Your Quick Guide to Making an Offer on a Home

During the search for a home, it’s natural to put most of your focus toward finding the right property. That said, when you do find the perfect house or condo, being prepared for the offer stage is critical. Knowing what to expect before you approach a seller can take a lot of stress out of the buying process. It can also help ensure that you put together a truly compelling offer—one that stands a great chance of helping you secure your ideal home.

Whether you’re looking for a living space that will meet your needs or a great investment property, here’s what you need to know about making an offer on a home…

Obtain Financing pre-approval

One of the first steps toward making an offer is getting pre-approved for mortgage financing. Put simply, an offer that includes a pre-approval letter is more attractive than one that doesn’t. The reason is simple: real estate deals often fall through because home hunters either aren’t truly ready to make a purchase or because they can’t obtain the necessary funds. For this reason, sellers prefer to work with a buyer who has a financial commitment from a lender.

While there’s no absolute guarantee that you’ll receive the amount you’re pre-approved for, completing the process is a sign that you’re serious about making a purchase.

Hammer out the details

Once you’re mentally committed to purchasing a particular home, you’ll need to decide on your terms and conditions. This information will be included in your Agreement of Purchase & Sale, which you’ll sign and submit to the seller. Here are some of the most important elements to include.

Your purchase price

Properties may be overvalued or undervalued, depending on the seller’s strategy. That said, your bid should be based primarily on a home’s market value (as opposed to its listing price). Your agent will research the sold prices of comparable homes to find out what the market value is of the home you wish to purchase. From there, you’ll need to determine the highest purchase price you’re comfortable with—and with the advice of your agent, develope an offer strategy that is best for you.

Your deposit amount

The size of your initial deposit will depend on a few factors, such as the overall cost of your home and whether or not it’s a high-end property. Somewhere in the ballpark of 5 percent is often adequate, though lower amounts may be offered on larger purchases. A sizeable deposit is often viewed favourably by sellers, so you might want to consider offering more money if you’re in a position to do so.

Closing & possession dates

Your closing date is the day on which you’ll pay the balance of your purchase (minus your deposit) and any associated costs. If everything goes smoothly, the deal is finalized after closing. In contrast, your possession date is the day when the property is officially move-in ready for you. Often the closing date is the same day you take possession, but often, you close the transaction and take possession (move in) a day or so later.


Contingencies assert that certain events have to occur in order for your purchase to be finalized. For example, a financing contingency states that your deal will only be completed if you receive a certain amount in mortgage financing. Your purchase could also be contingent on events such as a successful home inspection, or the sale of your current home. Be aware that while these stipulations can help protect you, adding too many of them may create roadblocks with sellers.


When you submit your offer, you can request a response within a given timeframe. Anywhere between a few hours to a full day is typical. When the seller responds, they may accept your offer, decline it, or propose changes to your terms. For example, they might want to increase the price or amend the closing date. When this happens, it’s time to enter the negotiation phase.

Home negotiations can be complex, so it’s best to work with a real estate professional who’s also an experienced negotiator. Your agent will leverage their local market knowledge to represent your interests during the process.

Once you’ve reached an agreement, it’s time to provide your deposit and ensure that all contingencies are met. When these steps are complete, you’ll be the proud owner of your new home.

Navigating the offer process can be a challenge, so it’s best to work closely with a local expert you trust—and ask them any questions that arise along the way. Are you ready to learn more about how to make an offer on a home?

For over 30 years, our clients have trusted us to minimize risk, offer unbiased opinions, and ensure their best interests are served. Contact us today to talk about your needs, by emailing us at or calling us at 416-441-2888 ext. 772.


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