5. Making an Offer
Once you find a house you want to make your home, your REALTOR® can help you develop an offer. In the offer, you should specify how much you’re willing to pay. State when the offer expires and suggest a closing date for the transaction. You can also propose some conditions on the offer. Some common types of conditions are:
- Getting a suitable mortgage (include the amount, interest rates and any other figures you feel important);
- Selling your current home (the seller may continue to look for a buyer, but will give you the right of first refusal);
- The seller providing a current survey, or a “real property report,” showing that there are no encroachments on the property;
- The seller having title to the property (your lawyer will check this out when she conducts a title search to see if there are any liens on the property, easements, rights of way or height restrictions);
- If there’s a septic system, the seller having a health inspection certificate, stating that the system meets local standards;
- An inspection by a qualified engineer, should you have any doubts about the home’s safety and construction; and
- Any inclusions of appliances and other items – basically, what stays and what goes.
You will need to present a deposit along with your offer. An appropriate deposit will show your good faith to the seller. Note that the seller’s agent, if they are represented by one, is bound by law to bring all offers to the seller’s attention.
6. If Your Offer is Accepted
After your offer is accepted and all conditions met, the offer becomes binding on both sides. If you later refuse to honour the agreement, you may lose your deposit or might be sued for damages. Before signing, make sure you understand and agree with all terms of the offer.
Before the property can formally change hands, there are still a few things to do. Be prepared to furnish proof to your lender that you’ve insured your new house. On or before closing day, both side’s lawyers will arrange to transfer title of the property from the seller to you. The mortgage money will be transferred to your lawyer’s trust account, and then to the seller, and your lawyer will bill you all additional expenses such as land transfer taxes or outstanding legal fees.
At this time, be sure to check with your lawyer that everything is as stated in the offer-to-purchase.
Once you’re satisfied and the keys to the front door are in your hands, there’s nothing else to say, except welcome home!
No matter what type of home or property you’re buying, plan on some extra expenses.
- A land transfer tax (a sales tax on property) in certain provinces
- A mortgage broker’s fee
- An appraisal fee
- Surveying costs (if the seller couldn’t come up with a current survey)
- A high-ratio mortgage insurance premium
- An interest adjustment. (Mortgages are normally calculated from the first of each month. If your closing date is the same as the beginning of your mortgage, there will be no adjustment. However, if your closing date is July and you move in on June 15, those last 15 days are the interest adjustment period. Your lender will expect you to cover the cost of the interest during that time.)
- Reimbursement to seller for the unused portion of any prepaid property taxes or utility bills
- Legal fees, and, if applicable, REALTOR® fees