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Demystifying Real Estate Deadlines

Real estate transactions often raise questions about crucial deadlines and the timing of mutual acceptance. One common question is whether mutual acceptance occurs on the day of the agreement or the following day. Mutual acceptance occurs on the day the agreement is reached, regardless of the time of day that the last required signature is delivered. This means that if buyer and seller achieve mutual acceptance at 11:59 p.m. on a Monday, mutual acceptance occurred on Monday.

Demystifying the 9 p.m. Deadline:

It's essential to understand that the 9 p.m. deadline is not related to determining mutual acceptance. Instead, it relates to specific actions required by the terms of the purchase and sale agreement. The 9pm deadline represents the time by which a party is expected to perform an action as outlined in the agreement. For example, if a buyer wishes to request concessions under the inspection contingency, buyer must make the request by 9 p.m. on the final day of the contingency period, rather than waiting until later in the night.

Comprehending the Computation of Time Provision:

The computation of time provision governs the establishment of deadlines within the purchase and sale agreement including all of its attached addenda. For example, if a buyer intends to terminate the agreement based on the title review contingency, the deadline for delivering the termination notice would be 9 p.m. on the final day of the contingency. Similarly, when seller responds to buyer’s requests for repairs, the deadline for seller’s response is 9 p.m. on the third day after receiving the request (based on default negotiation periods).

Intersection of a termination deadline and Mutual Acceptance:

There is an important point to be aware of regarding determination of “mutual acceptance”. Suppose a buyer's offer expires on a Monday, and the seller accepts the offer at 10 p.m. on Monday. In such a scenario, there is no mutual acceptance. This is because the buyer's offer expired at 9 p.m. as per the computation of time provision. However, if the seller wishes to proceed with the buyer's terms, they can counter the offer, with the only change being the expiration date of buyer’s offer. Mutual acceptance will be established if the buyer accepts the seller’s counteroffer before it expires.

If you have any questions on this topic or any other real estate related matter, please don't hesitate to submit a question to the Washington REALTORS Legal Hotline. You can submit your questions here at The Legal Hotline. Thank you for being a valued member of Washington REALTORS®. Your support and involvement in the association are greatly appreciated.

Disclaimer: Annie Fitzsimmons, the Washington REALTORS® Legal Hotline Lawyer, does not represent you or your clients. The information provided in this article is not intended to be legal advice. Always consult with your Designated or Managing Broker and your own legal counsel as necessary.