Firm Offer and Inspection, Rising Deposits, Rejected Offers
Picture of bedroom with a large mirror


Dear David,
So many sellers expect a firm offer these days. What if we want to do an inspection? – Nervous Buyer

Dear Nervous,

I always recommend that my clients do an inspection, or at least a “mini inspection” that covers major aspects of the home like the foundation, roof, windows, HVAC, electrical system and attic. This can identify glaring issues that might make or break the sale. My circle of inspectors has adapted to the changing market and now provides this service on short notice. If time is so tight that even a mini inspection is impossible, make sure you are using an experienced agent who is familiar with the neighbourhood and any concerns that may be prevalent there.

When time is of the essence, an offer can be drafted without conditions and still protect buyers. Unfortunately, it’s also common to see poorly-worded clauses that fail to protect their buyers in any way (great news for sellers). If you are buying, seek the help of an experienced professional.

Dear David,
I want to put an offer on a house and the seller is asking for a $20,000 deposit (I don’t have that much). The last offer I submitted only required a $3000 deposit. Can I submit this offer with a lower deposit than the seller is requesting?

– Cash Strapped

Dear Cash,

You can offer a lower deposit than the seller has requested, but this might make your offer look weak, especially if you are in competition with other buyers. There is certainly some sticker shock associated with deposits as of late; they have risen dramatically in our competitive market as sellers attempt to weed out overly ambitions offers that might not close due to financing. In order to keep your funds as liquid as possible, don’t submit your deposit to the listing brokerage until you actually have a deal (some brokerages cash deposits right away and you might have to wait five to ten days for your money to be refunded). If you expect to place numerous offers, ask your bank manager about waiving the fees for bank drafts as these charges are made at their discretion.


Dear David,
I offered $850,000 for a house when the sellers were asking $760,000. They turned it down. Can they even do that? – Astonished

Dear Astonished,

Sellers are not forced to accept any offer; they accept and decline at their own discretion. Sellers are juggling a number of expectations and greed may or may not be one of them. While money is a major motivator, I have a number of other ways to make my client’s offers more attractive. Ask your agent what they can do to help turn the odds in your favour.