It’s an “interesting” time to buy a home, to say the least. By all reports, the Toronto real estate market is slow due to rising interest rates and inflation. However, if you’re on the hunt for a new house, your experience might tell a different story. The market has picked up from its lull earlier in the year, but inventory remains low, especially in the GTA. The situation has become more competitive. 

Although it’s not quite like what we saw during the housing peak last year, multiple offer scenarios appear to be making a comeback. As a buyer, you may have to be prepared to negotiate. In addition, you may need to work harder to make your offer stand out if you find yourself competing for a home you love. 

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Elements of a Strong Offer

What goes into an offer that makes it appeal to a seller? Every homeowner has different priorities, and their reason for selling can impact what makes one offer more attractive than another. The elements of an offer are as follows: 


To a large extent, it will always come down to price. Whoever offers the most money will likely win, presuming they can back up their claim. You must be careful about overbidding, however. No one wants to overpay for a home, especially if you ever plan on selling in the future. It’s also important to remember that your lender may not finance any amount over and above the fair market value. 

Your real estate agent can help you determine whether or not you should offer more during competitive situations. Sometimes, a little extra will win you the home you love, and it’s worth it for you. Other times, you may find yourself in an expensive bidding war that it’s best to walk away from.

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The deposit is the amount you pay within 24 hours after a seller accepts your offer to secure your purchase. It usually works out to approximately 5% of the total selling price, with the balance to be paid upon the closing date. If the transaction falls through for any reason not covered by a condition, the seller may get to keep your deposit.

How can you use this fact to your advantage? Consider offering more than the minimum deposit. If a seller received two similar offers, agreeing to pay more upfront can give you a slight competitive edge.

Do you want to know more about buying in the GTA? You can read all about my process right here.


A condition means certain things must fall into place before the sale proceeds. For example, you might make an offer on a home, but only if it passes an inspection first. Or your offer may be contingent on financing or selling your existing property. 

To make an offer stand out, many buyers (and some real estate agents) go straight to unconditional offers. While this might make the seller’s day, it isn’t always a strategy that’s in your best interests and isn’t always necessary. 

These contingencies exist for a reason, to protect you financially and to stop you from purchasing a home that turns out to be entirely unsuitable. If a situation becomes competitive, you might consider dropping some conditions, but that doesn’t mean you should put yourself at unnecessary risk. 

For example, you could get pre-approved for a mortgage before you even look at your first home. This means the lender has already approved your financing as long as nothing changes between now and your closing date. Having a pre-approval allows you to safely drop the condition of financing. Now your offer has teeth, and you’re still protected.

A local real estate agent can guide you through which conditions you should consider removing and which ones you absolutely should keep to safeguard your interests.


Inclusions and exclusions refer to any chattels discussed in an offer. For example, imagine you walk through a home and love the window coverings. So much so that you only agree to buy the property if the owner includes them. This inclusion must be spelled out in the offer. Otherwise, you may not get those curtains. 

How do you know if you need an inclusion or exclusion clause? Just remember that if a fixture isn’t built into the home, there is no guarantee it will be there once the current owners move out.

That said, it’s often assumed that items like dishwashers, fridges, washers and dryers are part of the package. Knowing this might help you craft an offer a seller loves, especially if they don’t want to leave their favourite appliances behind.

Are you worried about interest rates? Information is your best defence. Find out all about what changing interest rates mean for you right here.

Closing Date

The closing date is the day the sale becomes official, and the transfer of ownership takes place. It’s when you receive the keys to your new home and can begin the process of making it all yours! Before the transaction finalizes, there is a little work to do. A lawyer will conduct a title search to ensure the property is in the clear. Typically, closing occurs 60 to 90 days after the seller accepts your offer. 

Sometimes, you must have a specific date that you can count on. However, being flexible may be another way to make your offer compelling.

As you can see, each offer element provides a little space to give and take during the negotiation phases. Sometimes, significant concessions must be made. Other times, a small detail can be the difference between winning the house or losing it to another buyer. A professional local real estate agent can work with you to make your offer as potent as possible while covering all your bases.

Do you have any questions about how to successfully sell or buy a house in Toronto? I’m a local agent with an eye on the market who is committed to giving you realistic and honest advice. Reach out to me at or call 416.884.7925, and I’ll be happy to answer your questions.