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How Long Do Sellers Have To Respond To Offers On Their Home?

If you’ve received an offer on your home, a big decision awaits. You’ll want to give careful consideration to your next move. So how long do you have to respond to an offer on your property? 

The short answer is that you’ll typically have a short window of 24 to 72 hours to get back to the buyer before the offer expires. Let’s take a look at all of the factors that go into the timeframe. 

Expiration Date on the Offer

In some states, the purchase agreement may have a blank spot for the buyer to insert their own expiration date on the offer. Other states have residential purchase agreements with built-in language that gives the seller a deadline. 

Take the Time You Need (at Your Own Risk)

Sellers are not obligated to respond to the offers they receive. But, your agent may encourage you to respond to all offers promptly out of respect for the prospective buyers. It’s often expected that the sellers provide a response to the buyer within three days to let them know where they stand. 

But, it’s important to hesitate at your own risk. Take this scenario as an example: You get an offer on your house, but you’re hoping for an even better one. You wait out the offer through the expiration date, but no better offer comes in. You now have to either go back to the buyer and ask that they honor the terms of their original offer or wait for a new offer from a different buyer. Your hesitancy could raise red flags with the first buyer, which is something you want to avoid.

Accept, Reject, or Counteroffer 

When an offer comes in, you have three options:

  • Accept the offer without any changes. In this case, you’ve received a great offer that you can’t pass up.
  • Send a counteroffer.  If an offer is close to what you were looking for but not quite what you wanted, you have the option to counteroffer. This lets you adjust the terms and/or the offer price to meet your needs while keeping the conversation going. It also puts the ball in the buyer’s court to accept or reject your counteroffer by your expiration date. 
  • Reject the buyer’s offer. Rejecting an offer in writing is the courteous thing to do if you have to reject an offer. 
  • Ignore the offer. Some agents may send out a polite rejection to let buyers know where they stand. But, in a bidding war situation, you may also want to strategically ignore your backup offers until you are under contract on your preferred offer. 

Recognize when you need more time

There are a few reasons why you might need more time than the buyer initially provides: 

You’re waiting to hold an open house

If hardly any buyers have seen your home, it’s difficult to know if you’re getting the best offer. It may be wise to wait until after your open house to increase your chances of receiving the best offer. 

You want to review all offers at once

It may be a good idea to wait until all offers are in before responding to buyers. If your home has been shown multiple times in one week and most of the buyers indicate an offer is coming, your agent may advise the buyer’s agents to set their expiration dates so that you have time to consider them all. 

You’re asking buyers for their highest and best

Your agent may give the buyer’s agent a heads up that they’re in a bidding war situation. This can slow the timeline down, but it can also encourage buyers to sweeten their offers. 

Strategies to Help Prevent Stalling

It’s natural to take some time in making a decision as big as selling your home. But, you don’t want to stall too long and lose out on the best offer. A couple of ways to help you prepare to accept the best offer are:

Commit to the sale before you list your home

Give yourself the time you need to reflect on the memories of the home before you’re ready to list. This will help you give your attention to the future and the best deal you can get for your home. 

Work with an agent and respond to offers with confidence

Home sales are a lot less stressful with an experienced agent by your side. Team Melton has over 50 combined years of real estate experience to assist you through every step of the process. Contact us today to get started on selling your home!

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