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How Long Do I Have to Respond to an Offer on my House?

Nicola Ryan

Written by

18th Jan 2023 (Last updated on 15th Mar 2024) 4 minute read

Sellers typically respond to offers between 24-72 hours after receiving the offer. Selling a house is an exciting time, especially when you start to receive offers. However, knowing how to respond to buyers is crucial, even if you are in a seller’s market.

In this guide, we’ll take you through everything you need to know about receiving an offer on your house and how long you have to respond.

  1. When Do Sellers Need to Respond to an Offer?
  2. How to Respond to an Offer
  3. What to Consider Before Accepting an Offer
  4. Do I Have to Accept the First Offer?
  5. Finding a Conveyancer

When Do Sellers Need to Respond to an Offer?

While there is no legal deadline that sellers have to respond by, it is ideal for sellers to respond within 24 hours. Most sellers typically respond within 24 to 72 hours after receiving an offer. Delays in response may occur if they ask their estate agent for advice.

Sellers can choose to accept the offer, reject the offer, or provide a counteroffer.

Read more about How to Negotiate a House Price as a Seller

How to Respond to an Offer

Depending on the above factors, there are three options you have when responding to an offer on a property:


You can choose to accept if you think that the buyer has made a good offer. Buyers tend to offer less than asking price and while this usually makes way for negotiations, some sellers will accept the initial offer. This could be because they want a quick move or have already purchased another property.


Some sellers will provide a counteroffer. This is usually more than the buyer’s offer but still under the full asking price in the hopes of finding a final offer that is best for both parties. You should speak to your estate agent for further advice on what is a realistic counteroffer.


If the offer is too low, you can reject the offer. Most sellers will provide a counteroffer rather than rejecting the offer outright with no follow-up. However, you may find that the buyer comes back with a counteroffer.

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What to Consider Before Accepting an Offer

Sellers need to consider a variety of factors before accepting an offer. It’s important to discuss this with your estate agent before making your decision. Here is what you should consider:

Market Conditions

Firstly, you should consider the current market conditions. If there is a lot of demand, you may be able to reject an offer you believe is too low since you have the upper hand. However, if you haven’t received a lot of demand and your potential buyer has offered less than the asking price, it may be wise to accept the offer.

Read more on What is a Cheeky Offer on a House?

Buyers’ Situation

Consider the buyers’ situation. If you’ve received an offer from someone who is chain-free such as a first-time buyer or cash buyer, you may want to consider this. Even if they have offered less than the asking price, having a buyer who is chain-free will minimise the risk of the transaction falling through.

Read more on How Long Does it Take to Buy a House With No Chain in 2024?

Your Position

Lastly, always consider your position as the seller. You may feel inclined to accept the offer if you are in a hurry to move. Also, you may have an idea of what kind of offer you are willing to expect. Sellers tend to put their property on the market at a higher price point than market value. This gives them wiggle room to accept when a buyer makes an offer that is less than the asking price.

Do I Have to Accept the First Offer?

You do not have to accept the first offer as offers are not legally binding until the exchange of contracts. There are scenarios when you should and shouldn’t accept the first offer. This should help you to decide whether to accept the first offer you receive. The main thing that will impact whether you accept the first offer is whether it is a buyer or seller’s market.

Accepting the First Offer

There are various scenarios when accepting the first offer is a good idea. If you are currently in a buyer’s market, it may be a good idea to seriously consider accepting the first offer. A buyer’s market means that there aren’t that many buyers compared to properties on the market. This means that you’re not guaranteed to receive another offer for quite some time if you do decide to reject their offer.

Another reason is if your house has certain maintenance requirements. For example, historical properties or properties in conservation areas have high maintenance costs. Your property may be modern but have a unique design that may not appeal to everyone. Therefore, it’s important to consider this if you are not in a position to pick and choose your buyer.

Rejecting the First Offer

In most instances, the seller will most likely reject or counteroffer the first offer. If you are in a seller’s market, you’ll have an advantage. This is because a seller’s market means that there are a higher number of buyers compared to properties on the market. The likelihood is that the seller will receive more than one offer.

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Finding a Conveyancer

At Compare My Move, we have a simple comparison form that will connect you with up to 6 licensed conveyancers who work in your local area. This gives you the opportunity to compare quotes and save money on your conveyancing fees.

Nicola Ryan

Written by Nicola Ryan

Nicola focusses on all things moving house at Compare My Move where she writes articles for the advice centre, guiding users through everything they need to know about moving house.

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