Until such time as it’s accepted, an offer for a property in WA is just that, an offer.
Offers aren’t valid for any minimum period, nor do they automatically expire. They are valid for as long as a buyer or seller wants them to be.
Typically, offers are made on a Contract for Sale by Offer and Acceptance here in WA.
Once acceptance of an offer is communicated, both parties are in a legally binding contract.
Before then, buyers or sellers can withdraw an offer, or counter offer, at any time.
If you’re selling and you receive an offer, timeliness counts.
A buyer doesn’t have to leave their offer on the table while you wait to see if someone else is interested. Buyers can pull out if they aren’t happy with the process or a delay, or if they see something else they want to buy instead.
I once had an offer withdrawn less than 30 minutes after it was written.
As a seller, if you’ve made a counteroffer to a buyer, your counter can also be withdrawn if, for example, you receive another more favourable offer while you are waiting for your first buyer to respond.
The important thing is to communicate withdrawal in writing – a text message followed by an email is ideal.
If you’ve made an offer and aren’t happy with the speed or way in which your offer is being dealt with, chat with your agent before you pull the plug. Buyers and sellers can have valid reasons for not being able to respond quickly. And there’s often a lot of stress and emotion involved with a purchase or sale. People work, have family commitments, and sometimes there are multiple stakeholders that need to agree before a home can be bought or sold. Never assume!
At the same time, if you’re sitting on an offer or a counteroffer, it’s best, where you can, not to stuff around the other party too – you just don’t know what else will pop up in the meantime.
If you’re ever in doubt about where things are at – ask. Your agent is there to answer questions and guide you through the process – conversations are a wonderful thing.