with wide timetables for response. Buyers are very educated from the glut of information on the internet, and when offers happen, they are aware of what has sold, and if this home will fit their criteria. It comes down to this...after waiting and looking, how much do you want to loose a property for to another buyer if you like it and it meets all your needs
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Jul 25, 2010
The buyers may have put a deadline on the offer if you took a long time on previous responses, also they may have interest in another property. There are many choices for buyers in this market and like it or not, they now are in control. I am always curious why it takes either side in a negotiation a long time to respond. Everyone has a price in their head that they will settle for, Have your agent review the comps with you
consider your carrying cost and how long you have been on the market. I wish good luck. Have a great day
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Jul 24, 2010
In every negotiation the key determinat of who has the upper hand is always time. No matter what anyone else may tell you, never forget that fact. The other agent is attempting to gain control of time by putting a limit on your response time. Feel the pressure? My recommendation in htis situation is to respond with giving something and asking for something else in exchange. For example: agree to raise your offer but ask for the seller to give more assistance at closing, leave the lawnmower etc. With your response inlude a time constraint. Let them know that you can also play the game. I have also had good success in this market by making my response "firm and final" . When the seller believes that you are ready to walk and that pushing you can cost the deal, pressure is now on the other side. If you want to discuss further, drop an email jamespmalloy@yahoo.com

Jim Malloy RE/MAX Rrealty Group Lewes, DE
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jul 21, 2010
As a seller, you should not be communicating with the buyer's agent. Your agent should be communicating with her on your behalf. If you absolutely need more time (may be your spouse is out of town and not reachable or you need to get estimates from a contractor for repairs), convey this to the other party.
Time is always of the essence, but 6 hours sounds unreasonable. We do not know what the buyer's circumstances are. I suggest not to take this personal.So, either you reject the counter offer or accept within their time frame if price and other terms are acceptable to you.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jul 21, 2010
First of all, if you are represented by a realtor, the realtor should be handling this for you! You should not be communicating with the buyer's agent yourself.

Questions that your question raises are: Does your area have a large inventory of available homes? Has your home been on the market for a long time or a short time? Is the counter about price or about condition items that may have to be researched? Why do you need more time?

If there are many homes on the market and you have been waiting a long time for an offer, you may want to just say yes and get your home sold. If there are few homes on the market and you have one or more offers come in the first few days, you may not need to be too concerned about time frames because a reasonable buyer will understand that not everyone can make a quick decision and that couples schedules may need to be considered so they can discuss the offer. If you need to research a price to do repairs, or need to get a contractor's bid to make your decision, communicate that to your agent. If the buyer is unreasonable you may not want to deal with that buyer or his unsympathetic realtor anyway. Once an offer is accepted, an unreasonable buyer or agent will probably be a pain in a body part for the rest of escrow.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jul 21, 2010
If you need more time, the ask for more time. You can't guess what is motivating the buyer or control how they may respond. So make a decision based on your needs and wants. If you feel you need more time, then ask for more time. Can you live with your decision if you respond without understanding or thinking through your answer? If so, then respond as they ask. But if you need another 12 or 24 hours, then respond accordingly. Selling a house is a BIG sale with BIG implications - so make sure you are understand and are comfortable with everything you agree to in the contract. You deserve nothing less!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jul 21, 2010
It sounds to me if it's offer number 2 they are very interested in your home, take your time, don't allow anyone to rush you into such an important decision, but please do let us know the outcome ;)
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jul 21, 2010
My old boss used to say....its better to miss a good deal than to get into a bad deal......so take what time you need (but no procrastination) and if the buyers walk so be it....who knows what motives they had in trying to give you only 6 hours....but it wasnt your best interest they were looking out for.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jul 21, 2010
Insist on a reasonable time to consider all offers.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jul 21, 2010
Dear Seller, in my opinion there are several variables that only you can answer. Do you have to sell? Now? Are you being offered the price you believe will satisfy you? Have you reviewed your most recent Solds in your area with your agent, along with your current competition?
Are the potential buyers offer that you are considering, are they preapproved and has your agent spoke with their lender to verify these facts. Is this your only offer?
I'm sorry to just give you more questions, but sometimes you need to stand back and try to be truthful with yourself. Or are you just holding out for the most you can get someone to pay?
These days, if you have the majority of the answers to the above questions and you are comfortable with them, don't miss your opportunity to do what you have put your property on the market for.
Good Luck,
I hope i have helped just alittle.
Leslie Guzman
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jul 20, 2010
How long has your property been on the market? Have you been hoping for an offer for some time now? Then you should have no problem responding. If you just listed your property and this is your first offer, my advice? "Your First Offer is the Best Offer!" In my experience.

