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When Buying A House, What Does “Under Offer” Mean?

One of the secrets of successful property investing is interpreting the real meaning of realtor-speak. If you can understand what they’re saying, you can see when a good flipping opportunity is really off the market. 

One term you might see or hear is “under offer.” It means that a deal is being hammered out, but if you think the opportunity is good enough, don’t let the phrase turn you away!

 

What Does It Mean When A House Is Under Offer?mjs-paperwork-body-image

 

“Under offer” is a term used by real estate agents meaning that a buyer has made an offer to the seller and that they accepted. When new property investors hear these words come out of an agent’s mouth, they often balk, thinking that the house is already spoken for by a buyer.

 

But while words mean that the seller has accepted an offer, the implication of phrases like “under offer” – you’ll often hear “conditional offer” or “contingent upon” here in Ontario – is that it was below the asking price. As a way of committing and showing that they are financially capable of following through on the deal, buyers have to offer a deposit. However, the seller is under no legal obligation to accept the deal until they’ve signed an Agreement of Purchase and Sale.

 

The deal isn’t complete until all conditions that are part of the offer have either been fulfilled or waived by their respective expiry dates. In the meantime, the seller can still legally look at other offers. So if you see the words “under offer” or “conditional” used on a property that’s on the market, don’t keep moving!

 

Can I Make An Offer On A House Under Offer?

 

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If the seller thinks that the offer is good enough and accepts it, the two parties sign an Agreement of Purchase and Sale. The buyer agrees to purchase the property for a certain price if the seller satisfies the terms and conditions.

 

The “under offer” and other labels associated with it mean that the seller of the property has not yet decided on whether they will accept the offer. When a buyer makes an offer, it is irrevocable for a certain amount of time; once the offer is accepted, the buyer must submit the deposit in the form of a certified cheque or money order within 24 hours of offer acceptance.

 

This means that if you see words like “under offer” on a website or hear the words in a discussion with a local realtor, you still have time to make a counteroffer! The official paperwork has not been signed, and you can still talk to the agent about making an offer. If you see a good opportunity, talk to the agent, even if they say the words “under offer”!

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