Making an Offer to Purchase Real Estate

When you have chosen the home you want to buy, you make an offer to the seller. The offer is usually made in a standard written contract of purchase and sale. The offer includes:

  • The property, the parties (i.e. the buyer and seller) and the price. These are the basic terms of any sale contract.

  • The chattels which are included with the property. The most common chattels sold with a house are fridges, stoves, washers and dryers. If there is something you want to stay in the house, you should list it as included in the contract.

  • The amount of deposit.

  • The completion (date you pay the seller), adjustment (the date you start paying for property taxes and utilities) and possession (date you move in) dates. The possession and adjustment date should be the same. The completion date is usually either the same as the possession date or the day before.

  • Request for a current land survey of the property.

  • When you offer expires.

The owner of the house has the option to reject or accept your offer. If they reject the offer, you have the option to make a counter offer or you can walk away and keep searching.

If the owner accepts and sign the offer, then you have a deal! An offer to buy is generally accompanied by a deposit which is usually five per cent of the purchase price.

It is common to make a conditional offer meaning that the contract is not binding on the parties until those conditions are satisfied and removed. Buyers should always consider inserting the following subject conditions, which must be removed before the contract is binding:

  • Subject to you obtaining a mortgage (i.e. financing).

  • Subject to you selling your current home.

  • Subject to the seller providing you a current survey which shows the location of the house on the property.

  • Subject to a home inspection (or septic tank or well inspections).

  • Subject to reviewing the strata council records and bylaws.

  • Subject to confirming any intended use of the property is acceptable with the local municipality or regional district (e.g if you plan to operate a business or put in a suite).

Once an offer has been accepted and any  conditions have been removed, the contract is binding and the buyer may be sued if he or she does not complete.