1.  Basic Details

This includes the address and legal description of the property, and the names of the vendor, purchaser and brokers involved.

2.  Price

Depending on the market conditions, your opinion of the value of the home and the information provided by your real estate consultant, the price you offer may be different from the seller’s asking price.

3.  Inclusions and Exclusions

Items within the home that will be included in the purchase price such as appliances, fixtures or decorations such as drapes or mirrors are referred to as chattel. Don’t assume that anything will be left behind. If you want it, put it in writing.

4.  Deposit

The deposit shows your good faith and will be applied against the purchase of the home when the sale closes. Deposits are usually no more than 2-5% of the purchase price, but a larger deposit can show the vendor that you’re serious. Your real estate consultant will advise you on the appropriate amount, and you may wish to stipulate that some interest be paid on it in the meantime.

5.  Terms

These include the total price of your offer as well as the financing details. You may arrange your own financing or may ask to assume the seller’s mortgage, especially if it has an attractive interest rate. There will also be an expiration date and time after which the offer is no longer valid.

6.  Conditions

These might make your offer subject to home inspection, to your obtaining financing or to your selling your property.  If these are not met to your satisfaction, you can normally remove yourself from the deal, and in most cases get your deposit back.

7.  Closing or Possession Date

Generally, the date the title of the property is legally transferred and the transaction of funds is finalized between 30 and 90 days from the date of the offer. This is often a good negotiating point as vendors usually have a fixed date in mind.

8.  Request for a Current Survey of the Property

If the vendor does not have one, you may wish to make one obtaining a land survey a condition of the closing. In most cases, the vendor will not pay for a new survey. As discussed earlier, you can ask the vendor to provide a “Declaration of Possession” or you could buy a “Title Insurance” policy instead. If however, you are planning to add to the house or build a garage, the best idea is to request a new survey – you’ll likely need it to get your building permits.