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How to make an offer on a house

House-hunting in Cranbrook? Make them an offer they can’t refuse!
The Jason Wheeldon PREC team includes Wheeldon, licensed REALTOR assistant Kaytee Wheaton and office administrator Laura Kennedy.

Congratulations! After a hard search in Cranbrook’s hot housing market, you’ve found your dream home. Now what? Assuming you’re already pre-approved for a mortgage and have engaged a real estate agent, it’s time to make an offer.

“Making an offer is more than just an oral promise, and it includes more than just your proposed price,” says Jason Wheeldon at Royal LePage East Kootenay Realty.

Wheeldon has created purchase agreements for over two decades, and will help you put together a written, legally binding offer that outlines the price as well as terms and conditions that make sense for you. It should be tempting enough for the seller to accept, without offering too much. It should also comply with provincial and local laws — Wheeldon can help with both, as well as being an expert negotiator and a high resource of information on the housing market to establish fair value for your purchase.

What’s in an offer

  • the address and a legal description of the property
  • sale price
  • terms: all cash, or subject to you obtaining a mortgage for a given amount
  • seller’s promise to provide clear title (ownership), and the type of deed
  • target date for closing
  • amount of earnest money accompanying the offer (money put down to show you’re serious about closing), and how it’s to be returned to you if the offer is rejected — or kept as damages if you back out for no good reason
  • method for prorating real estate taxes, rents, utilities, etc. between buyer and seller
  • who will pay for title insurance, survey, inspections, etc.
  • a provision that the home will be in substantially the same condition at possession date as last viewed
  • a time limit (preferably short) after which the offer will expire
  • other requirements specific to your province, which might include a chance for an attorney to review the contract, disclosure of specific environmental hazards or other province-specific clauses
  • contingencies, like “subject to financing” or “subject to a satisfactory report by a home inspector.”

“If the seller signs an acceptance right away, your offer becomes a firm contract. If your offer is rejected that’s that — the seller can’t hold you to the offer later,” Wheeldon says. “You may receive a counteroffer, if the seller likes everything except the sale price, or the proposed closing date. Then it’s up to you to accept it, reject it, or make your own counteroffer.

In most cases you can also take back an offer, right up until the moment it is accepted. Just be sure to consult with your real estate agent and a lawyer so you don’t lose your earnest money deposit or incur other penalties.

Want more real estate tips? Talk to the Jason Wheeldon PREC team, which includes Wheeldon, licensed REALTOR assistant Kaytee Wheaton, and office administrator Laura Kennedy. For more information on the Cranbrook housing market visit or follow Jason Wheeldon Personal Real Estate Corp. on Facebook.