Realtor® Legal Tip – Do I need to extend the “response time” in my seller’s counter offer?
October 18, 2017
Author: Curtis Bullock
Here’s some quick facts – Suppose the buyer submits an offer to your seller and gives the seller until the next day at 5pm to accept. The deadline passes. Two days later, your seller sends a counter offer to the buyer that includes a few changes to the original offer. At the end of the counteroffer, you include a final sentence that reads, “response deadline extended to today (Oct 18, 2017) at 5pm.”
Question – Is the final sentence in the counteroffer that extends the “response deadline” necessary to include?
The short answer is – no. If you read through the REPC you will notice there is not a “response deadline.” Instead, what you will see is a “Time for Acceptance” in section 25. It reads – “If seller does not accept this offer by ____________ , this offer shall lapse.” In other words, there is a “Time for Acceptance” but there is no “response deadline.” The “Time for Acceptance” is only important if the other party intends on accepting the offer as written. If so, the Acceptance must happen prior to the Time for Acceptance.
If, on the other hand, the other party decides to counter the original offer, the counter could be sent prior to, or even after the “Time for Acceptance” noted in section 25. The reason is because the counteroffer itself revises the original offer (with changes) and creates an entirely new Time for Acceptance.
That is not to say that the person who received the offer should wait until the Time for Acceptance has expired before sending a counteroffer. If possible, it would be a professional courtesy to either accept or counter prior to the Time for Acceptance given in section 25. But if a counteroffer is sent a couple days after the Time for Acceptance expires, that is just fine too. There is no important legal reason to extend the “response deadline” because there isn’t any such thing. There only is a Time for Acceptance.