What if my real estate agent didn't put a time limit on how long the seller has to respond to my offer? How much time do they have then to?

Asked by Lymer, 83101 Mon Jun 7, 2010

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23
Linda Lorenzo, Agent, McKinney, TX
Sat Nov 13, 2010
Okay all you people who don't practice in Texas, enough already. There is NO expiration date in Texas, please don't try and rewrite our state laws. Also this post is from June, so I am sure the issue has been resolved by now!!!!!
3 votes
Deborah Brem…, Agent, Los Angeles, CA
Sat Nov 13, 2010
As you can see by the answers, Lymer, the best answer is, "It depends."
First, it depends on the type of contract you are using. For a standard residential purchase, (not a foreclosure or short sale) there will be an expiration clause at the end of the contract. In California, you can specify a date, or, if none is specified, the contract defers to the default language. The default language give three days (calendar, not business) for acceptance.
If the contract is a short sale purchase, there is an additional addendum which specifies a date under which the contract becomes voidable if the lender (not the seller) has not approved the short sale. This date is important, because it allows for the return of your deposit if no approval is forthcoming. (It also gives the seller the right to cancel, so be sure you discuss the date with your agent.) YOUR STRATEGY MATTERS!
Each lender uses a different purchase agreement/ addendum for their REO (foreclosure) sales. They are created by counsel for the bank/ investor, and are usually not modifiable. Pay strict attention to all dates, and the rights they mitigate.
I respectfully disagree with agents below who have said not to put in an expiration date. Your rights under the contract are limited by dates, but SO ARE THE SELLER'S RIGHTS. An open ended contract (no expiration) gives the seller the opportunity to take your offer and hold it, without a response, while they see what else may come along. Of course you can rescind the offer, but wouldn't you rather have an up/ down decision from the seller in a timely manner? If your offer expires, you can always extend it in writing (California has a form specifically for that purpose) or resubmit it.
More to the point, and most important, your agent is DUTY BOUND under the responsibilities of his agency relationship with you to go through, line by line, the entire purchase contract. He should explain the implications of each paragraph, and ASK YOU what you want as an expiration date (as well as every other term of the contract.) If he simply "forgot" that line, then he should rectify that now by submitting a new contract with an expiration date, if you desire. (And what else did he forget, or neglect to discus?) At the very least, he should be prepared to tell you why it was not discussed, and what that will mean for you in your transaction. If he cannot, then you need a better, more thorough Buyer Agent (preferably an Accredited Buyer Agent [ABR]) to represent your interests.
Deborah Bremner
The Bremner Group at Coldwell Banker
REALTOR, 00588885, ABR, CDPE, eAgent, CSP, SFR, HRC, CRE
(O) 310-571-1364 DIRECT
(D) 818.564.6591
http://www.thebremnergroup.com/news/
2 votes
Lisa Cannata, Agent, Falmouth, MA
Fri Nov 12, 2010
Linda, I really don't have the time to read everyones responses. However, In looking back... you yourself wrote the following:

"Since it looks like you are buying in Texas, there is no expiration date built in (Unfortunate I think). You can get your agent to call and see if they plan to respond and when, but until you withdraw the offer there is not much you can do. It is not the fault of the agent, as it is not usual to put in a time limit. If this falls through and make another offer, just ask your agent to put in an expiration"

The last line says it all if you ask me. The buyer should not have to know to ask the agent to put in an expiration. The experienced agent should offer to put it in for them knowing that Texas does not have it standard in their contract. It is our job as professionals to educate our buyers not the reverse.
1 vote
Bruce Lynn, Agent, Coppell, TX
Mon Jun 7, 2010
Lymer,

It's not really normal in most cases I see to put in time limits in the contract.
They can work for or against you.
Every contract I have ever seen with a time limit has worked against the buyer as the seller was not
able to respond fast enough...and it voided the contract.
When timing was important ...you could put one in or put on the fax cover sheet something like:
Buyer respectfully asks the seller to respond by 5pm on Z/Z/2010 .
The seller does not have to respond to your offer now or ever....even if you hae a time limit.
If they have not responded in some way, I would have your agent call and ask for a response if you
are hungry to get one.
If they don't respond you should withdraw the offer, with a simple fax from your agent.
There is not a promulgated form to withdraw offer here that I know about.
Web Reference:  http://www.teamlynn.com
1 vote
Royal Real E…, , 90275
Wed Nov 17, 2010
You can send revised offer with time limit, within which seller would need to respond. If seller doesnot respond within time limit, your offer will be deemed rejected.
0 votes
Carol Lee, Agent, Corona del Mar, CA
Wed Nov 17, 2010
In CA, there is a time frame in the contract (3 days). You may change it by writing something else in.
0 votes
Iris Mcclain, , Hyattsville, MD
Wed Nov 17, 2010
No time limit indicated-the seller can hold your offer forever. Nevertheless, you may withdraw your offer at any time.
0 votes
Paul Burton, , Midwest City, OK
Sat Nov 13, 2010
I would contact your Realtor to see about withdrawing your offer if they are taking too long. I do not do business in Texas so that may not be a possibility, but if it's a private transaction they should be fairly quick about it. However, if it is a foreclosure or short sale, I've seen them take several months to respond to offers.
0 votes
Scott Chance…, Agent, Green Valley, AZ
Fri Nov 12, 2010
Hi Lymer,

