7 Signs Your Offer Will Be Accepted on a House

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|10 min read

The moment your real estate agent submits your official home offer marks the start of the anxious waiting game. As a hopeful buyer, you’ve invested time and energy touring listings, strategizing terms, and determining your maximum budget to purchase your dream home. By the time you finally submit an offer, you’re most likely emotionally invested in the property.

But now the ball is in the seller’s court to review your bid and respond as part of the house offer process. So, what are the signs your offer will be accepted? Even the most rational buyer can spiral into restless uncertainty during this period. Will they accept, reject, or counter? Did we offer enough to make a successful house offer? Is another buyer’s bid more appealing? Why is it taking so long to hear back?

Waiting for the seller’s response can be stressful as your dream home hangs in the balance. However, understanding typical seller timelines, behaviors, and positive signs can give you a helpful perspective on your chances.

So, what are some signs your offer will be accepted? It’s a great question to talk to your real estate agent about, but this article will give you some helpful insight.

How Long Does It Take to Hear Back From a Seller?

The typical response time for a seller after receiving an offer is 24-72 hours. However, it could take longer, depending on market conditions and other factors. Sellers want time to thoroughly review an offer’s details, get feedback from their agent, and potentially wait to see if other competitive offers come in.

As the buyer, you can include an expiration clause in your purchase agreement to add urgency for the seller to respond. This clause states that the contract becomes void if the seller does not reply within a specified timeframe, such as a day or two. When an offer expires without a response, the buyer must present a new contract if they want to move forward.

When making an offer on a house, setting a shorter 1-2 day expiration applies more pressure on the seller to act quickly before losing the deal. This can be a useful strategy in competitive bidding situations. However, an overly aggressive short timeline may also deter sellers who feel rushed or unable to seek counsel from their real estate agent or financial advisor.

On the other hand, allowing 5-7 days for a response gives the seller more flexibility but reduces the bidder’s urgency. During this time, the seller could field and accept other offers.

When deciding on an expiration period, it’s best to take guidance from your buyer’s agent. Find the right balance between creating urgency for the seller and giving them reasonable time to decide. A proactive real estate agent will help determine an appropriate timeline based on factors like market demand and how long the property has been on the market. The goal is to get a prompt response without being overly pushy, resulting in the seller being turned off by the offer.

How Long Should You Wait to Hear Back From The Seller’s Agent?

The typical response timeframe is 1-3 days. Most real estate agents agree that 48 hours is standard for a seller’s agent to acknowledge an offer and provide some reply.

As a part of the offer process, a seller should respond by:

  • Accepting the offer as-is.
  • Submitting a counteroffer that either includes a different purchase price or different terms from the original offer.
  • Rejecting the offer entirely in writing.

If you have not received any feedback after 5-7 days, your agent will follow up with the listing agent for an update.

Signs Your Offer Will Be Accepted On a House 

A high level of motivation to sell, perhaps driven by a move, a financial need, or a change in personal circumstances, might make a seller more amenable to the negotiation process.

Buyers often stress whether their offer is accepted, especially when home sellers receive multiple offers, or market conditions are competitive.

While you can’t know 100% until the seller accepts your offer, certain positive signs indicate you have a solid shot at forming a deal during the back-and-forth negotiation process. Here are seven subtle but telling indicators that your home bid will ultimately get the green light.

1. Positive Feedback from The Seller Or Listing Agent

Receiving positive feedback during negotiations can be one of the most vital indicators that the seller is seriously considering your offer. This feedback may come directly from the sellers themselves or indirectly through their listing agent.

Some examples of positive feedback include:

  • The seller’s agent is calling your agent to clarify details or ask follow-up questions about your offer terms. This shows they are taking a deeper look.
  • The seller is asking for a short extension to make a decision. They likely want more time to weigh your offer against any others.
  • Negotiations are moving steadily along instead of breaking down. A constructive back and forth on price, earlier closing date, etc., is a good sign.
  • The seller agreed to cover the significant repairs you requested without much resistance.
  • Your agent senses from conversations that the seller is anxious to sell quickly. Their tone sounds eager rather than neutral.

Any signs the seller is engaging with your offer and working to make it appealing to you are a positive indicator they want the deal to go through. Keep the conversation open and remain flexible on negotiable terms to get to a mutual acceptance.

