Deposit details, Leaving the family home


Dear David,

We found a great house on the weekend and want to buy it, but they’re asking for a $20,000 deposit. How does that work? – FIRST TIMERS

DEAR FIRST TIMERS: When buying a house, you’ll need to submit a deposit along with your offer. The amount of the deposit will be set arbitrarily by the seller (in consultation with their agent), and will be subtracted from the purchase price when the sale closes.

As a buyer, you may have up to 24 hours to submit your deposit (by cheque, certified cheque or bank draft) once your offer has been accepted. In a situation where competition is expected, a seller may request that the deposit be submitted at the same time as the offer. From a seller’s point of view, the buyer who provides a deposit upfront inspires confidence by showing that they’ve made their offer in good faith and can afford to buy the house. In contrast, an offer that includes a provision for late delivery of the deposit may leave a seller wondering whether the buyer can come up with the money.

Pro Tip: It’s important to figure out where your deposit will come from, even before you start looking for a home. Talk to your mortgage specialist in advance. Assembling a deposit may require you to access funds that are tied up in an RRSP or apply for a short term line of credit, both of which will take time. If it’s feasible in your situation, appealing to the Bank of Mom and Dad may bring faster results.

Dear David,

My elderly Mum is feeling overwhelmed caring for our family home. At the same time, the thought of leaving it is stressful for her. Any thoughts on how I can help without upsetting her more? – CONCERNED DAUGHTER

DEAR CONCERNED: I feel for both you and your mum. It’s difficult to watch those we love endure a stressful time.  As a Seniors Real Estate Specialist, one of the most helpful things I’ve learned is patience:  a little extra time and space can ease your mum’s transition into a manageable living arrangement.

In all likelihood, moving your mum out of the family home will take longer that you think. As we age, we tend to spend more time making major decisions than we did when we were younger. Tasks that are highly physical and emotional – like packing – can feel more monumental than they used to. With that in mind, any assistance you can offer in terms of preparation, making checklists and keeping professionals on task can be a great relief to her. Please reach out if you need a referral for help with packing, decluttering or junk disposal, I’d be happy to provide names for each of these. At the same time, keep an eye on your mum’s emotional health and give her space as needed. There are bound to be a few frustrations along the way for both of you.

At this point, looking forward instead of back can bring a helpful new perspective. Instead of focusing on the family home and the stress of leaving, help Mum to set her sights on where she is going. Whether it’s a lower-maintenance space or assisted living, take stock of the community, activities and amenities she’ll be able to enjoy once she’s settled there. Pro Tip: Knowing where we’re going creates an optimistic view of the future and makes it easier to let go of the past. #AskDavid