What is an Irrevocable Period in Real Estate?

What exactly is an Irrevocable Period in Real Estate?  As Real Estate Agents, we use the term all the time, but most Buyers and Sellers are likely not entirely sure exactly what this ‘irrevocable period’ is.

Simply explained, the irrevocable period of an offer is the time during which that offer can no longer be changed by the party that submitted it, and is essentially the time at which the offer ‘expires’ for the other party.  The decision to either accept the terms of that offer, or not accept, must be made within that irrevocable period.

48 Hours Irrevocable, or 24, and even 72

Sometimes, it is virtually impossible for all parties to an agreement to be reached to deal with an offer in a timely manner.  For instance, in a Power of Sale situation, where there are multiple family members spread out across varying regions, or in a situation where the Seller may be working out of town, unreachable for periods of time.  In this kind of situation, 48 hours irrevocable may be necessary (or more, or less), and will be indicated on the listing information sheet.  It is important for Buyers to be aware and informed if 48 hours irrevocable is necessary on their offer.  Their offer will be presented at the earliest practicable opportunity, which could take almost the whole irrevocable period, and sometimes not.  Buyer frustration arises when Buyers are not educated by their Real Estate Agents, or simply don’t understand the process.  It is also important to understand that often times, showings on the property will continue until all parties have been reached to present the offer.

Not Fair?

It is important to realize that the Seller’s Agent is working for the Seller, and not for the Buyer.  If as a Buyer, you feel that your offer is not being dealt with fairly, it’s very important to ask for clarification of the process from your own Agent.  Every offer has an irrevocable period, and that irrevocable period is the time for which the other party has to be reached and come to a decision.  If your offer has a 48 hour irrevocable, then it may take 48 hours for a sign back/ acceptance/ decline.  Hopefully your own Real Estate Agent has taken the time to explain this to you in detail, at the onset of the process.  The listing Agent is doing nothing wrong if you submit an offer with 48 hours irrevocable, and it takes them 48 hours to get things together.  Please don’t rant and rave and threaten to report them to Head Office when they are doing their best to get information back to you in as timely a fashion as possible, within the pre agreed upon irrevocable period.  All scenarios are different, and sometimes a grain of patience and understanding goes a long way.

 

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