Making An Offer

Offer price: Your real estate professional will provide you with information to help you make an informed decision on what to offer. That information will include looking at comparables (recent sales of similar properties in the same neighbourhood), and discussing your preferences. It’s your choice what to offer.

Deposits: A deposit can be a sign of how serious you are about the purchase. You need to have the deposit ready at the time of your offer.

Terms: A term is a detail in the purchase contract that the buyer and seller agree to. Terms include:

  • Possession date: the date on which you will take possession of the property.

  • Inclusions and exclusions: Inclusions are items you want included in your purchase, typically appliances, security systems, etc., and exclusions are items excluded from the purchase, for example if the sellers are taking the curtain rods or TV wall mount with them. Inclusions and exclusions can be negotiated between the parties.

    Attached goods are items you cannot remove from the property without causing damage. Unattached goods are movable items. In the absence of specific inclusions or exclusions in the offer to purchase, attached goods are typically included in a sale while unattached goods are not.

  • Time for acceptance/expiry of offer: You want to include an expiry date/time that:

    • creates a sense of immediacy for the seller

    • may encourage the seller to review your offer before others

    • removes the need for you to formally withdraw the offer at some point in the future

  • Pre-possession inspection: A pre-possession inspection term gives you the opportunity to view the property, with your real estate professional, prior to possession. Such an inspection can help you confirm the property is in substantially the same condition as it was when you viewed it and made your offer.

Conditions: Buyers often place conditions in their Offers to Purchase to protect their interests. When you write a conditional Offer to Purchase, it means you want to buy the property but before making it a firm sale, you want the ability and time to review or confirm information. Some common conditions include home inspection, financing, and a review of condominium documents (if buying a condominium).

The conditions you may want to include will differ depending on the type of property, for example:

  • if you’re buying a single-family home, you may want a home inspection

  • if you’re buying a condominium, you may want condominium document review condition

  • if you’re buying a country residential property, you may want satisfactory results of a water or soil test as a condition

All conditions need to have an expiry date. Make sure the expiry dates you include will provide you with enough time to satisfy the conditions. If you don’t waive your conditions in writing by their expiry date, the contract ends, and you and the seller have no further obligations to each other. If you are ready to waive your conditions, your real estate professional will provide you with the required waiver, and the purchase contract becomes final and binding.


Hiring a realtor with strong negotiation skills is important in every real estate transaction. A lot of people think that negotiation is about a winner and a loser, but the truth is that a good negotiator finds a way to negotiate their best interest while collaborating so that each party achieves their goal and ultimately a win-win situation. Sometimes the best way to get what you want is to give up something that you don’t necessarily want as badly. My negotiation training has earned me the “Master Certified Negotiation Expert” designation MCNE, which is the highest level of negotiation training in the Calgary Real Estate Industry. My MCNE designation often surprises my clients with the unique negotiation strategies I can offer and has proven time and time again to benefit my clients in their negotiations. Negotiating is a learned skill that must be honed and developed over time and practice. I take it very seriously as I know how important a negotiation strategy can be to a transaction.

There will likely be some negotiation between you and the seller after you submit an Offer to Purchase. Sellers can outright accept or reject your offer, make a counter offer, or ignore your offer completely.

  • if the seller accepts your offer, congratulations! If your Offer to Purchase contained conditions, your real estate professional will help you do what needs to be done in order to satisfy those conditions

  • if the seller rejects your offer, you can either submit a new Offer to Purchase or look elsewhere

  • if the sellers provide a counter offer, carefully review it and any terms and conditions. A counter offer likely contains a different selling price, but the sellers may also counter on possession date, inclusions/exclusions, terms, or conditions. If you want to accept their counter offer, make sure you review everything in it. If you want to change anything, you are essentially providing the sellers with a counter offer rather than simply accepting their counter offer

  • if the seller ignores your Offer to Purchase, it’s essentially the same as rejecting it. It’s up to you how you want to proceed. Do you want to write a new Offer to Purchase or look for a different property?

Multiple offers: A multiple offer situation is when multiple buyers submit an Offer to Purchase on the same property, at the same time. It’s the seller who determines the process, including whether they want to disclose the multiple offer situation to potential buyers. If the seller discloses a multiple offer situation, your real estate professional will:

  • tell you of the multiple offer situation

  • advise you of the seller’s options

  • attempt to personally attend the offer presentations

  • advise you of YOUR options, including:

    • increasing your offer prior to its presentation to the seller

    • leaving the offer as it is

    • withdrawing the offer

    • reconsidering the fixtures, chattels, terms and conditions of the offer

  • advise on other considerations that could improve your position including:

    • a term or condition that will compel the seller to deal with the offer at the time of presentation or face withdrawal

    • a requirement that the seller not disclose the price and terms to any other buyer or face withdrawal

Source: Real Estate Council of Alberta