Real NEastate: How much time to I have to decide if I want to make an offer on a house?

Q: Finding the right home in the Far Northeast has been very nerve wracking. I started looking in March and have found at least three homes I wanted to buy. But each time I wanted to make an offer on one, it was already under contract. My agent says I need to be quicker making decisions. Exactly how long after you see a home do you have to make the offer?

A: Nobody knows exactly. It’s a mystery how much time you have from the moment you walk out of a house for sale to the moment it receives an offer from someone else. You could see a house on Wednesday morning that could be sold on Wednesday night. Or you could see a house in November that doesn’t sell until June.

It’s obviously a busy spring in the real estate market, especially since you’ve already missed out on three homes you liked. That’s good news for sellers but not so much for slow-to-decide buyers. If your agent is telling you you’re taking too long to make a decision and you’ve already missed out, it stands to reason to make up your mind quicker next time. The fact is, you will never know how much time you have to decide until you lose the home to another buyer.

It’s my guess you’re looking for a home in the lower price range in the Far Northeast. In our area, the lower the price, the faster it goes. If you’re not making an offer the night you’ve seen a home that’s priced below market value, or even the next day, then you can just cross that one off your list.

Stacey McCarthy is a real estate agent with the McCarthy Group of Keller Williams. Her Real NEastate column appears every Wednesday on NEastPhilly.com. See others here. Read other NEast Philly columns here.

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