What constitues a reasonable period of time to wait for a seller to respond to an offer to buy a property?

Asked by Jeffrey, 22180 Thu Mar 12, 2009

Background: I wrote an offer on a property in Vienna, Virginia. It has been 4 days, and my agent has not received any response back from the seller's agent despite several inquiries. The contract states that time is of the essence but does not have explicit periods for responding back with an acceptance, rejection or counter. What recourse do I have as a buyer under the circumstances? Is my offer being gamed to see if they can get a better offer from someone else?

Help the community by answering this question:

+ web reference
Web reference:


Dp2, , Virginia
Wed Mar 18, 2009
That's why all of my offers have kill dates.
1 vote
Bill Eckler, Agent, Venice, FL
Fri Mar 13, 2009

Two can play this game. Have your agent notify the listing agent that you are moving on and considering other options. If you remain interested in this property, you may want to have the message passed to the owner that your offer will remain effective until you submit an offer on another property.

This will give THEM something to think about. With this said the next contact, if any, should come from them.
1 vote
Francesca Pa…, Agent, Manasquan, NJ
Thu Mar 12, 2009

The seller could be "shopping" your offer or could most certainly be taking his/her time to accept weighing his/her circumstances . . . one can only guess. While most offers I have presented, have received an immediate response, many successful offers have taken up to two weeks to be accepted. My best advise to you would be to keep looking and NOT have your agent continously attempt to solcit as a response as this could speak to your desire and therefore, lead the seller to believe that he/she could stand her ground in order to get their price . . . The delayed reponses I have received have been those where we demonstrated that we would continue to peruse the currently inventory.

Web Reference:  http://www.PatrizioRE.com
1 vote
Bob Georgiou, Agent, Danville, CA
Thu Mar 12, 2009
It sounds as if you are in good hands with your agent. 4 days is getting long in the tooth bet there could be good reasons for a seller not responding. I personaly have had situations where one of the sellers was 100% sure they could get more money and would not accept what i thought was a reasonable offer. I have had sellers disappear on vacation at the last moment and not tell their agent. If the sellers let the expiration on your offer makes it unenforcable at YOUR discretion. Go and keep looking and write other offers. If the sellers come back to you, accept or not. You are in control!
Web Reference:  http://bob2sell.com
1 vote
Bill Eckler, Agent, Venice, FL
Sat Mar 14, 2009

Congrats.....and thank you for the feedback which we so seldom get.

Good luck
0 votes
Doug Francis, Agent, McLean, VA
Sat Mar 14, 2009
In my book, it is important to respond within 24 hours or less. Having your agent call and ask about the situation is key, and have him or her tell the listing agent that you plan to look at other homes on Sunday. The fear of loss is a real motivator... a bird in the hand.
Unless this is the best house of the decade, keep in mind there are others. Yes, they are "gaming" you but you need patience and a clear mind. It isn't your home until you approve the home inspection, hoa docs if any, or agree with the banks appraisal.
Again, within 24 hours is my rule of thumb. Good luck!
-doug francis, ABR Vienna
0 votes
Jeffrey, Home Buyer, 22180
Sat Mar 14, 2009
Thank you for your thoughtful responses. I thought I would let you know how this played out. On the night of the 4th day (Thursday), I wrote an email to my agent telling them that I needed to hear something by 12:00 PM of the 6th day (Saturday). They needed to accept, counter or reject. If they could not respond in a timely manner for some reason, they needed to tell us that, If we did not hear something, I would withdraw my offer after that time due to non-responsiveness.

The selling agent finally talked to my agent, and told them there was a second offer for more money (in fact told us exactly how much more!?!), however it included a contingency on selling their home. We got a verbal acceptance by Friday night and a written acceptance by Saturday.

Thanks again for your help!
0 votes
Search Advice
Ask our community a question
Home Buying in Vienna Zip Codes

Email me when…

Learn more