When I make an offer to buy a home, how long should I expect to receive a counter offer?

Asked by Cullyhanna, Santa Monica, CA Sat Dec 31, 2011

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Randall Ortiz, Agent, Sacramento, CA
Wed Sep 4, 2013
Ask your agent what it says in the contract. If it's gone past that time, ask your agent to contact the listing agent to find out what's going on.
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Gail Mercedes…, Agent, Beverly Hills, CA
Wed Sep 4, 2013

In your purchase agreement there is an expiration date. Validating standing time period of the buyer's offer. Generally, the buyers will ask for 3 days. There is no guarantee that the sellers will respond for variety of reasons. This is especially true if home has multiple offers. In West L.A. prospective buyers need strong offers. Include lender Pre-Approval or if all cash Source of Funds.

Gail Mercedes Cole
EXP Realty Marina del Rey
Your Westside Homes
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Sri Kesava, Agent, Venice, CA
Sat Nov 10, 2012
There are as many answers to this question, as there are unique sellers. One seller I know responds with the hour; another runs each offer by his attorney. This is one the many areas where having a great working relationship with your agent comes into play. Your agent should always feel out the situation and give you their learned opinion of what to expect. Sometimes sellers can throw you a curve-ball but a good (buyer's) agent is always in contact with the listing agent, and conveys information to their client and manages expectations.

As some other answers noted, foreclosures have a whole other turnaround time, depending on which bank it is, and the asset manager. That said, there are maybe only 1 or 2 foreclosures on the market in Venice at any given time, as the market held recovered very quickly after the recession.
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Noah Walsh, Agent, Beverly Hills, CA
Thu Aug 2, 2012
You should know within 12hrs. Usually.
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Thomas Ray, Agent, Los Angeles, CA
Sat Feb 4, 2012
Your agent should be on the phone right away to find out if a counter offer should be expected. If so, your agent can simply ask "When should I expect the counter?"
Exclusive Buyers Agent (EBA)
Search the MLS like an agent: http://www.LAexclusiveProperty.com
Thomas [AT] LAexclusiveProperty.com
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Molly Mosley…, Agent, Columbus, OH
Sat Jan 28, 2012
It depends on the type of home. Is it a regular sale? If so 24 hours. Is it a foreclosure? Depending on how long it has been on the market 24-48 hours. If the property has only been on the market 2 days some banks require that the property is on the market at least 7-10 days before responding to offers. If is a short sale than you may wait 30-60 days. If it is a HUD Home check when the property bid period ends!
Good Luck!
P.S. Make sure you are working with an experienced realtor
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Dorene Slavi…, Agent, Torrance, CA
Sat Jan 28, 2012
Dear Cully,
That depends upon how the California Purchase Agrement was filled out and what kind of sale it is. In a Standard Sale, normally you will get an answer in three days. If there is a differnt time frame,or other circumsances your buyer agent should be able to advise you
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, ,
Fri Jan 6, 2012
For some reason the selling agents in Southern Ca, will counter for title and escrow. So I used to write in there "seller's choice" or call the listing agent in advance to ask who they wanted to use. The reason is there are more important issues to negotiate. I used to always ask if I could talk to the seller if it was not an REO too.
Most of the time I think there are counter offers.
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Shel-lee Dav…, Agent, Rolling Hills Estates, CA
Mon Jan 2, 2012
Not all offers receive a counter offer. Sellers are NOT obligated to counter an offer. Here are some instances where you might not get a counter:

1. Your offer is significantly below the seller's desired price. I have seen sellers "get insulted" by low offers and refuse to respond to them.
2. There are multiple offers and the seller accepts another offer.
3. The listing is a short sale and it is clearly stated that further offers will be held in backup postion in case the current offer is rejected or the buyer decides not to purchase the property.

There are many more examples of why you would not receive a counter offer. Hopefully, in any or all of the above cases, the listing agent will have the courtesy to contact your agent and let them know the status of your offer. Unfortunately, that is usually not the case if the listing is a bank owned property (aka REO).

If you have written a reasonable offer and have not heard from the listing agent, have your agent follow up on your offer. That is the only way you will know where you stand. Good luck with your home purchase and Dare to Dream.

Shel-lee Davis, QSC®
Certified Distressed Property Expert – CDPE®
Short Sale & Foreclosure Resource – SFR®
Certified HAFA Specialist – CHS®
SSG Pro®
Your Real Estate Consultant for Life
RE/MAX Palos Verdes Realty
424-2HELP12 (424-243-5712)
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The Medford…, Agent, Fremont, CA
Mon Jan 2, 2012
Lot’s of good answers below – if it’s a foreclosure, you can wait for over a week - especially at this time of year. Have your agent contact the seller’s agent to see what the holdup is. It’s very possible, if it’s a normal sale, that the sellers have been out of town for the holidays.

In any case, the listing agent should be courteous enough (you would hope) to let your agent know if there was going to be a delay of any kind in responding and get your permission for the offer to remain active after the boilerplate 72 hour period for a response has expired.
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Lance King, Agent, San Francisco, CA
Mon Jan 2, 2012

It depends on the specifics of the transaction. If it's a short sale or foreclosure it could take weeks. If it's a regular sale it depends upon how long they had to respond per the purchase contract, but keep in mind that lots of deals get done after expiration of paperwork.

Make sure you have a great agent/broker to help you.

Best Regards,

Lance King/Owner-Managing Broker
DRE# 01384425
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Christopher…, Agent, Tarrytown, NY
Sun Jan 1, 2012
Hi, every scenario and seller situation is different. some will answer right away and others will sit on the offer 9depending on the number) to see if other offers come in. In this economy and market it would behoove a seller to answer quickly. The average is 24 hours but you also should have a limit because waiting too long could stall your process and affect your emotions.


Christopher Pagli
Licensed Associate Broker
Accredited Buyer Representative
William Raveis Legends Realty Group
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Walter 'Skip'…, Agent, Brea, CA
Sat Dec 31, 2011
Hi Cully,
Both previous answers are correct. That said, the seller does not have to respond at all to your offer if they so desire. If you haven't heard back in the time given in your offer, you may have to resubmit a new offer if you wish to bid higher.
Good luck,
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Monique and…, Agent, Beverly Hills, CA
Sat Dec 31, 2011
Hello Cullyhanna,

That depends on the seller. Usually an offer is good for 3 days (less if your agent stipulates less time). Sometimes (especially over the holidays), seller's may need more time. If it's an REO 3 days or more is the "de rigueur".

If they respond past the 3 days the seller may choose to reinstate the prior offer or not at all. I would check with your agent and see what the hold up is.

Happy New Year!

Good luck.


Monique Carrabba
The Carrabba Group
Keller Williams Hollywood Hills
(323) 899-2900
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Bonnie Scrib…, Agent, Fullerton, CA
Sat Dec 31, 2011
When you present an offer, it will say the deadline for response in the paragraph above your signature. The norm is 3 days, but it can be altered. With the holidays, there can be delays due to traveling or work schedules (eg REOs). Your agent should stay on top of it, holidays or not, and give you a reasonable expectation as to when to expect an answer. Good luck!l
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