How to Make an Offer
So you've fallen in love with a home, now what?
Maybe moving was just a small idea in the back of your head; so you would casually look at homes for sale but never really planned on making the jump, until...one sunny Sunday afternoon you walk into an open house and fall in love.
Have you been pre-approved? This is the most common question buyers are asked, and to be honest it is still the best place to start. Knowing what you can afford will let you search within your means, and not set you up for disappointment down the road. Sitting down with your mortgage broker or bank gives you a head start in the buying process, and in the busy market we are still in, being confident with your financial situation when making an offer will make the process a lot less stressful for you.
Finding a REALTOR to work with. Do you already have a REALTOR that you trust, or do you prefer to work with the listing agent of the property? Either way, when choosing your REALTOR make sure to ask them questions and make sure that you like and trust them. If you do not already have a REALTOR, ask family, friends or co-workers if they know someone they recommend. Once you have your REALTOR, notify them that you want to make an offer on the home and set up a time to meet with them to draft the offer.
Preparing the Paperwork. Depending on the situation (competing offers or not) this is where the negotiations begin, and you make your first offer for the home. The meat and potatoes of an offer include the purchase price, deposit, closing date, inclusions/exclusions, conditions and clauses. Your REALTOR will show you recent solds/actives to make your consideration for PRICE. The sellers will typically have a date or range for when they would like to close the property, if that doesn't work for you we need to negotiate a CLOSING DATE. INCLUSIONS and EXCLUSIONS are typically listed for the home as well; however if there is something that you would be interested in purchasing with the home, or having removed from the home, this is where those details are added. And Finally, the CONDITIONS AND CLAUSES in the offer. Will the offer be conditional on you obtaining financial approval, a home inspection, sale of your property, etc. There are also many clauses that your REALTOR will include in the offer to protect your best interests when purchasing the home.
Accepted offer. Counter offer. Rejected offer. When your REALTOR presents your offer to the listing agent and sellers, the sellers have 3 choices: accept, counter or reject. If your offer is acceptable to the sellers they will accept your offer as is. If the sellers would like to make some changes (maybe the purchase price, closing date, conditional dates, etc.) they will counter your offer. Sometimes the buyers and sellers may be very far from mutual ground and the sellers may just reject the buyers offer without a sign back. If this happens the buyer can submit a new offer if they wish.
Your offer is accepted. Now what? Once your offer is accepted, you need to provide the deposit cheque within 24 hours. This deposit is held in the listing brokerages trust account and goes towards your down-payment on closing. The cheque will be cashed into the trust account within 1-5 business days so ensure the money is available. Your REALTOR will then forward all necessary paperwork to your bank/mortgage broker so they can get started on the approval if required. If your offer is conditional and you do not waive your conditions, you will get your deposit back in full.
Congratulations, you just bought a home! If you waive all of your conditions on the home and "firm up", it is a done deal and you've just bought yourself a new home! Your REALTOR will forward all of the necessary paperwork to your lawyer and will update you on necessary tasks to closing.