Monday, September 20, 2021 / by Teresa DiPeso
When you make an offer on a house, you might be wondering: How long does it take a home seller to respond to your offer?
There’s nothing worse than sitting around waiting—especially when you’re waiting for someone to respond to your offer on the biggest financial decision of your life. Yeesh, it’s excruciating.
Unfortunately, waiting comes with the territory when you’re buying a house. But how long you have to wait is the bigger question. While there’s no official rule on how long a seller can take to get back to you, there is an industry standard that most real estate agents and sellers tend to follow.
Whether you just made an offer on a property or plan to in the near future, here’s everything you need to know about how long it might take to hear back from the seller.
How long can a seller take to respond to an offer?
In theory, sellers can take as long as they want before responding. But in practice? Most sellers (or their agents) will usually get back to you within a few days.
As a courtesy, the seller's agent will notify the buyer’s agent when the seller responds regarding an offer. When a seller’s agent, we like to respond within 48 hours, but that also depends on when we get the seller’s response.
Common courtesy dictates that a seller should respond within 24 hours or less, ideally. This gives them the time to think about your offer, sleep on it, and respond.
While 24 to 48 hours is the standard observed by many professionals in the industry, exceptions happen. Here are some of them.
When might it take longer for a home seller to respond?
There are quite a few reasons why a seller might take longer than usual to respond to your offer. The first is if they received multiple offers.
Typically, response time increases if there is more than one offer on the table. Sellers may take their time to choose which offer is best for them.
Another reason your offer might go unanswered is if it’s too low.
If an offer is far from what a seller expected to receive, many times they won’t respond at all.
Other times you might not hear back for a completely unrelated reason—such as the seller is out of town or on vacation.
Should you consider setting a time limit on your offer?
In some states, there are established response times that must be followed. In New Jersey, there are no such time-limits on negotiations, however either party is free to set a time-limit.
It may be tempting to put a time-limit on your offer as you grow impatient, but proceed with caution: if it’s too short, the seller may feel rushed or annoyed and give a harsh response. If it’s too long, then the buyer risks a multiple-offer scenario.
Tips for a successful negotiation with home sellers
Ultimately, the process of getting an offer accepted is all about being a good negotiator—and for this you’ll want to work with an experienced real estate agent.
The best success I have found in gauging appropriate and amiable timelines is a very open and honest conversation with the seller’s agent. Buyers have one chance at a first impression and to set the stage for the remaining negotiation process, and timeline matters greatly in conveying this tone.
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