You found the home of your dreams and have decided to make an offer.
With the help of your real estate agent, you determine the amount and terms of your offer, put it in writing, and give your agent the go-ahead to submit it. Now what? Unfortunately, now you wait. Once you have submitted an offer, the seller has several options. They can of course immediately accept your offer. They can also come back with a counter-offer, which may take a little longer as they contemplate the fairness of your offer and what it means to them, bottom line. If they do counter-offer, the clock starts all over again and it is now up to you to decide how to proceed and if you want to negotiate. The seller can also do nothing, at least for a while. Often, they’re waiting to see if they get any other offers. However, they have to respond within the time frame you have stated in the contract or the offer you made becomes null and void. A standard real estate purchase contract allows you to specify how long the Seller will have to consider and act on an offer before it expires. The standard time given for a response is usually around 48 to 72 hours after they receive the offer. If a bank is selling the property, such as in the case of a foreclosure or short sale, you will be at their mercy as it often takes much longer to hear back, sometimes weeks.
Sometimes the price itself isn’t the most important factor to a seller. They may be more interested in other things, such as a contingency for a quick closing, which might be important if they are selling their existing home and buying a new home simultaneously. If they are elderly and moving to some type of assisted living, a delayed closing may hold greater influence as they will need time to sort out their belongings, move and have an estate sale.