2. The Seller Has Already Purchased a New House

When sellers have already bought their next home, it’s a strong indicator they will be highly motivated to accept an offer on their current property. Purchasing a new house before selling the old one creates an urgent timeline.

Typically, sellers have a limited window to carry two mortgages. Either their new home purchase was contingent on the sale of the old one, or they were only approved for dual payments for a short period.

Once under contract on a new property, it’s usually difficult for sellers to back out without losing earnest money deposits. This means they need the sale proceeds from the existing home to finalize the new purchase.

Use this insight as leverage, but ensure your bid is competitive. A motivated seller still won’t take an offer drastically below market value.

3. The Seller Or Listing Agent Expresses Willingness To Negotiate

Clear signs of a seller’s willingness to negotiate on offer terms strongly indicate that they are seriously considering your bid. This willingness can be communicated explicitly or through more subtle cues.

Direct verbal or written statements emphasizing flexibility, compromise, and making the deal work are positive signals. When a seller readily engages in back-and-forth communication and constructive counters, they are motivated to land on mutual terms.

Even if negotiation seems challenging, effort on the seller’s end to keep talks going shows they haven’t written off your offer. Non-verbal cues like frequent contact, transparency about the property, and a proactive approach also demonstrate their interest in making a deal with you.

Savvy buyers will recognize these overt and subtle hints of negotiation openness. It likely means the seller sees potential in your offer, even if details need to be ironed out. Maintain persistence and flexibility on your end to ultimately reach acceptance.

4. The Seller Responds Promptly

A seller’s response timeline can hint at their interest and motivation to complete a sale. A faster reply indicates the seller is engaged and actively considering your offer.

A response within 24-48 hours is typically a good sign. It shows the seller is eager to move things along, whether accepting, rejecting, or countering. Prompt replies suggest they minimize delays, which bodes well for your chances.

Conversely, a hastily rejected offer without a counter usually means your initial terms were likely too low or unreasonable. Sellers unwilling to negotiate will decline unsuitable offers upfront.

Aim for rapid response times when negotiating, as slower replies tend to signal less urgency on the seller’s part. Prompt engagement, even if to counter, conveys their active participation in potential deal-making.

5. The Seller Asks For a Pre-Approval Letter

When a seller requests to see a pre-approval letter, it’s a strong sign they are seriously considering moving forward with your offer. This request typically means they intend to accept or counter, contingent on verifying your financing is in order.

A pre-approval letter confirms you are qualified for a mortgage of a certain amount from your lender. This assures the seller that you are financially capable of purchasing at your offered price and are less likely to back out later for inability to secure a loan.

Essentially, by asking for pre-approval, the seller is signaling your offer seems worthy of further exploration if funds are confirmed. It shows they believe you have skin in the game.

As the buyer, promptly provide the requested letter to help instill confidence in financials. This verification often moves the offer closer to acceptance, provided the pre-approval amount aligns with the negotiated purchase price. The seller simply wants to validate that you can truly afford what you’ve offered before agreeing.

6. The House Has Been Listed on The Market For an Extended Period

In a competitive market, when a property has been actively listed for sale for a prolonged period without receiving offers, it is considered a “stale listing.” The exact timeframe for a listing to go stale varies based on market conditions but is typically around three months.

In a slower buyer’s market, a property may take closer to 8-10 weeks to be deemed stale. However, a house can go stale in as little as 3-4 weeks without offers in a hot seller’s market.

As the listing period drags on, sellers may feel anxious or desperate to complete the real estate transaction and closing process. This can motivate them to reduce the listing price or become more flexible with the offer terms in order to close the deal.

An experienced seller’s agent should be able to identify when a listing has gone stale and develop ways to revive a stale listing to revive interest, like staging, price adjustments, or enhanced marketing techniques.

7. The house is being sold “as is”

An “as-is” listing means the seller will not repair or address any existing problems with the home before the sale. The buyer purchases the property in its current condition, without any concessions or fixes made by the seller after offer acceptance.

There are several common motivations for sellers listing a home as-is:

  • Financial limitations prevent the seller from affording necessary repairs.
  • There are major issues with the home that would require costly repairs, such as foundation damage or outdated electrical. The seller cannot take this on.
  • The seller needs a quick sale due to relocation or other personal time pressures. They need more time for repairs and negotiations.
  • The seller wants to minimize any additional investment into the property and maximize net proceeds from the sale.

