Home Offer Valid Despite Delay in Acceptance

  Question:  We made an offer on a home in Fountain Hills.  Under the terms of our offer the seller had 24 hours to accept our offer.  The seller was out of state, however, and did not accept our offer by returning the signed purchase contract to us until four days later.  We still wanted this home, and we told our real estate agent to deliver the signed purchase contract and our earnest money to the title company and to order the home inspection.  The seller now has a higher offer from another buyer, and the seller says that our purchase contract is invalid because the seller did not accept our offer within the 24-hour time for acceptance.  Is the seller right?

  Answer: Probably not.  Although you had the right to reject the seller’s late acceptance, you waived that right by your actions, namely, with knowledge of the untimely acceptance you delivered the signed purchase contract and the earnest money to the title company, and ordered a home inspection.  Inasmuch as both you and the seller were acting as if there was a purchase contract, a court would probably enforce the purchase contract despite the fact that the acceptance by the seller was untimely.

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