Last updated on June 18th, 2024 at 05:31 am

Quick Answer

  • In the US, the median time to respond to an offer is 36 hours. 
  • In the US, 40% of sellers respond to an offer within 24 hours.

Are you going to be looking for a new home on the future?

One of the most common stresses of buying a new property in is not knowing how long it will be before you hear back from the seller

Lets break down what to expect with the seller response time and everything you need to know about this particular part of the home buying process.

From knowing how to make an offer to understanding how long sellers typically have to respond, we have you covered. 

If you are a seller, we are also going to be providing you some tips on setting your sale up for maximum return and how to work through counter offers.

Knowing the timeline for offers and counters can alleviate some of the stress and help you make informed decisions with this crucial transaction.

What is an offer in Real Estate

Simply put, an offer is a formal proposal submitted by a buyer to buy a property in a real estate transaction.

This represents the buyer’s interest in buying a listing, house, or home.

After the submission of an offer, the wait is now on for the seller’s to respond with an answer. 

This is the time it takes sellers to respond.

The period of time usually depends on many factors, which are market conditions including other offers the seller may be considering.. 

Buyers have to really maintain patience and understand that they may not get the quick answer they have been searching for.

Buying a house is an emotional decision, and it comes with its ups and downs.

Sellers might take some time to either review multiple offers or take advice from their real estate agent or attorney before they respond.

There is no industry standard here, sellers can take as long as they want, but they do risk losing buyers

What is the standard way to make an offer

An offer is typically prepared by the buyer’s agent and given to the seller or the seller’s agent via a written contract.

This contract would include important details such as the price of the purchase, the desired closing date, and any contingencies or conditions as put forward by the buyer.

Upon receiving the offer, the seller may accept, reject, or counteroffer.

If the seller accepts the offer and returns the signed contract, then the buyer will put their deposit their down payment in escrow and the sales process begins.

The time it may take for the seller to respond may vary depending upon the market conditions, the urgency of the buyer’s offer, and a plethora of other factors.

How long do sellers have to respond 

Sellers, in general, are not bound by any law in terms of a time frame in which they must respond.

Yet, response times vary according to various factors which we have discussed.

People and their decision making can be a conundrum.

In fact, there are many reasons why sellers take their time.

Maybe they want to hold an open house and bring as many offers as possible.

Sometimes buyers are recommended to include a deadline for response in their offer.

At the end of the specified time, if the seller does not respond, the buyer is withdraws the offer and moves on..

In a seller’s market, where there are several bidders, the seller’s agent will usually let everybody know the deadline by which to submit offers.

They will let the winning bidder know pretty fast.

If you are a buyer and ever find yourself in such a situation, and an hour after the deadline you haven’t received a call, you probably lost.

Setting Your Sale Up For Maximum Return

When selling a property in the real estate world, sellers often want to maximize their return, that means getting as much money as possible.

There are, therefore, appropriate times for responding,  consideration of contingencies, starting from the point of response. 

This timeline may be very different according to changing market conditions, contingencies, and specific circumstances of the property sale. 

It is important for sellers to be proactive and well-informed in this phase of the process. 

In some cases, sellers have only a few days to consider an offer and make a decision.

This gives them enough time to review the details of the offer, including the purchase price, proposed closing date, and any contingencies or conditions.

Plus, other offers may come in that they want to consider. 

It is also an opportunity to negotiate with the potential buyer if they so desire.

However, if the property is in a seller’s market, or if the seller is anxious to sell quickly, they may respond more promptly to take advantage of the current demand for their property.

Setting your sale up for maximum return is about understanding the dynamics of the market and also respecting the manners and common courtesies between buyers and sellers.

The sellers should try to respond to the offers in a timely fashion, not only to keep the negotiation process rolling but also to reciprocate the respect toward the potential buyers.

It is also a good idea for sellers to be proactive in stating a date or a time frame to make their response so there is no confusion or misunderstanding. 

This clear communication can also keep up the interest of the buyer and minimize the risk of their moving to another property.

The Rules of Responding 

In the real estate industry, there are no fixed rules or specific time frames that sellers must follow when it comes to responding to offers.