Listing a home as-is has essential implications for offer acceptance:

  • It signals increased flexibility and willingness to negotiate on price and terms. With less investment, the seller may be more open to a lower offer.
  • The sale process may move faster without delays for inspections and requests for seller repairs after an offer comes in.
  • There is a lower expectation that the home will sell for top market value. Savvy buyers will factor in repair costs when making their bid.

An as-is listing indicates a highly motivated seller, though one cannot make repairs. Buyers should account for fix-up costs in their offer, as no concessions will come from the seller after acceptance.

Why Do Sellers Delay Accepting a Buyer’s Offer?

After submitting a solid offer on a home, eager buyers are often perplexed when the seller does not accept right away. Why would a seller delay responding to or accepting an otherwise good offer? There are a few common reasons this occurs.

  • Holding Out: The seller hopes more attractive offers will come in, especially in a hot seller’s market. They may wait to see if they get higher bids or better terms.
  • Skepticism: If something seems off about an offer, the seller may investigate further before accepting. This delays their response.
  • New Listing: An early offer on the day of listing may surprise the seller. They may need more time to be ready or second-guess their pricing.
  • Bank-Owned Home: Banks take much longer to evaluate and respond to offers, sometimes weeks. Be prepared to wait.
  • Seller is Unavailable: If the seller is traveling or otherwise unavailable, they can’t readily review and accept an offer.
  • Offer Never Received: Miscommunications can lead to the seller never seeing the offer if agents don’t confirm delivery.

While frustrating to buyers, there are reasonable explanations for delayed seller response. Buyers should closely collaborate with their agent to follow up if they do not receive a reply to their offer.

Do Sellers Usually Accept the First Offer?

While receiving that first offer can be exciting for sellers, accepting the first bid is generally not the norm. Sellers often wait to see if more attractive offers come in, especially in competitive markets.

Accepting too quickly could mean losing out on better terms or pricing. However, waiting too long for the “perfect” offer can also mean missed opportunities. 

The listing agent provides guidance based on market conditions. In hot sellers’ markets, acting fast on a solid initial offer is often wise, as competition is fierce. But in slower markets, taking more time to accumulate options makes sense for sellers. Buyers should not take an initial non-acceptance personally.

Tips To Make Your Offer More Attractive

Crafting an appealing offer is vital to getting your dream home in a competitive market. When reviewing bids, sellers consider price, terms, financing, and flexibility. To make your offer stand out, keep these tips in mind:

  • Make Things Simple for the Seller – Keep contingencies low or waive them to provide certainty. Be flexible on closing dates and possession terms.
  • Consider a Larger Earnest Money Deposit – Put down 1-10% of total costs as a good faith deposit to show your seriousness.
  • Show You Have Funds to Buy – Get pre-approved for a mortgage to prove you can get financing.
  • Hire an Agent Familiar With the Area – They’ll advise on fair pricing and smooth processes.
  • Make a Competitive Offer – Offer at or above the list price, especially in a seller’s market. Avoid lowball offers.
  • Include an Escalation Clause – Agree to raise your offer automatically to beat others up to a limit.

Getting Your Offer Accepted Starts With the Right Agent

The anxious period between submitting an offer and hearing back from the seller can be a rollercoaster, but having an expert local real estate agent on your side can help ease the stress. Seasoned agents understand the nuances of your market, what motivates sellers, and how to craft a compelling bid.

An experienced and qualified real estate agent understands seller motivations and negotiations. They can provide guidance to craft a competitive bid, smooth the process, and give you the best shot at acceptance. 

If you need assistance connecting with top-rated real estate professionals, visit FastExpert today. Their network connects you to top local real estate professionals with thousands of verified reviews. Partner with an expert through FastExpert to ensure your offer gets serious seller consideration.

Kelsey Heath

Kelsey Heath is a real estate content specialist with an extensive background in residential, industrial, and commercial property. She has been involved in the industry for a decade as a professional and personal investor, gaining a deep understanding of the market and trends. With a passion for written communication, Kelsey loves helping people understand the sometimes-complicated concepts behind real estate and is now a sought-out guest and ghostwriter.

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