If you are not in a hurry or you are having seller's remorse, you may want to ask your realtor to request an extension to respond. In all honesty? In this market, work with the one you have, if the buyer is preapproved and has provided Proof of Funds to close...reply to his counter! Accept or Counter!
Web Reference: http://www.SoTahoe.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jul 20, 2010
In my experience, if the buyer really wants the home...they will give you a little more time to review the offer. Usually the reason they want an immediate answer is to make sure you are not holding out for a higher offer. So, I guess you will have to decide if it is worth the chance that the buyer will really walk if you can not decide in the time they have stated. It is a bit unusual to have a 6 hour deadline. I usually ask for a response within 24 hrs.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jul 20, 2010
Carl - since this time sensitive question was asked on June 14 - for those responding after that, they must have thought it was a very L O N G 6 hours..... haha

Supposedly trulia is "working" on making the font for the date darker or larger, or both - they should have done that long ago!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Jul 17, 2010
Cogratulations, do you want to sell or not ?
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Jul 17, 2010
Hello Seller in Seattle

Congratulations on finding a buyer in this difficult market.

One thing to keep in mind is that negotiation tactics are not about being fair. The goal of negotiation is winning the best deal for yourself.

You have no need to explain anything to the buyer's agent. Your listing agent should represent you in any communication with the buyer and his agent. Your agent should determine the buyer's reason for imposing such a short deadline.

During your decision making, consider your situation, the market, and how important this contract is to you. The buyer may be trying to reach a conclusion so he can move forward on a different property.

Good luck on selling your property!

Marilyn Stark
Century 21 Heritage
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jul 15, 2010
I think you as the seller in an ongoing negotiation have to do what is comfortable to YOU. The buyer may have a particular reason to set that time frame, or they may be using a negotiation tactic. If you cannot make a reasonable decision in that time, then take the time you need, but understand the consequences. Try to keep an open and clear mind that does not get caught up with win/lose, or one upsmanship. Try to make a clear business decision without emotional contest baggage. I understand that this is much easier said than done. This is after all your home.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jul 14, 2010
If you need more time, take it. If the buyers really want your home they will wait. Many times it is unreasonable to ask for such a quick turn around on a counter offer. Many times my seller have needed to evaluate their financial situation to determine if the deal is good for them and that may tak more than 6 hours.
Best of luck!
Nelene Gibbs, Realtor, e-Pro
Web Reference: http://www.nelenegibbs.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jul 13, 2010
If you need more time, take it. If the buyers really want your home they will wait. Many times it is unreasonable to ask for such a quick turn around on a counter offer. Many times my seller have needed to evaluate their financial situation to determine if the deal is good for them and that may tak more than 6 hours.
Best of luck!
Nelene Gibbs, Realtor, e-Pro
Web Reference: http://www.nelenegibbs.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jul 13, 2010
I don't think your Realtor is being flippant. Buyers make some rules when they list a home and both buyers and sellers make responses based on their own reality at the time. If you can't answer within the specified time then don't. Your reality just doesn't allow you to do that. If the buyers move on to a second offer because they are in a time crunch for some reason, then you did the best you could.

Fairness is not a word used in negotiations. Each side has needs and each side wants to get the best "deal" they can manage without the other side walking away. Creating a win/win is the ultimate goal however that may be looked at as a lose/lose if the parties choose to see it that way. In "fair" negotiations neither sides gets everything their way.

I wish you well.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jul 13, 2010
You may want to involve your attorney.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jul 13, 2010
If in the counteroffer the TIME IS OF THE ESSENCE has a specific date and time, you must respond, then you must respond by this time, or the Counter Offer is considered rejected.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jul 13, 2010
You didn't say whether or not you have a selling any listing broker involved in your deal. If you only have one broker involved then she may have more control over the situation and should appeal to the other party to try to get you more time. If however there is another selling broker involved your broke or maybe giving you very good advice and telling you the facts as they stand. I'm sure you would be upset to know that you had a time restriction that wasn't revealed after it was too late. If there are two brokers involved you can ask your broker to talk to the other broker to see if you can get more than six hours. If you can't rate if you can't then you have to deal with the situation as it is and make your decision. As I said at least you're making a decision based on the facts.
Remember your broker in this case is probably just the messenger and then she would probably rather give you different news. whether you're shopping in the Boca real estate housing market or anywhere else this is a standard problem many people face and that's just part of negotiations.

I hope this helps a little.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jul 12, 2010
Let them know why you need more time. They may be under time constraints. In most real estate offers, time is of essence.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jul 12, 2010
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