When the seller receives your “offer to purchase,” he or she has three options.
If the seller signs your offer without making any changes, a legally binding contract has been formed. Again, legally binding means both you and the seller will be bound by the terms of the contract and must perform your respective obligations as stated. Your performance can be enforced in a court of law.
The seller is under no obligation to accept your offer or to make a counter-offer.
If the seller changes anything at all on your original offer, the seller is considered to have rejected your offer and to be making a new offer back to you. This new offer is usually referred to as a “counter-offer.” When you receive a counter-offer, you then have the same three options as the seller had: accept, reject or make a further counter-offer. The process of counter-offers may continue until an agreement is reached. If the counter-offer is unacceptable to you or if you have changed your mind about the purchase, the seller does not have the option of returning to your original offer and accepting it.
Details supplied by the Real Estate Council of British Columbia