how long after you make an offer on a home does the seller have to accept or decline?

Asked by Lwith, 23322 Mon Jun 14, 2010

We put an offer in on a house, another offer is being made tonight. Don't think our's will be the best, so that's fine. But I am wondering, what if the seller doesn't decide to decline any offers to get more competition. How long can they hold our offer before the must state yes or no?

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Anna M Brocco’s answer
Anna M Brocco, Agent, Williston Park, NY
Mon Jun 14, 2010
Unfortunately, there are no set standards as to how quick a seller needs to respond to an offer--your agent can advise best based on this particular situation--and you can ask your agent to keep checking to see if any decisions have been made or when is the decision expected..
4 votes
Associatevgr…, Home Buyer, New York, NY
Sun Jun 5, 2016
I thought this article was interesting, here is an expert.

BUYER BEWARE - SELLER'S MARKET MAY HOLD YOUR OFFER HOSTAGE FOR DAYS

It seems because it's a seller's market, "listing" agents tends to take advantage of home buyers and hold your offer hostage to see if more bids will come in. Secondly, there are listing agents stating that there are other offers on the property that you made an offer on just to see if you will play the game of "raise your bid buyer." The listing agent will then send emails to home buyers to start the bidding wars and begin seeing how much you really want the property. Home buyers spend hours, days, and weeks looking for their next home, only to be faced with industry bidding games that interfere with a home buyers personal, and many times professional schedule. I'm not sure if this is common practice, however; I have learned that on a recent occasion, a listing agent withheld an offer from the seller, which he/she represented in order to entice the buyer to raise their offer by stating there were higher offers on the property already when if fact there were no other offers. Listing agents will hold your offers for days at a time before ever getting back with you. Buyers are left wondering whether or not their offer was accepted only to learn it was not. So the three days you took off work to look for your new home was wasted, cost you money and bled into your personal vacation time. Not a practice you want to have happen over an over when buying a home. In this market, the reality is, it's not when it will happen, it's how many times it will happen. Three days in which YOU the home buyer could have been looking for other property.

YOU DON'T HAVE TO PUT UP WITH IT!

While I fully have learned that this seems to be the status quo in a seller's market, you don't have to put up with it. When you want to put an offer on a property, tell your agent to contact the listing agent and tell them you will give them 24 hours to make a decision. If the listing agent comes back and says no, then the listing agent or the seller is not truly ready to sell. I have learned one one occasion that a listing agent wasn't communicating to a seller that an offer was made to see if more bids would come in which resulted in the buyer withdrawing their offer as a result of the games. To tell buyers and buyer's agents that there are other offers when in fact there were not when attempting to get the buyer to raise their bid, is not uncommon practice these days however unethical it may be. When a listing agent uses this practice, it's not only unprofessional to his/her potential customer, it's disrespectful to the home buyer to keep them lying in wait when they are giving the listing agent business. If a listing agent has any ethical sense of customer service, he/she should consider that home buyers will begin to take notice and refrain from looking at house that are listed with this agent and agency in hopes to avoid these kind of practices This practice will continue until home buyers take a stance to stop this practice. Purchasing a home is a very laborious task and interference like this practice is not productive for a home buyer with what little spare time people have today. In close, before placing your offer on a home, contact the listing agent before placing your offer and ask the listing agent that if you were to place an offer could he/she agree to a 24 hour response on a yeah or nay answer. Make sure you place that 24 hour response on your offer to keep everyone on the same page. We have all heard that you don't get out of life what you deserve, rather you get only what you negotiate. Good Luck home buyers!
3 votes
As of May 25th 2017 this comment on this post is "Spot-On!" Definitely unethical practice and you forgot one more reason listing agents are withholding offers in this epic sellers market we currently find ourselves in, especially here down in South Florida; GREED! The only agent worse than the average lazy realtor (ALR) is the average greedy realtor (AGR) who is trying their damnedest to double-end that commission! To hell with both the sellers and the buyers goals!
Flag Thu May 25, 2017
Janice Cairns, , Fairfax County, VA
Mon Jun 21, 2010
This has become a frustrating problem in some parts of our area recently. Sometimes a listing agent will advise their client to "collect" offers for several days in order to have more options to choose from. Unfortunately, this often leads to an overwhelmed seller who cannot easily pick a winner from multiple offers with widely varying terms.

