Home | Real Estate | Wills | Power of Attorney | Contact Us | Feedback | Sitemap


Privacy Policy










































Real Estate Legal Terms

Counter Offers

Once you have identified a home that you wish to purchase, the next step is to have your agent or lawyer draft an offer to Purchase (an "Offer") which sets out the price, terms and conditions on which you are prepared to purchase the home.

The Offer must be in writing, signed by you and witnessed before it is submitted to the Vendor. Once the Vendor accepts it by signing with a witness who also signs, the Offer becomes an Agreement of Purchase and Sale (an "Agreement").

The two most important things to know about Offers and Agreements are:
  1. The general rule is that they must be in writing, signed and witnessed to be enforceable. This also applies to all modifications and amendments. It is important to remember to get things signed and witnessed.
  2. The other general rule is that the Offer or Agreement once signed by the Vendors and the Purchasers, and witnessed becomes the only agreement between the parties about the home. Therefore it is important to ensure that it contains clear language about everything that is important to you. See below for information on terms, representations and conditions, closing date and requisition date.


It is important to carefully consider the price that you are prepared to offer for your new home. Your realtor will be able to advise you about the prices that other similar homes have sold for in the area that you are interested in buying, and about the fairness of your asking price.

Some factors to consider include: Vendor's circumstances, length of time the property has been on the market, the number of times the asking price has been reduced (and the amounts), competitions for the property, the season, general market conditions, zoning, proposed use of the property, etc.

As a general rule, you should consider only what you are prepared to pay for a particular property (and not what the Vendor wants) in deciding the price to put in your offer.

As another general rule, it is advisable to submit a price that is below the asking price in the hopes of getting a counter offer from the Vendor at a price that is below the asking price.

Remember not to get too attached to any particular house before you offer to purchase it. There are plenty of available houses out there, and if you do not get a particular one, there may be a good reason for it that may not be obvious to you at the time.

A deposit is money paid by the Purchaser to the Vendor (or his realtor or lawyer) usually in trust, as "good faith" money to show the Purchaser's sincere intention to close the deal. It will be lost if the deal fails to close due to the default of the Purchaser.

All Offers and Agreements provide for the payment of a deposit which can be large or small. It is normally $500 or $1,000 although circumstances may warrant smaller or larger deposits.

All Offers and Agreements contain terms and conditions. Ask your agent or lawyer to give you a copy of a standard Offer or Agreement and read it. Many of the paragraphs contain standard terms which will become part of your deal once your offer is accepted.

An example of a standard term is that time is of the essence. This means that things that must be done by a certain time must be done by that time.

A representation is a statement by a party about something that is relevant to the deal. It is recommended that your offer contain statements by the Vendor's about things that are important to you.

The general rule here is that if something is important to you, make sure that it is in the Offer or Agreement properly worded to protect you and your interest. Be sure to ask your realtor or lawyer to assist you.

An example of a representation that you may wish to include in your Offer is: "The Vendor represents that the heating and cooling systems and all related equipment is in good working order on the date hereof and will be in good working order on the date of closing. This representation shall survive closing".

Be sure to ask to see a copy of the Disclosure statement that the Vendor's normally complete and sign when they list a property for sale. Seek your realtor or lawyer's advice about incorporating the representations in the Disclosure Statement into your Offer. It is usually a good idea.

Your lawyer or realtor can draft representation clauses to deal with anything that is important to you.

A condition is a term of a contract or Offer that must be satisfied, usually by a certain date, failing which the contract will be at an end. These are extremely important clauses and it is essential that you review carefully with your lawyer or realtor those conditions that you need to protect you.

It is very common for Offers and Agreements to contain conditions respecting financing, home inspection, and in the case of condominiums, review and approval of Status Certificates.

  Counter Offers or Sign Backs
A counter-offer or sign back occurs when the Vendor accepts your Offer with changes that the vendor initials and returns to you, your lawyer or your realtor. This operates as a rejection of your offer and becomes a new offer by the Vendor to sell the home to you on the revised terms. If you agree with the revised terms, then you can accept them by initialing the revisions and delivering a copy to the Vendors, their lawyer or realtor before the irrevocable date in the Offer.

It is much more likely that the Vendors will sign back or counter your offer than it is that they will accept your offer as originally presented. It is wise to expect that there may be several volleys of offers and counter offers before an agreement is finalized. You may think of it as a game of tennis with the ball (Offer) being "volleyed" several times until the parties come to an agreement on all of the terms.


  Chattels and Fixtures
Chattels are things that are not attached to or affixed to the Lands, and fixtures are chattels that are affixed to the Lands. Dining Room tables, and chairs and Snow Blowers are examples of Chattels.  Built in cabinets and Air Conditioners are examples of fixtures.

There are often issues about whether or not a thing is a fixture (in which case it is included in the purchase price) or a chattel (in which case it is not usually included in the purchase price).

The best rule of thumb is: If you want to ensure that any chattel or fixture is in the house when you close, make sure that the written offer specifically referenced it as a chattel or fixture that is included in the purchase price. This eliminates uncertainty/confusion on closing and is well worth doing.

Home |Contact Us | Real Estate | Wills | Power of Attorney | Fees | Feedback | Site Map