How long does a home seller have to respond to an offer?


When making an offer for a home, you might ask yourself: How long does it take for a seller to respond to your offer?

There is nothing worse than sitting around waiting, especially when you are waiting for someone to respond to your offer on the biggest financial decision of your life. Yeah, that’s atrocious.

Unfortunately, the wait comes with the territory when buying a home. But how long you have to wait is the bigger question. While there is no official rule on how long a seller can take to respond to you, there is is an industry standard that most real estate agents and salespeople tend to follow.

Whether you’ve just made an offer on a property or are planning to do so in the near future, here’s everything you need to know about how long it can take to get a response from the seller.

How long can a seller take to respond to an offer?

In theory, sellers can take as long as they want to respond. But in practice? Most salespeople (or their agents) will usually get back to you within a few days.

“As a courtesy, the real estate agent will notify the buyer’s agent when the seller responds to an offer,” says Benjamin ross, a real estate agent with Mission Real Estate Group. As the seller’s agent, “we like to respond within 48 hours, but it also depends on when we get the seller’s response.”

Some agents have even more stringent response time expectations.

“Common courtesy dictates that a seller must respond within 24 hours or less,” says Karen parnes, broker and owner of NextWelcome your way. “It gives them time to think about your offer, sleep on it, and respond. “

While 24 to 48 hours is the norm observed by many industry professionals, exceptions do occur. Here are a few.

When can a house seller take longer to respond?

There are several reasons why a seller may take longer than usual to respond to your offer. The first is if they have received multiple offers.

“Typically, response time increases if there is more than one offer on the table,” says Ross. “Salespeople can take their time choosing the offer that’s best for them. “

Another reason your offer may go unanswered is if it’s too low.

“If an offer is far from what a salesperson expected to receive, they often won’t respond at all,” Parnes explains.

Other times you may not receive a response for some totally unrelated reason, such as the seller being out of town or on vacation.

Consider putting a time limit on your offer

If you’re concerned about how long a seller may take to respond to your offer, work with your agent to find out if you can set a contractual deadline. In some states, these “bidding times” are used by buyers and sellers to dictate how long the other party can take to respond.

“The terms of the offer are defined in the contract in the state of Georgia”, says Katina Asbell, associate broker at Real Living Capital City Realty. “The ‘offer period’ is the period during which the offer is active and open to response, and once expired, the contract is void and a new offer must be made.”

Whether or not your local legislature allows buyers to set time limits, Asbell cautions buyers to be strategic when using them.

“Timeframe can be a critical part of defining a buyer’s success in negotiating,” she says. “If it’s too short, the salesperson may feel rushed or annoyed and give a harsh response. If it is too long, then the buyer risks a multiple offer scenario.

Tips for successful negotiation with door-to-door sellers

Ultimately, the process of accepting an offer is all about being a good negotiator and for that you will want to work with an experienced real estate agent.

“The best success I have found in evaluating appropriate and amicable time frames is a very open and honest conversation with the seller’s agent,” says Asbell. “Buyers have a chance to make a first impression and set the stage for the remaining negotiating process, and timing is very important in conveying that tone. “


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