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Finding your dream home is an exciting journey, and when the time comes to make an offer it’s essential to understand this will be a legally binding contract should the seller accept. A well-written offer will protect your interests while demonstrating your seriousness as a buyer.
There’s no universal answer for what goes into the perfect offer. Instead, an offer should be crafted considering insights from the current market, the personal needs of the buyer, and the property itself. Let’s take a closer look.
The Blueprint of an Offer
While the specific details will vary from buyer to buyer (and home to home), there are a few universal elements that make up the foundation of an offer.
Price & Deposit
Your offer will include the amount you’re offering to pay for the home, along with your initial deposit amount. Your agent will help you determine an appropriate amount to include for your deposit, which could vary by market. The remainder of your down payment will be paid on closing, with this deposit deducted from the total down payment.
This includes the date on which you would like to take possession of the home, as well as the expiration date for the offer itself, a title search date, and if conditions are included, a due date for conditions.
Conditions are stipulations that must be fulfilled before the purchase can be finalized. More on that in a moment.
Inclusions refer to any items or fixtures that are included in the sale of the property. These can include appliances, light fixtures, window coverings, and other tangible items specified in the offer.
Exclusions, on the other hand, are items or fixtures that the seller explicitly states will not be included in the sale. These exclusions may vary but typically encompass personal belongings, such as furniture, artwork, or specific sentimental items.
It is crucial for both buyers and sellers to clearly outline inclusions and exclusions to avoid any confusion or disputes during the transaction process.
If you purchase a home with a real estate agent, your offer will likely includes certain standard clauses – along with an agreement schedule with specific clauses your agent has selected based on your unique situation to protect your interests. These clauses can cover everything from appraisals, walk-through visits, what happens should an appliance break before closing and more.
It’s important to work with a real estate agent who understands key legalities, as well as the local market to ensure the buyer’s best interests are protected. It is easy to get caught up in the excitement of purchasing, but having a well written offer will provide protection to the buyer making a big investment.
Buying a home in Ottawa? Check out these other blogs from our site for a look at what you can expect from your buying experience.
- A Guide to Home Inspections in Ottawa
- First-Time Home Buyer FAQ
- How Real Estate Lawyers Facilitate Your Transaction
Choosing the Right Conditions
As a buyer, including conditions in your offer can be a helpful way to protect your interests and investment. With that in mind, there are a few common conditions that you should know about before heading to the market.
A financing condition states that the transaction won’t be finalized until the buyer has successfully secured the financial means to purchase the property (i.e. a mortgage).
With this in mind, we recommend getting pre-approved for a mortgage before you begin searching for homes. Depending on your financing qualifications, you may likely still require a condition for financing, however, a pre-approval should speed up the process.
If you require financing and are choosing to go without this condition, be sure to discuss the risks with your mortgage provider and your real estate agent.
Inspection of the Property
A home inspection condition allows for you to have a professional inspection of the property during your conditional period. This is a helpful way to identify any critical issues with the home before you firm up your purchase.
You’ll likely have an opportunity to go through the home with your agent and inspector, which is a great learning experience around best practices for maintaining the home and correcting any deficiencies.
Once the inspection report is prepared, you can review it with your agent to ensure you are comfortable with the inspector’s findings. It is sometimes appropriate to ask the seller to correct deficiencies, your agent will be able to advise you depending on the market conditions how to best navigate this.
Because of the many kinds of properties in the National Capital Region, inspections can sometimes be complex. To learn more about the inspections process and how you can prepare for it, click here to read our blog post on the topic.
Buyer’s Home Sale
A sale of property condition stipulates gives a set period of time for the buyer to finalize a sale on their own property before firming up the purchase of their new home. This is also known as a ‘First Refusal’.
Because it benefits the buyer, this condition is less common compared to the ones listed above, especially in a seller’s market. That said, buyers who are particularly concerned about the sale of their property may wish to include this in their offer.
Note: Any conditions included in your offer must be easily measurable and leave no room for misinterpretation or miscommunication. Conditions are not an “out” to your purchase if you get cold feet, they are designed to protect your interests with stipulated due diligence items.
If you have any concerns at all before completing your purchase, make sure that is communicated to your agent so they can include the appropriate conditions in your offer.
What About Unconditional Offers?
When the real estate market is red-hot and favouring sellers, you may hear about buyers who submit offers that are completely free of conditions in order to stand out from their competition.
While these kinds of offers can be enticing to sellers, they are not without their drawbacks. It is best to weigh the pros and cons of leaving conditions out with your agent to decide on your risk tolerance before moving ahead with an unconditional offer.
It may be possible complete certain due diligence items before you sign, which may help you maximize your chance of success while keeping your risk as low as possible.
Thinking about buying a home in the National Capital Region? Check out these blog posts for helpful advice ahead of the market.
- Ottawa’s Commuter-Friendly Communities
- Buying an Ottawa Home? Read This First
- Do You Need a Real Estate Agent to Buy Pre-Construction?
Working With a Real Estate Agent
In order to maximize the odds of having your offer accepted, you’ll want to have an expert by your side.
An experienced, local real estate agent is your best bet for finding success. Using their professional knowledge and insights, they can help you craft a competitive offer that’s strategically tailored to you and your goals.
Of course, the offer process is just one of the reasons why you should work with a real estate agent when buying a home. Not only can an agent help you discover great properties that meet your needs, but they’re also your link to industry professionals who will play an important role in your buying journey such as home inspectors, lawyers, contractors, lenders, and more.