When a buyer makes an offer, they expect the seller to respond within a reasonable time period. Most REALTORS® encourage their sellers to respond to an offer within 24 hours.
When a seller receives a legitimate offer in writing, the seller can accept the offer, reject it, make a counter offer or do nothing. While the seller is not legally bound to respond, if a seller doesn’t respond in a timely fashion, the buyer might become irritated and lose interest in the property.
Most real estate contracts contain an expiration date. If the seller doesn’t respond by the specified date, the agreement becomes null and void unless the buyer agrees to reopen negotiations.
As a seller, your response time might differ depending on market conditions. Responding quickly makes sense in a down market – whereas responding slower in a thriving market could give the seller more time to receive multiple offers.
A good practice for both buyers and sellers is to respond to any offer or counter-offer quickly and decisively unless circumstances warrant otherwise.