The time it takes for sellers to respond can vary depending on factors such as contingencies and the seller’s personal circumstances.

Although there is usually a set period of 24-48 hours for sellers to reply, it is not uncommon for them to take longer or request an extension.

Sellers may require additional time to carefully consider the offer, seek advice from their real estate agent or attorney, or evaluate other potential offers. 

The seller may also choose to negotiate the terms of the offer with the buyer.

During this stage of negotiation and decision-making, it is important for buyers and their agents to be patient and understanding.

How to deal with seller’s response time

While it can be frustrating to wait for an answer, time is needed to allow the seller to act on the offer. 

Buyers shouldn’t be so quick to set a deadline. 

Observe the seller’s privacy  and afford sellers an adequate amount of time to respond.

In some cases, sellers may ask the buyers for an extension to respond. 

In case the sellers do not respond in an appropriate time frame, buyers should consider contacting their real estate agent to strategize the next moves.

Many wonder what realtors do for their commission.

They are intermediaries that facilitate every process in a sale and offer advice.

This includes conveying offers and correspondence.

How Long Do Buyers Have When a Counter Offer is Given

The timeframe for buyers to respond to a counter offer can vary, it should take hours, not days.

Seller’s may or may not state how long they expect to wait for an answer on their counter.

If they do have a deadline, the seller should communicate this through their realtor.

What If The Seller Doesn’t Respond 

If the seller doesn’t respond to an offer, do a follow up and see if they respond.

This is usually a bad sign though. 

If you haven’t received a response, reach out through a different channel.

This might include a phone call, text message, or even an email.

You might consider increasing your offer if you’re still interested. 

However, if the seller remains unresponsive or disinterested, it may be wise to explore other options.

Follow The Rules For Your Area

Timelines can vary depending on various factors such as local rules, regulations, and market conditions.

Typically, there may be designated timeframes outlined in real estate laws or contracts that dictate the seller’s response time.

 It is important for buyers and their agents to be well-informed about these timelines and ensure that offers are submitted in accordance with the rules of their area.

How long is the escrow period

The escrow period, also known as the closing process, is the time between when your offer is accepted and when the sale is finalized.

During this time, many steps need to be taken, including paying for and conducting inspections, appraisals, and securing the financing for the home if you are not paying cash.

On average, the escrow period can range anywhere from 30 to 45 days.

However, it’s important to note that this timeframe is just an estimate and can change based upon many factors such as negotiating repairs, low appraisal, and other strange scenarios.

Do i have to work with an agent to make an offer

When making an offer on a property in the real estate industry, you may be wondering if it’s necessary to work with a real estate agent.

 While it’s not mandatory, the assistance of a real estate agent can be highly beneficial.

They can provide guidance throughout the process, help you navigate contingencies and negotiations, and ensure that you’re making a competitive offer.

That being said, there are pros and cons to consider. 

Some buyers opt to make an offer without a real estate agent in order to save on commission fees. 

The decision is yours and should be based on what you feel most comfortable with.

Can i go around the realtor and talk with the seller

When deciding if it’s possible to bypass the realtor and communicate directly with the seller, understand arealtor’s role in the home buying process.

This is definitely a gamble. 

You might anger the seller and they may choose not to deal with you.

Talking with the seller without involving the realtor potentially disregards the entire process.

Now if the seller takes the house off the market or fires their real estate agent, you can absolutely contact the seller directly

Final Thoughts

The response time for offers in real estate can vary depending on various factors.

Understand that sellers have the right to take their time and carefully consider offers before making a decision.

As a buyer and seller, set your sales process up for maximum return by following the rules of responding to real estate offers and being patient during the waiting period. 

If you are unsure about any aspect of the process, it is advisable to work with a real estate agent who can guide you through the offer process and ensure a smooth transaction.

Remember, it is not recommended to go around the realtor and directly approach the seller as it can lead to complications and misunderstandings. 

Buying houses in San Antonio can be hard, for more information on navigating the offer process in real estate, consult our expert agents who are ready to assist you.