How long does a seller have to accept an offer?
You found the house you love, and decide to put an offer, then… Crickets. You and your family are left scratching your heads thinking what the delayed response is for, asking How long until a seller will accept your offer.
Truthfully, the selling party in a real estate transaction has no legal requirement to accept, deny or even respond to your offer. If they are offended by it, in some cases you’ll never hear from em again. and the seller will continue waiting for a better offer to come through.
We bought a house in February 2022. It was one of the craziest home buying experiences that I have ever been through. Our current house worked for our family. The function and flow was off, but we made the best out of it. We said that if the right house ever came up, then we would consider purchasing a new home. Challenge accepted. I lived on Zillow and Redfin for months and loved going to a good open house. I was constantly looking at the San Antonio area, checking out square footage, proximity to our kids’ school and a pool was a must. Have you experienced a Texas summer? All the houses I looked at, didn’t matter how different, all had one thing in common. They had offers almost immediately. The question we had when submitting an offer was exactly that, how long does a seller have to accept an offer?
In February, I found the house! My husband sent it to our realtor within 30 minutes of it going live on the NMLS and all the showings were booked until that evening…Oh! And they were only in 15 minute increments. I was going to lose my dream home. We were in a seller’s market and they had all the power. So what did we do?
One of the best decisions we made was to work with a real estate agent who we trusted. We were already aware that the listing had multiple offers, and we leaned on the advice of our realtor.
The seller’s asking price was almost $100,000 (hoping for a biding war) below the home’s true value. Because our buyer’s agent has years of experience, he suggested that our proposed price match the home’s market value. We took our shot and waited for the seller’s response. The first day turned into the second day, turned into the third day. It was painful.
Finally, we got the seller responds to our offer and we won! Below is some tricks and industry knowledge if you find yourself in the same boat.
Work with a trusted and experienced realtor
Working with a real estate professional that we trusted and had confidence in won us the house. Sure, there were other factors that helped. I was a qualified buyer who could offer a shorter closing period but we needed his expertise.
Our real estate agent could read the market. In the seller’s market, he was able to win most of the deals for his clients. In our case, the seller had received around 40 offers on the house. They needed time to sort through them and look best deal for their family. Our agent had very open and honest conversations with the seller’s agent on what to expect with our offer.
Many professionals have tools to help them determine the value of a property. Interested buyers should consult with their agents on a purchase offer for a house.
A Few deal breakers
The offer was too low – In a lot of cases, a seller will not respond to an offer that they consider a lowball offer. If the buyer’s offer does not match the value of the home, they could consider the offer as an insult.
The offer was too high – If the offer is too high, the seller’s agent could advise them to not accept it. Sounds strange, right? Unless it is a cash offer, any mortgage company will deny the loan. They will not lend more than what the property is worth. If the buyer is working with cash…well, cash is king. Most sellers will accept a spectacular offer on a house if the buyer can pay the appraisal gap.
The seller received a better offer – In today’s market, houses receive multiple offers. Other buyers may really want this property too. This is where trusted real estate agents make all the difference. Even if you cannot provide the highest offer, maybe your agent will advise to you consider looking at the contingencies of the property. Are you willing to offer as is and waive the home inspection? Maybe your realtor will advise you to have a shorter closing date or a flexible closing date instead of a specific date.
How long do sellers have to respond to an offer on a house
Sellers do not have a time limit to respond to an offer on a house. The real estate industry standard is responding within 48 hours. Although, you can set an expiration date on your offer. This allows you to have a official time frame for your offer. After that time period has lapsed, you are no longer legally obligated to your offer.
It is common courtesy for the seller’s agent to reach out and submit a written rejection if the slightly lower offer price did not win the purchase contract.
In Texas, most people can consider the buyer’s offer on a home void if the seller has not respond to an offer between two and four business days. After that time period, buyers can consider themselves no longer legally obligated to their offer.
You have not received a response on your offer
Wait it out – It could be that the seller is reviewing purchase offers. When we sold our first home, we wanted the next owner to love it as much as we did. This is a great time for the buyer and the buyer’s agent to consider their counteroffer and next steps. Agents can also advise their clients on adjusting the current offer, if the buyer needs to simply withdraw, or consider writing a letter about why this house is perfect for them.
Don’t lose hope! The Right house will come
The house you have made an offer on may not be the house for you. We made an offer on a house that we lost. It turns out, it wasn’t the right one for us. With time and perseverance, you’ll find your right fit!