Buying a Home: What do I need before I sign an Offer?

December 17, 2020

So you’ve done it! After weeks of looking, you have found the house of your dreams and the price is right. Before you sign the contract, make sure you have completed these steps.

Review the Title

Prior to making an offer to purchase, a buyer should always review the certificate of title of the property he or she is interested in purchasing. Our firm can conduct searches for a nominal fee, or the seller or their realtor should have a copy. Reviewing the certificate of title can alert buyers to financial encumbrances, easements, restrictive covenants, party wall agreements and other encumbrances registered against title that may make the buyer reconsider his or her offer.

A title ensures you make the offer to the right party.  You can often see what the seller paid for the property and when they bought it by looking at the title as well.

Additionally, reviewing the certificate of title can alert buyers to the fact that a property is a bare land condo. Purchasing a condo raises its own considerations, which you can read about here.

Review the Real Property Report

You should review the Real Property Report, or RPR.  This is a map of the property, showing where the house, deck, driveway, sheds, and fences are located.  It can alert you to any issues that may exist with the property.  The offer usually makes the seller responsible for fixing any misplaced buildings.  However, in order for the seller to fix these problems, they may need to move them or removed them from the property.

Consider your Conditions

Further, buyers should carefully consider which conditions, if any, they wish to place on the purchase. For instance, if the buyer is purchasing a condo, they should request a copy of the condo documents and make sure that any offer to purchase is contingent upon a satisfactory review thereof.

Unless you have the cash available to purchase the property outright, you need to put a financing condition in place. This is true, even if you are pre-approved for a mortgage.

You likely want to have a home inspection completed as well. This give you some idea about issues with the home’s condition, and can alert you to issues like needing an new roof or visible signs of past flooding.