I rarely use a deadline in a buyer's offer because it is a simple process to withdraw an offer. As a Buyers' Agent, though, I will follow up with the lister to understand the cause for the delay and to urge a quicker response. Sometimes the personal touch, and some information about my client's eagerness to move on, will be enough to prompt the seller into responding.

All of this is irrelevant in the cases of foreclosures or short sales, I'm afraid. Banks work only on their own timetables and will respond whenever they please. Of course, even here you have the option of withdrawing your offer at any time.
Web Reference:  http://www.JaniceCairns.com
2 votes
The Roskelly…, Agent, Gambrills, MD
Tue Jun 15, 2010
This is more an etiquette question than a hard and fast rule. Most real estate contracts contain a "time is of the essence" clause. And as the buyer you likely have right to rescind your offer at any time prior to acceptance. So, it is not in the seller's best interest to sit on it. If I submitted an offer on behalf of a client I would expect an answer within 24 hours or an explanation on a delayed timeline (out of town seller, work schedule etc.). If you haven't heard anything within 48 hours you've probably got your answer and it's a "no thank you". On a side note why would you be "fine" with not getting the house? Did you make an offer on a property you aren't sure of?
2 votes
Larry Drees, Agent, Reno, NV
Sat May 28, 2016
Your offer is good until the expiration date of the offer unless you cancel/change/withdraw the offer in writing before acceptance.
0 votes
the Indigo S…, Agent, Plano, TX
Thu Oct 18, 2012
In our market right now, Sellers are sometimes receiving multiple offers within the first few days after listing. While we are taking a slower approach to accepting and/or countering offers, I think communication between agents serves both the Buyer and the Seller best. As a Buyers agent, staying in touch with the Seller's agent benefits my client and relieves some of the stress they may be feeling. I also let the Buyer know that they may have to be a little more patient if they really want the house... Sellers are evaluating not only the price but other factors that may make one offer more attractive than the others. I am in agreement with not using an expiration date on an offer because it is simple to withdraw your offer at anytime prior to acceptance.
0 votes
I thought this article was interesting, here is an expert.

BUYER BEWARE - SELLER'S MARKET MAY HOLD YOUR OFFER HOSTAGE FOR DAYS

It seems because it's a seller's market, "listing" agents tends to take advantage of home buyers and hold your offer hostage to see if more bids will come in. Secondly, there are listing agents stating that there are other offers on the property that you made an offer on just to see if you will play the game of "raise your bid buyer." The listing agent will then send emails to home buyers to start the bidding wars and begin seeing how much you really want the property. Home buyers spend hours, days, and weeks looking for their next home, only to be faced with industry bidding games that interfere with a home buyers personal, and many times professional schedule. I'm not sure if this is common practice, however; I have learned that on a recent occasion, a listing agent withheld an offer from the seller, which he/she represented in order to entice the buyer to
Flag Sun Jun 5, 2016
Restoration…, , Fairfax, VA
Mon Oct 25, 2010
Unless you put an expiration on the contract, there is no deadline that a seller must meet. However if they take too long and you wish to look elsewhere for a home, you may withdraw your offer as long as your contract has not been ratified by the other party(s).
0 votes
Dallas Texas, Agent, Dallas, TN
Mon Jun 14, 2010
Your buyers agent person who needs to provide all the answers to your questions.

Who is the seller? Bank? Foreclosure? Short Sale? or private owner?

Is there a bid date deadline?

Did you place dead line date in your sales offer?

