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"Should We Put a Deadline for Them to Accept the Offer, Jason?"

I've received this question many times from buyer clients that I'm helping, most recently in an email, so I thought it would be a good idea to cover this in a post. Whenever I write up an offer for a home, there are dozens of questions that come up during the process before we even submit the paperwork to the listing agent. This particular question typically arises after we've parted ways and everything is signed.

So, is it a good idea to place a "fuse" on your offer, forcing a quick response?

In my humble opinion, it's rarely necessary to do so, although I can understand arguments in favor of this strategy.

My normal response is this: You certainly can restrict the timing for acceptance by forcing the seller to respond quickly (e.g. "Seller to respond by 5pm Tuesday, January 25th, or this offer is void."), but I feel that it comes across as pushy in most cases, since a typical seller is probably sufficiently motivated to respond within 24 hours regardless, unless they're traveling or experiencing a crisis of some sort.

With that in mind, give some thought to the message it sends when you opt to place a deadline on any offer. It might set the wrong tone during negotiations and during the entire process, depending on the personality of the seller. It also could come across as a little desperate, or weaken the offer and your leverage. Patience is your friend when it comes to negotiating.

There are really only two instances which immediately come to mind under which I would counsel someone to use a deadline approach:

  • You're pretty sure that there's another offer on its way (or more than one)

  • You have very limited time to choose a home, and there's a solid backup house in mind that you don't want to lose while you wait for a response

I suppose you could add a third category here if the listing agent is notoriously slow to present offers based on your agent's prior experience, but I've only had that happen once to me in 14 years of full-time sales.

The longest I've ever had to wait for an initial response was 3+ days, which was maddening for my clients, frankly, but also exceptionally rare overall.

Since the other question I hear often is, "When do you think we'll hear something about the offer?", I should probably address that here as well. As a guideline, if I send an offer in the morning, it's possible to hear something the same day, if the agent is able to get in touch and present it quickly. If I present an offer to the listing agent during evening hours, we'll probably hear back sometime the next day, either with a response or with clarification questions, etc. If it's a weekend, I typically tell my clients to expect to hear back by Monday.

I hope this helps! Let me know if you're looking to buy or sell a home anywhere in the Austin metro area. I would love the chance to help you find the right place.

Thanks for reading!


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