Making an offer

Real estate mortgage & home-buying tips

The search is over. You've found a home you would like to purchase. Now you just need to finalize the deal. To do that, you'll work with your real estate agent to prepare your official Offer to Purchase. This offer is an important legal document that says you formally agree to purchase the seller's house (often contingent on certain conditions).

The offer contains the particulars of the transaction such as the purchase price, deposit, conditions, date of closing and more. While the process may sound relatively simple, when you and your agent are drafting up the document you should consider how the seller might react to any conditions you demand in the offer.

Firm or conditional offers
Your offer can be firm (without conditions), or conditional.

Firm offer
Sellers usually prefer firm offers because it means that you are prepared to purchase the home without any conditions. If the offer is accepted, the house is yours.

Conditional offer
You have placed one or more conditions on the purchase, such as the sale being subject to a home inspection, financing approval or sale of your existing home. The house is not officially sold until all the conditions have been met.

The offer to purchase typically includes:

The purchase price
This is often one of the most difficult decisions you’ll have to make. You don’t want to pay too much, but you also don't want to risk losing the house by offering too little.

The deposit
Will be applied against the purchase of the house when the sale closes.

The total price offered and the financing details.

Any items that must be completed or fulfilled prior to closing. List anything you want the seller to pay for.

A list of items you want to have included in the purchase such as appliances, window coverings, furnishings, light fixtures, mirrors, etc.

Closing day
In Canadian real estate transactions, the closing day is generally the day the title of the property is legally transferred and the transaction of funds finalized, unless otherwise specified (except in Manitoba and Quebec). In British Columbia, the possession date is legally one to three days after closing.

Once the prospective purchaser gives the seller an Offer to Purchase, the seller can choose to accept or reject the offer, or "sign back" and counter the offer. Offers can be signed back and forth until both parties are satisfied with the result.

It is recommended that you have your lawyer review the Offer to Purchase agreement before you sign it.

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