What to Expect after Submitting an Offer to Purchase

Home Purchase Offier

As the ink dries on your offer to purchase, a flurry of activity begins taking place behind the scenes, with myself and the listing agent making arrangements for the seller to receive your offer.

The seller will entertain your offer and do one of three things with it:

  • Accept it – this is the best case scenario.
  • Counter it – the seller may not like the price or terms you’ve offered – sometimes both – and will submit a counteroffer.
  • Reject it – if the seller finds the price or terms of your offer untenable and there is no incentive for her to counter it, she will reject it.


Acceptance of your offer is what we’re hoping for. From here, we open escrow and start meeting the timelines in the contract. You’ll have the home inspected, the bank’s appraiser will work up an appraisal and we will steadily move toward closing. Oh, and you should have a nice celebration to honor the occasion.

Counter Offer

A counter offer may seem nit-picky but it is actually the second best news we can get. It means that the seller accepts your offer but wants something changed. This may include either the price or the terms or both.

For example, if the seller needs to relocate for a job, the closing date may need to be adjusted. If you’ve asked for concessions the seller doesn’t like, they will be addressed in the counter off. It’s all a part of negotiating for the house, so don’t take it personally.


If the seller rejects your offer it may be because she has other, better offers. Your options here are to submit a new offer with more attractive terms or a higher offering price (don’t be surprised if the home is sold in the meantime) or find another home to purchase.

Other common reasons a seller may reject an offer include:

  • Lowball offer: Some sellers are so insulted with a lowball offer they refuse to negotiate and just flat-out reject the offer.
  • Unacceptable contingencies: Telling a seller you will go through with the purchase of the home only if your current home sells at an acceptable price within an allotted time frame doesn’t actually compel him to take the home off the market. Especially in a seller’s market, the chances are good that your offer will be rejected.
  • Loan aversion: Some sellers won’t entertain offers from buyers with VA or FHA loans. Whether it’s true or not (we don’t happen to believe it is), some sellers and real estate agents perceive these buyers as riskier because of their lack of “skin” in the game. As well, FHA appraisals are stricter (even minor issues like peeling paint will slow down the deal) and some sellers just don’t want to deal with the hassles.

While the largest percentage of offers result in counter-offers (remember, these aren’t necessarily bad), some result in either outright acceptance or rejection. A counter-offer requires the attention of an agent that knows how to negotiate, so hire your agent with that in mind.

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