This is a tricky issue. And, since it's taken me so long to answer you, I'm sure you have an answer by now!!
But, for those who would look in to this issue for reference, unless it's built in to the purchase agreement, the seller can take as much time as they feel they need.
Now mind you, the buyer might be tempted to say, "I want an answer by 12:00 noon tomorrow." My question would be, "Or what......??" That means, if you ask for an answer by a certain time and you don't get it make sure your requests have teeth! Don't say you want an answer by noon without saying what will happen if you don't get it.
So, if you don't get your answer by noon and you intend to walk away, WALK AWAY! If you don't, then that cuts your agent's ability to effectively negotiate off at the knees. So, I guess I'm saying don't make idle threats (that's too strong, but it gets the point across). Make sure you mean what you say because sometimes these types of strong requests can backfire.
The goal is to get you what you want, the property. Keep your eyes on the prize!!!
How long are you willing to wait? If you put a time limit in your offer, you should be able to walk away if you do not receive an answer within that time limit. Is that what you would want to do if you do not receive an answer within that time frame? Do you want the townhouse? If it is a foreclosure, the REO banks tend to move as quickly as they want to or can move. That time varies from very quickly to not so quickly. How badly do you want the townhouse? Are you willing to wait?
What does your agent say?
In the future, always specify a time period. There's another active thread here, and the consensus is about 48 hours. You can adjust that as you wish.
You don't want it open-ended for a bunch of reasons. First, it gives the seller a chance to "shop" your offer around. ("See, here's an offer I got for $200,000. If you offer more, it's yours.") And, second, you want an answer in a timely fashion. You don't want to wait around for weeks.
Hope that helps.
Time of the essence means there is no going past that date. It means that date is final and no going past it for any reason.
Or as Wikopedia says:
"Time is of the essence" is a term in contract law which indicates that the parties to the agreement must perform by the time to which the parties have agreed
As long as you give them.
Nothing in the MN purchase agreement or MN Statutes (to my knowledge) defines a timeframe for the seller to respond to a purchase agreement that has been submitted.
If your agent or anyone else tells you that "time is of the essence" you should fire them and find an agent that knows what the term means. Hint: It doesn't mean that people have to hurry.
licensed MN Real Estate Broker
Coldwell Banker Burnet