Lynn911.com
Web Reference:  http://www.lynn911.com
0 votes
Erik Weissko…, Agent, fairfax, VA
Mon Jun 14, 2010
I agree in part with my colleagues though I never put an expiration date on my offers. My belief is that if there were such a clause used regularly..the board of Realtors and the Contracts committee would have adopted the language as part of the contract. Furthermore you can withdraw your offer any time prior to receiving written acceptance.

Typically, if you get a slow response it's because the seller has not been properly schooled prior to receiving the offer. They should know most details and be able to give you a quick response. OR they are liking yours, afraid to lose it, but hoping for another. Then you simply tell the agent you are pulling it if they are not acting timely. You can always come back as well. There are many ways you can sweeten a deal other than price.

Good luck!

Kind Regards,

Erik J. Weisskopf, ABR,CDPE,CRS,GRI
0 votes
Sandy Leaf, Agent, CHANTILLY, VA
Mon Jun 14, 2010
I agree with all of the answers to your question, as a buyer agent I insert the date and time my Buyers need to hear from the sellers. When seller"s receive an offer to purchase, they have three choices:accept it, counter it or decline it. If the seller's counter the offer, I deliver the counter offer back to my Buyers, then the Buyer's have the option to accept, counter offer or move on.
Once an agreement has been reached, there will be conditions that will have to be met within a specific time frame. These conditions can include, for example, financing, appraisal, home inspection and home insurance. All of the conditions agreed upon in the offer must be met by an assigned date.
0 votes
Pat & Steve…, Agent, Westlake, OH
Mon Jun 14, 2010
When I am representing a Buyer as a Buyer's Agent, I always insert a reponse date and time when the offer will expire. I ask my Buyers how long they want to keep the Offer open for acceptance by the Seller. Then I insert the date and time my Buyers have chosen.
0 votes
Marge Bennett, Agent, Fort Myers, FL
Mon Jun 14, 2010
Whatever your offer says. Of course, if the time limit passes and you and the seller both want to continue with the offer, that's fines too, But an expiration date tells the seller that your offer is technically off the table as of the expeiration date, so if it is a good one, they need to act on it to avoid the chance of you pulling out because they didn't act in a timely manner.
0 votes
Jennifer Riv…, Agent, Fort Belvoir, VA
Mon Jun 14, 2010
There is no time limit unless you have added an expiration date with the offer. Please contact me if I can be of additional assistance. Thanks.
Jennifer Rivera
571-292-5377 x 112
Jennifer@move4freerealty.com
http://www.pentagonhomesearch.com
0 votes
T.E. & Naima…, Agent, Dallas, TX
Mon Jun 14, 2010
You can put a limitation in your offer that says exactly when the offer is no longer valid and so must be accepted by then.
You can also elect to withdraw your offer if you have not been rejected. If the makes a counter-offer, then your offer is considered in the law to have been rejected. If you got neither acceptance or a counter, then you can withdraw your offer up until the moment the seller accepts it.
If they make no response to you (and you didn't specify an expiration), they can basically hold your offer indefinitely.
Web Reference:  http://wwwSumnerRealty.com
0 votes
Jim McCowan, Agent, Arlington, VA
Mon Jun 14, 2010
There is no set time unless you include one in the initial offer.
Web Reference:  http://www.jimmccowan.com
0 votes
The standard CA real estate contract specifies 3 days to accept, reject, or counter the offer. Otherwise the offer expires and is no longer in force. The buyer can insert a different time period and there is space for that. I do not have infinite patience and specify 24 clock hours to respond or the offer is void. I am not going to sit around for 3 days waiting. If you are selling a home you have to be ready to respond in a timely manner or the buyer will go elsewhere. Unfortunately, I see that other states do not have such an default 3 day period so I would rescind the offer if they do not reply in 3 days, unless you don't mind waiting.
Flag Thu Feb 23, 2017
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