Dealing With Offers & Closing

You may want to read the previous chapter on marketing your house in Vancouver here.


  1. Offers, Counter-Offers, Conditions, and Other Problems
  2. Accepting Offers
  3. Closing
  4. Completion Day – What to Expect


Realtors® assists sellers in the bargaining process, provide advice and counselling as offers are received, and work through complex negotiations with buyers.  Depending on your sale strategy, you might decide to ‘hold back’ all offers until a specific night; this can create a sense of urgency if the buyers have been kicking tires for a while.  On the other hand, there is a risk that no offers will come in on the stated date, leaving the home to face yet another selling strategy later.

Offers, Counter-Offers, Conditions, and Other Issues

Big money is involved, and big emotional investments are at stake for both the seller and the buyer.  That’s a lot of pressure to be under when trying to decide whether to take an offer (a bird in the hand?), request changes to an offer, or just hold out for something better. No less important than the emotional factors, a home sale by itself can be complex. 

There is a lot of legal jargon in a standard Contract of Purchase and Sale.  That’s why it’s important to understand (at least in layman’s terms) what it all means, and to know something about the market conditions you’re dealing with.  Your Realtor® should be able to explain all this to you and let you know very honestly what alternatives are realistically available.

Here are some questions to keep in mind when trying to decide whether to accept an offer:
  • Is the offer at or near the asking price?  Is the offer above the asking price?
  • Has the buyer buried any seller costs within wordy clauses and contract schedules?  Have these been reflected in the offered price?
  • What will it cost you not to accept this offer?  Consider this in terms of mortgage payments, taxes and insurance you have to keep paying if your home sits unsold on the market.
  • Do you have enough time to wait for other offers to come in, or do you have urgent plans of your own?
  • If several offers have been received, should you choose the high but conditional offer from the purchaser who may not be able to arrange home financing, or a somewhat lesser offer from a buyer with pre-approved financing?
Let an experienced Realtor® help you decide. Please remember that once you have signed a counter-offer, you cannot go back and accept the original offer or any other offer; you are committed to the one that is under consideration.   You cannot accept another offer - unless the other offer stipulates that it will only go through should the first Buyer decide not to go ahead with the purchase. 

This arrangement is binding because fulfilling the agreed condition might require great effort (or investment) on the part of the buyer.  You might still potentially review other offers, but the pending, condition-dependent offer takes precedence unless the buyer backs out (or fails to fulfill the condition in the specified timespan). Carefully consider counter-offers every time.  Maintain a rational approach and don’t get swayed by emotions.  Consulting your Realtor® will usually help you stay objective and reasonable.


Accepting Offers

Once you have received a satisfactory offer from a buyer and have accepted the contract … please accept our congratulations!  If the offer is firm and you have a deposit in hand, you can relax.  That is to say if there are no conditions, such as that the offer is contingent upon the buyer obtaining satisfactory financing, the deal is considered firm and will proceed to the next step when you receive full payment for the house.

From this point on, you won’t have to open your home to strangers anymore or stress out wondering if your biggest asset is going to sell.  You can focus on your plans for the future – which might include a home purchase of your own.That said, the sale process not completely over; a series of inspections and checks can be required during the closing period to satisfy buyers and lenders. 

Your Realtor® can help you, the homeowner, complete the process by assisting with any requirements found in the sale agreement.

Closing

Signing a sale agreement is not the end of the selling process.  Some of the most complex aspects of a real estate transaction now begin; gratefully, most of them will be handled by professionals!  Much of your agent’s work will be quiet and unseen: the mountains of paperwork and signatures that must be verified by all parties, from brokerage offices to lawyers.

A good Realtor® will also let you know what is expected from your end and make sure you have all the information you need for a smooth closing.

Be sure to look at the sale agreement and review any of your obligations: Any alterations you agreed to do for the buyer before closing must be completed according to what is set out in the agreement.

Completion Day – What to Expect

Completion can occur within a month but are more typically 2-3 months from when the contract was actually written. 

Whatever you decided on then, you are legally bound to stick to now.  If the date you initially agreed upon really doesn’t work for you, perhaps because you have since bought a new place with a conflicting/inconvenient closing date, you can ask your Realtor® to draw up an Amendment to the sale agreement.  If the buyer goes for the date change, you are in luck and can adjust your plans accordingly.  But it is up to the buyer at that point whether or not they agree to the change in the plan. 

Please be mindful of any last-minute Amendments, since the buyers may have already made arrangements to move in and they may need to vacate their previous dwelling by a certain deadline.  If there are serious complications of this sort, consider offering the buyers temporary housing in your area until you can indeed let them move in.  Include this in the draft of the Amendment and be courteous.  Be sure that your buyers will be thankful to you for being courteous.

Your real estate lawyer or notary should contact you to set up a meeting a couple of days before closing.   At this meeting, you will sign off the mortgage and the legal papers.  On the big day itself, your lawyer will let you know (usually later in the afternoon) that everything went smoothly and the money has changed hands and the buyers are now registered on title. 

Your Realtor® will pick up the keys and any garage door openers, alarm codes, etc. from you and pass them onto the new owners.

Now that you know how to deal with offers and close the deal, it is time to move out gracefully and get ready for the next challenges of life.

Get In Touch

Michelle Vaughan

Mobile: 604-839-3000

Email

Office Info

Royal Pacific Lions Gate Realty

202 – 1555 Marine Drive  West Vancouver,  B.C.  V7V 1H9 

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