Get in the game by writing a back-up offer

Red Deer mortgage broker offers tips for making your home buying experience successful

Have you found the house of your dreams?

But there is already an accepted offer in place?

OK, but are there outstanding subjects on the offer?

Perhaps there’s a ‘subject to sale’ with a 72-hour trigger clause against the potential buyer, and this one condition might still be anywhere from two to six weeks from removal. Why sit back and wait to see what happens over the following weeks?

In a softening market ‘subject to sale’ becomes more common.

Get in the game: write a backup offer.

Over the last few years, more purchase offers have fallen apart due to financing than in the past couple of decades combined. Financing has become that challenging, and few people realize it until they actually write an offer and make the application.

When it comes to mortgage financing, while money never has been cheaper, it’s also never been harder to get.

So, if you find your dream home and it already has an accepted offer, follow through with writing the backup offer anyway. It is not a waste of time for you or your realtor.

Historically clients and realtors alike may have felt this was a wasted process. No longer!

If you’re the seller, take the time to think through the written offer in front of you before accepting one with an exceeded month or longer.

Keep in mind that despite what I am urging buyers to do, very few will write a backup offer if another offer is already in place. People don’t like to bump other people; it feels confrontational. So in effect you are removing your home from the market whether you think so or not.

These subject-to-sale offers typically have a ‘72-hour clause’. This clause means that if another offer is written, the original buyer has 72 hours to remove all subjects and go firm.

Whether they have met these conditions or not, it becomes their decision to roll the dice and follow through with their offer.

As Canadians, we are often very polite, perhaps too polite. We give thanks to those who thank us for thanking them. We apologize when offered an apology. It’s the Canadian way.

And so, we don’t really want to trigger the 72-hour clause on somebody. We don’t like putting others in uncomfortable situations.

The reality for the seller is, if you have a long subject removal offer on your property, it is highly unlikely that anyone else is going to write an offer on it.


As a seller: be wary of taking placeholder offers laden with long subject removal dates which put you in a position where you are subsequently hoping for a backup offer. You’re unlikely to get one.

As a buyer, write backup offers. If you are serious about the property, don’t be shy about triggering the 72-hour clause.

Get your elbows up, get in the game and make it happen.

Jean-Guy Turcotte is a mortgage broker with Dominion Lending Centres – Regional Mortgage Group in Red Deer.