The art of making an offer to buy a house
Posted by Steve Harmer on Wednesday, March 16th, 2016 at 12:01pm.
When buying a house, getting your offer right is both very important and very difficult.
What do you need to consider? How do you make your offer stand out? How do you get your offer accepted? And how do you ensure that you are getting the best deal? These are some of the questions that you might already be struggling with, so to help you out, we have put together some of the key things to consider.
What to consider before making the offer
- What are my long term plans?
- Will I live here for more than a few years?
- Can I commit to paying my mortgage on time every month?
- Will I like the neighbourhood?
- Am I ready for the expenses of a home?
Use our calculators page for help with affordability
Other things to consider:
- How the house and asking price stack up compared to other recent sales
- Sellers motivation. If you know something about the seller's circumstances you may be able to improve your chances by making an offer that accommodates his or her needs.
- Length of time on the market. If the home as just been listed and the market is modestly in the seller's favour he/she may refuse your below asking price offer in hopes of getting the full price from the next person. If a prior deal has fallen through however and your financial situation looks strong the seller may find your low offer quite attractive.
- At first don't pressure the seller. Give the seller time for the offer and the situation to sink in.
- Come back later for a second round. Possibly with a slightly higher offer and definitely with a time constraint.
Make your offer stand out
- Inspection. Get your inspection done ASAP.
- Leverage. If you currently rent you can move faster than someone who has to sell their home before closing on a new one.
- Proof. Add details of why you can close quickly, pre-qualified for mortgage etc.
Your purchase offer, if accepted as it stands will become a binding sales contract also known as a purchase agreement. It's important therefore the offer contain every element needed to serve as a blueprint for the final sale. This is your realtor's job and where they can help you with the details.
The offer to purchase should include the following:
- Address. This may also need to be a legal description of the property.
- Sale price
- Subjects. For example this is a cash deal or you still need to get a mortgage, home inspection etc.
- Ownership. Sellers promise to clear title.
- Date for closing and/or possession
- Deposit. Amount and type of deposit including details of how the deposit can be returned if the offer is rejected.
- Prorated bills. Sometimes called adjustments, method by which real estate taxes, rents, hydro, water bills and utilities are to be adjusted between buyer and seller.
- Provisions. Who will be responsible for paying things like title insurance, cleaning the house before possession, inspections and the like.
- Time limit. A time limit as to when the offer expires.
- Provincial requirements. Any provincial extras such as Property Transfer tax.
- Walk through. You may want to do another walk through before closing.
What to avoid
- Don't do it all yourself - That's what your realtor is for.
- Don't be rigid and inflexible or you may lose out
- Don't disregard standard market practices
- Don't lowball - that can read as an insult.
Good luck with your purchase and new home!