When Trying to Purchase a Home, is a Seller Obligated to Acknowledge My Offer?

18

I recently submitted an offer to purchase on a home. I have not received any response to my offer. Is the seller obligated to acknowledge my offer?

Simply put, no. The seller has no obligation to respond to any offer they receive on their home. The seller’s agent is required to present every offer to their clients. However, it is ultimately up to the sellers on whether or not they wish to move forward with an offer.

A seller can react to an offer in three ways: accept, reject, or counter.

Accept

The seller may accept the offer to purchase as written by the buyer. This results in a conditional or unconditional sale of the property.

Reject

The seller may reject your offer to purchase and even decline to respond to it.

Another form of rejecting an offer happens when the seller lets an offer expire. Offers must include a specific expiry date and time, which represents the life of the offer. The offer expires once the identified date and time has passed. Unless the seller or buyer extends the expiry prior to the expiry date and time, it is no longer valid on expiry. You cannot extend an offer’s expiry after it has expired. You must draw up a new offer.

It is your real estate professional’s responsibility to discuss with you the pros and cons of including dates and setting timelines for offer acceptance.

Counter

The seller can choose to respond to your offer by countering your offer to purchase and sending it back for your acceptance. Countering means the seller doesn’t accept your offer, but they make a different offer to you for you to accept.

Before submitting the counteroffer to you or your agent, the seller’s agent should ensure that all the seller’s items have been addressed, that the seller has initialed any amendments to the offer, and the seller has signed the document.

Once you receive the seller’s counteroffer, you may choose to accept, reject, or counter their counteroffer.

Remember that submitting an offer to purchase is generally the first step in purchasing a home and there will be other steps you will have to complete before you close on a property. It is important to communicate with your real estate professional regarding any offer you have submitted.

“Ask Charles” is a question and answer column by Charles Stevenson, Registrar of the Real Estate Council of Alberta (RECA), www.reca.ca. RECA is the independent, non-government agency responsible for the regulation of Alberta’s real estate industry. We license, govern, and set the standards of practice for all real estate, mortgage brokerage, and real estate appraisal professionals in Alberta. To submit a question, email [email protected]