How Long Do I Have to Accept an Offer on a House?

by Lainie Petersen ; Updated July 27, 2017
Buyers usually expect a quick response to an offer.

Getting an offer on your home can be exciting and overwhelming, particularly since you have to make some important decisions in a short period of time. A buyer's sales contract, known as a "residential purchase agreement," usually includes a date by which you must respond to the offer. If the contract doesn't contain a deadline, ask your real estate agent for guidance. If you are selling your home in a short sale, keep in touch with your real estate agent; she can monitor the lender's progress in approving the offer.

Check the Offer

Buyers' offers often contain a contingency that you must respond with an acceptance or counteroffer within a specific time frame. The time frame varies, but is often around two or three days.

Short Sale Considerations

If you are selling your home in a short sale, your lender must approve the offer. Mortgage lenders may spend a significant amount of time reviewing your paperwork to make sure that it is complete and accurate. This can result in a long wait time between receiving the offer and your lender's approval. To keep waiting time to a minimum, work with a real estate agent who has experience with short sales.

About the Author

Lainie Petersen writes about business, real estate and personal finance, drawing on 25 years experience in publishing and education. Petersen's work appears in Money Crashers, Selling to the Masses, and in Walmart News Now, a blog for Walmart suppliers. She holds a master's degree in library science from Dominican University.

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