Length of Conditions: Why Timing Matters
Welcome to Part 2 of my blog on offer conditions!
If you didn’t read Conditional vs. Unconditional Offers: What You Need To Know. That’s okay!
You can take the time to read it now, or just refer to my summary below!
Conditional Offer • when an offer to purchase a property has been submitted and it includes certain conditions that must be waived or fulfilled.
Topics Covered In My Previous Blog
- Unconditional Offers
- Notice of Fulfillments
- The Importance of Wording
- Types of Conditions
- Common Conditions
I’m now going to tell you why the length of time you stipulate to complete the condition is critical!
How Much Time Do You Need?
The longer the conditions, the less attractive the deal. A finance condition that is only 3 days is much more attractive to a seller than one that is 10 days.
Think about how much time you actually need to fulfill a condition and don’t add bonus days just because.
If you are pre-approved, the length of your finance condition doesn’t have to be as long as it would if you weren’t pre-approved. Putting in extra days for your own comfort could cost you the house if the seller finds there are too many conditions.
A longer condition period means a longer amount of time the seller’s house is off the market. Therefore longer conditions aren’t favourable for sellers.
Does Timing Matter?
Put yourself in the seller’s shoes.
Accepting an offer conditional upon a home inspection for two weeks means you’re taking your house off the market for that period of time. So you have no guarantee you’ll have a firm deal and might miss out on other buyers
Give yourself enough time to complete the conditions without dragging out the process.
As a seller, your ideal situation is a firm deal with no conditions. Any conditions that lengthen the time between an accepted offer and a firm deal are a compromise from the seller.
What Amount Of Time Is Reasonable And Expected For Common Conditions?
- 3-5 Business Days
Have you done your homework? Do you have a pre-approval? Maybe you have a large down-payment so only need approval for a small mortgage and are confident in your ability to obtain financing.
The more prepared you are, the fewer days you need to allow for your financing condition and the more appealing your offer will be to the seller.
If you’re not pre-approved and are a first time home buyer with only a small % down, you’ll need the full 5 days to obtain financing.
*keep in mind that some lenders require their own appraisal before approving financing on a property
- 3-5 Business Days
A home inspection will require access to the home (obviously), so this process is dependent on the schedule of both the inspector AND the sellers.
Generally your agent has a reputable home inspection company they deal with regularly. Allowing at least 3 business days to gain access at a time that also works with your inspector is reasonable. On occasion, you may need 5 days.
- 3-5 Business Days if the Listing Agent has a copy of the Status Certificate
- Up to 3 weeks if it still needs to be ordered
A Condominium Corporation can take up to 10 business days to deliver a status certificate. Then your lawyer will be given a number of days to review it. If you add all of these up, this is a process that can take up to 18 business days.
That is not ideal for ANYONE involved!
Some Agents will have pre-ordered the Status Certificate before listing and avoiding this extensive condition.
Know the lawyer you’ll be using ahead of time. If you’re planning to buy a condo, do your research before placing of offer. By doing so, you can keep your condition shortened to 2 or 3 days for review.
- 3-5 Business Days
Like a home inspection, this requires scheduling with multiple people. Therefore, an adequate time allowance depends on everyone’s individual schedules.
Running Out Of Time?
Let’s say your offer was accepted with 5 days to obtain financing. So you’re now at the mercy of your lender.
What if it is the morning on the 5th day and you still have no guarantee?
What if you don’t get the you thought and you’re on the hunt with a different lender?
You Have 3 Options:
1. Ask For An Extension
If they’ve accepted your offer and agreed to wait the period of your conditions, they’re likely wanting to complete a deal with you. You can ask them for an extension that they will either agree to or not.
Maybe there’s been interest in the property since your offer was accepted and they don’t feel confident you’ll end up signing back a firm deal. If they won’t grant you an extension, you have 2 more options.
2. Go Ahead Anyways
This is a huge risk. If you waive a condition like financing without obtaining financing, you’re accepting the financial risk. The deal is firm. You’ll be responsible for the finances of that property regardless of whether or not you can obtain financing.
But sometimes going ahead anyways is a good option.
Example: A purchase is conditional upon the sale of your current home.
You’re in a good financial position and can carry both houses for a while, but have included this clause as a protective measure. It’s for your benefit.
Your house hasn’t sold in the specified period of time, but you know you have the finances for both properties and don’t want to risk losing the new purchase. So you waive the condition.
3. Move On
Sometimes things are just meant to be and you have to accept it.
Is it a seller’s market?
Are there a lot of buyers and not much inventory?
Have you lost out on 3 properties with multiple offers already?
Is your dream home listed WAY under market value to drive multiple offers?
When there’s not a lot on the market, if a property is under-priced or properties are being sold with competitive, multiple offers, deals are done with no conditions.
Is this advisable? It is up to you.
Multiple offer scenarios are subjective. There’s no one recipe or answer. It depends on market conditions, your situation and the property itself.
In some markets, conditional offers won’t be given a second look. Ask your agent for advise and come prepared.
No Conditions Doesn't Mean No Protection
If you’re prepared for a competitive market and have done your homework, you may feel comfortable submitting an unconditional offer so you don’t lose out on your 4th condo.
When unconditional offers are placed, usually finances have been determined prior to looking for properties.
The listing agent may have had a home inspection done to eliminate the need for a home inspection clause.
If it’s in a building you don’t know well and the listing agent hasn’t prepared a status certificate, you might not be comfortable.
You might risk the financial state of a condominium corporation forgoing a condition to review the status certificate. On the other hand, the listing agent may have pre-ordered one and you had a lawyer review it prior to offering.
Ask your agent for information and advice! It’s their job to help.
Lara Stasiw • Real Estate Agent & Home Design Connoisseur
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