Does a seller have to respond to my offer?

By: Kari McCoy
-A +A


Dear Kari;

My husband and I had our Realtor write up a full price offer on a home we liked very much! The problem is the seller will not respond to our good offer. Our Realtor has phoned, texted, and emailed the seller's agent several times, but still no response. Now our offer time-frame has expired.  We would like to know if this is illegal or unethical for this situation of "No response?"


To answer your question in short, "NO", it is not illegal or unethical. In fact, the seller does not have to respond to your offer at all. However, most agents do not practice this and a nonresponse is extremely rude. 

Once a seller receives a written purchase offer on their home, it can be accepted as written, rejected outright, countered, or have no response at all. Let's look at a few reasons that a seller may choose to not respond to an offer on their home. 

  • Perhaps the sellers received too many showings and think their asking price is too low.
  • Seller has already accepted a better offer.
  • Seller has decided not to move.
  • Seller found the buyer's behavior and comments during the showing of the home to be offensive.
  • Buyer's offer requested seller’s personal (sentimental) property be included in the sale.
  • Sellers believe there are better offers on the way. 

Here comes the good news, in the event that you are still interested in the particular home, you, the buyer, are free to make another offer. I would suggest the following:

  • Shorten up all buyers contingencies in the contract.
  • Increase your deposit money (which goes towards your purchase price).
  • Increase the purchase price (even if it's only a few thousand dollars). 
  • Offer the sellers a rent back time frame.

The key thing to remember is that the ultimate goal is to purchase your future home, so to try to keep your emotions at bay. At the end of the day, please do not get discouraged, because there will be many more homes coming to market.

Kari McCoy owns the Kari McCoy Group, Residential Real Estate at Lyon Residential Real Estate. She can be reached at 916-933-5274 or email her DRE #00841588