Do you want a time limit? If so, I would suggest that you contact your agent and have him rewrite your contract and cancel the 1st contract and put time limits in the new contract. If not your offer could be out there a while.
Good Luck.
0 votes
Myra Gouger, Agent, Las Vegas, NV
Fri Nov 12, 2010
Usually if you are buying a short sale or foreclosure, that section is left blank as it takes a long time for the banks to respond. If a date were there, you would be out of contract before you were in contract. So, if that is the fact here, then the bank can take as long to respond as needed for them to make a decision. If you are buying from an individual, your agent may have previously put offers in on this home and might know that the seller might live in another state or country. So the section is left blank to allow the extra time to get the signed papers back. Also, if you are buying a probate sale that section is left blank as well as it might need to be approved by the courts handling the probate. In short, I would just tell you to be slightly patient. Everyone wants to make a sale and the answer will come in soon. Your agent is likely checking on this with the listing agent at least a few times per day.
0 votes
Linda Lorenzo, Agent, McKinney, TX
Fri Nov 12, 2010
Lisa, you need to read the rest of the responses here and you will discover that in Texas there is no date to accecpt by, just reasonable time. Please don't blame his agent, has nothing to do with how long they have been a realtor.
0 votes
Lisa Cannata, Agent, Falmouth, MA
Fri Nov 12, 2010
Never heard of such a thing. Why would any agent do that? We want the seller to respond in a timely fashion to our buyers offer for many reasons. There are circumstances where we sometimes allow for a longer response, but not in a "normal" sale where you're dealing directly with the seller. I would ask your agent to resubmit with a 24 hour response date. It would also be in your best interest as it would appear your offer is now good indefinitely which is not. Ask your agent how long they've been doing there job and why would they choose to right an offer in the manner they chose?
0 votes
Maria Kastri…, Agent, Tarpon Springs, FL
Thu Nov 11, 2010
This is a question for your agent, to answer according to your state laws. There may be standard/customary rules that apply.
You may change the terms of your offer, including the time for response, any time before it is signed by the sellers and sent to your agent.
0 votes
Amy & Dan Sc…, Agent, cleveland, OH
Thu Nov 11, 2010
Lymer,

Every state has different wording in their contracts, so I suggest you refer to that first. Your agent should communicate with the other agent to express a specific timeframe in which you would like to hear back. Although it's not in writing, you still made an offer and the sellers would be foolish ( as long as it was a decent offer ) not to respond in a timely manner. Good luck to you.

Dan Schuman
http://www.schumanteam.com
0 votes
Linda Lorenzo, Agent, McKinney, TX
Wed Nov 10, 2010
Since it looks like you are buying in Texas, there is no expiration date built in (Unfortunate I think). You can get your agent to call and see if they plan to respond and when, but until you withdraw the offer there is not much you can do. It is not the fault of the agent, as it is not usual to put in a time limit. If this falls through and make another offer, just ask your agent to put in an expiration.
0 votes
Bev LaBauve-…, Agent, LAFAYETTE, LA
Wed Nov 10, 2010
It should have been put in writing in the offer to purchase. No open ended contracts.
0 votes
Alise Alden, Agent, Basking Ridge, NJ
Wed Nov 10, 2010
Always a good idea to ask "When do you think you will have a response?" when submitting the offer. If your agent did not, he/she should be asking that now. If it has been an unreasonable amount of time, the seller may be stalling and possibly negotiating or waiting for another offer. Your agent should try and get this information. You also can choose to withdraw your offer at any time. Or you may choose to raise your offer to make it more attractive, and possibly include a time limit for a response. Good luck.
0 votes
Florette Mel…, Agent, Lexington, NC
Wed Nov 10, 2010
As much as you want to give them and then you can withdraw the offer. If you have not heard from the seller in a reasonable amount of time, whatever that is to you, make sure they have received the offer by asking your buyers' agent to communicate with the sellers' agent. If they have received the offer and you feel it has been too long and want to make another offer or move on to the next home, withdraw your offer.

florette melton
unique properties of the triad
336-768-1993
0 votes
Lake Cumberl…, Agent, Somerset, KY
Tue Nov 9, 2010
If it has been several days and you still do not have a response back, it is probably a sign that your offer was not good enough to get the seller interested in replying. Of course, there could be other underlying reasons as the seller could be out of the country, hospitalized, or incapacitated. I would have my agent check with the seller's agent to see WHY they have yet to respond. Then if you are still interested in purchasing the propery, I would submit a new, better offer and put a time limit for response on this one....
0 votes
Morrighu, Home Buyer, 75482
Tue Nov 9, 2010
If there isn't a time limit, you should:

1- smack your agent around for being stupid. They're *supposed* to be a professional and know better. :/
2 - have the agent retract the offier
3 - have the agent issue a new offer with an acceptable time limit

"Reasonable amount of time" can be 30 days or longer depending on where you are.
0 votes
Mack McCoy, Agent, Seattle, WA
Mon Jun 7, 2010
Here in the Seattle metro area, our purchase-and-sale agreements have expiration dates written into the boilerplate.
0 votes
Don Groff, Agent, Austin, TX
Mon Jun 7, 2010
You can always rescind the offer at anytime as well before it is executed. Have your agent call the listing agent and also send emails to all parties involved.
0 votes
John Mondello, Agent, Prairieville, LA
Mon Jun 7, 2010
depends on your state laws but as a generic answer, a "reasonable" amount of time is sufficient. I think 3 business days is plenty of time.
0 votes
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