Once you’ve found the home you want to purchase, you must present the seller with an Offer to Purchase or an Agreement of Purchase and Sale.
Work with your real estate agent and a lawyer/notary in preparing your offer. Remember that the Offer to Purchase or Agreement of Purchase and Sale is a legal document and should be carefully prepared.
What’s included in an offer?
Any offer or agreement will typically include:
- Your legal name, the name of the seller, and the legal civic address of the property
- The purchase price offered
- Any chattels that’ll be included in the purchase price (e.g.: window coverings, appliances, or a satellite dish) and any items in or around the home that you think are included in the sale
- The amount of deposit
- The closing day (date you take possession of the home) — usually 30 to 60 days from the date of agreement, but it can be 90 days or longer
- Request for a current land survey of the property
- Date when the offer becomes null and void
- Any other conditions that go with the offer, including property inspection and approval of mortgage financing
- The process of making an offer, receiving a counteroffer, and then revising it again is not uncommon. The whole process can seem like a roller coaster ride — exciting, but stressful. It’s all part of making the deal work best for you and the seller.
What’s the process of preparing an offer?
Your real estate representative helps you prepare an Offer to Purchase. This offer should include all the details listed above. Because it’s a legally binding document, have your lawyer look at the offer before you show it to the seller. Your real estate representative or lawyer will then present the offer to the seller, who will accept, counter, or reject the offer.
The seller accepts your offer. The deal is concluded.
The seller counters, asking for a higher price or different terms. You sign the offer back to the seller with a higher price than your original offer, but lower than the counteroffer. The seller accepts your counteroffer. The deal is concluded.
The seller counters, asking for a higher price or different terms. If a counteroffer is at a higher price, ensure that you know exactly how much you can afford before negotiating. Don’t get caught up in the heat of the moment with costs you can’t afford. You reject the counteroffer, deciding not to make a counteroffer. The sale doesn’t go through and your deposit is returned.
When you make an Offer to Purchase, your real estate agent or your lawyer/notary will most likely add certain conditions to it, making it a conditional offer. This means that the contract will become final only when the conditions are met.
The following 3 conditions are generally standard in an Offer to Purchase, especially for first‐time buyers:
- A satisfactory home inspection report
- A property appraisal
- Lender approval of mortgage financing
Once these requirements are met, the conditions are removed and the Offer to Purchase becomes final.
Have the home you’re buying inspected by a knowledgeable and professional home inspector. The inspector will go through the property and perform a comprehensive visual inspection to assess the condition of the house and its systems. When you receive the home inspection report, you and your real estate agent will have to discuss how required repairs may affect the sale price that was agreed upon.
New home warranty programs
Generally, you don’t use a home inspector for new homes if the builder provides a New Home Warranty. Warranty coverage varies between provinces, but typically covers labour and materials in your new home for at least 1 year after completion. It’s also intended to address structural defects for a minimum of 5 years,and up to 10 years with some extended coverage options. A dollar cap is common. Before you sign a contract for a new home, contact your New Home Warranty Program office for a list of registered builders in your area.
For condos or strata units
To buy a resale condo or strata unit, you will need a satisfactory Estoppel Certificate or Certificate Status. This should be included as a condition in the Offer to Purchase.
A pre-approved mortgage certificate is not a guarantee of being approved for the mortgage loan. Even if you have a pre-approved mortgage certificate, you must still meet your lender during the conditional offer period to get a final mortgage approval.
To ensure that the process goes smoothly, bring:
- A copy of the property listing
- A copy of the signed Offer to Purchase
Your lender will update/verify your financial information, the property, and other information required to complete the mortgage application. Your lender may require an appraisal, a survey, or title insurance. Your lender will also inform you on the various types of mortgages, terms, interest rates, amortization periods, and payment schedules available.
Congratulations! You’re almost there.