Step 3 - Making a purchase offer

You have just found the home of your dreams. It's exactly what you were looking for and is within your budget. Now's the time to make a purchase offer.

What it includes

The purchase offer is a document that is legally binding on the parties. It's a contract in which one person offers to buy a property from another under certain conditions.

It features the following information and conditions

  • Address and lot number
  • Amount of the deposit
  • Possession date
  • Tax adjustment
  • Length of time the offer is valid (generally between 24 and 48 hours)
  • What is included in or excluded from the sales price
  • Approval of mortgage loan (condition on the purchase)
  • Satisfactory inspection of the premises by an expert (condition on the purchase)
  • Sale of your current home (if you're already a homeowner)
  • Any other condition(s) deemed appropriate

Forms for presenting a purchase offer are available online, in bookstores or from your real estate broker. A legal advisor, notary or your broker can help you present your purchase offer.

Offer and counter-offer

If the seller accepts the offer

When an offer is accepted by the seller, it constitutes an agreement to sell. Once a purchase offer has been accepted, neither party can refuse to carry it out. Otherwise the seller or buyer could be sued for damages caused to the other party. The buyer could even lose their deposit.

If the seller turns down the offer

They can make a counter-offer (on the price or possession date, etc.), which you then either accept or turn down. If you turn it down, you can make another counter-offer.

Inspection of the property

You need to make sure the property is in good condition by having it checked over by a building inspector. The inspection report may be included as one of the conditions in the purchase offer. A negative inspection report may be a negotiating tool for you, or could even make the purchase offer null and void.

Content of the inspection report

  • Foundation
  • Roof
  • Structural elements
  • Windows
  • Insulation
  • Plumbing
  • Electrical system

Tip

Make sure you hire an expert who is a member of the Quebec Association of Building Inspectors (QABI) - External link. This link will open in a new window. so you can be sure of their skills and credibility.

Certificate of location

This document is prepared by a land surveyor and establishes the physical boundaries of a property. It is required by most mortgage lenders.

What it includes

  • Description of the lot and building
  • Illegalities and irregularities (e.g., a fence encroaching on a neighbour's property)
  • Easements and specific bylaws or regulations that may restrict a property owner's rights

If you buy an existing home, it's usually the seller who must give you the certificate of location. In the case of a new construction, the land surveyor should provide it free of charge. The certificate shows the condition of the property once the exterior construction work is complete.

Mortgage financing

Obtaining mortgage financing is often a condition in the purchase offer. Go to the next section of the guide to learn more.