First Time Home Buyers Guide: What Happens after Sending an Offer to Purchase

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After sending the offer to purchase to the seller, there’s nothing left to do but cross some fingers and hope for the best. Or is there? What happens now and when will the keys finally change hands? The time between the now and the closing date is probably one of the most stressful and critical periods in the buying process. After all, there are a lot of things happening at once. At the end of it all, a seller can accept the offer, reject it, ignore it, or send a counter-offer.

Acceptance of the Offer to Purchase

An offer to purchase will have a clearly stated consideration window. This means the seller has until the deadline to consider the buyer’s proposal. Most buyers hope it’s accepted right away, but that isn’t always a good thing. Either party can make amendments to the document if the seller and buyer both agree to them. However, immediate acceptance can also indicate that the buyer made a mistake. Was the bid too low? Were the offer’s conditions too generous? Did the seller price the property too low? It’s worth considering.

When Sellers Ignore or Reject an Offer to Purchase

A seller might ignore the offer or reject it. This can happen if the seller receives several offers. He or she will focus on the ones that appear to be the most promising and ignore the rest. Alternatively, the seller might simply ask each buyer to submit their best offer, choose one, and close the deal. Immediate rejection could indicate that the bid price was too low, or the conditions were too aggressive. Either way, buyers will have the option to send another offer if they’d like to try again.

Counter-Offers and Negotiating an Offer

In many instances, the first offer to purchase acts as an anchor for negotiations. The seller will change the details he or she isn’t happy with and return it to the buyer. The buyer can then make amendments to the offer and send it back to the seller. Sometimes, the changes are minor and easy to negotiate. Other times, things can get difficult, and the negotiations can go for weeks. The outcome depends on each party’s needs and how good they are at the art of negotiations.

It would be wonderful if all offers were accepted right away and everyone could focus on moving, but that isn’t always the case. Each situation is unique. Regardless of how a seller chooses to react to an offer to purchase, a knowledgeable and experienced real estate agent can help buyers proceed.