When you decide to buy a property, your REALTOR® will prepare what is known as an Offer to Purchase. The standard form used for this is called the Contract of Purchase and Sale. Once accepted by the parties it becomes the contract between the buyer and seller.

It’s important to note that while any verbal communication about offers, counter-offers and acceptance of offers can be useful to the parties, in BC, a contract dealing with land isn't enforceable against the parties unless it has been made in writing and properly signed by all parties to the contract. If you don't have a written contract agreed to by all the parties, then you don't have an enforceable real estate contract.

Description of an Offer to Purchase

An offer to purchase contains:

  • date of your offer
  • description of the property you're making the offer on
  • amount of your deposit
  • amount you're offering (based on data provided by your Realtor)
  • amount you intend as your down payment and financing details
  • your name and address and the name and address of the owner of the property you want to buy
  • subject-to clauses
  • closing dates
  • special requirements you want to impose on sellers, for example, you want the the kitchen appliances

If you're buying

If your Realtor is your agent, they can advise you every step of the way when you make an Offer to Purchase. If your Realtor isn't giving you agency representation they can't give you advice nor reveal confidential information about any clients they might have. But they can, for example, explain the standard forms you'll be asked to sign.

Once your offer has been prepared and you've signed it, it'll be presented to the seller without delay through the seller’s Realtor (unless otherwise instructed by the seller).

Buyers’ Realtors have a right to be present when their buyers’ offers are presented to sellers unless the seller has given their Realtor written instructions to the contrary.

Buyers who are involved in a multiple offer presentation should consider making their best offer the first time to encourage the seller to deal with their offer instead of another buyer’s offer.

Remember: even though a Realtor drafts the buyer’s offer, they're not a party to that contract. Realtors can't force their clients to fulfil contractual terms or to deal with your offer.

If you're selling

Sellers’ Realtors are obligated to advise buyers’ Realtors in advance if more than one offer is to be presented unless they have received written instructions from the seller to do otherwise. If more than one offer is being presented, the offers are presented to the seller in the order in which they were received. Buyers’ Realtors may only be present when their own buyer’s offer is presented to the seller.

Once all the offers have been presented, the seller’s Realtor and the seller consult in private and decide how they'll deal with the offer(s).

  • Sellers are entitled to deal with offers as they choose. Sellers don't have to accept an offer even if it's for the full asking price. Sellers are not obligated to counter an offer or otherwise respond to an offer, although most do.
  • In multiple offer presentations, the seller can accept or counter any offer of their choosing, and isn't bound to deal with the highest or first offer.
  • Sellers’ Realtors are obligated to advise buyers’ Realtors of the seller’s decision in writing, if they're asked to. Seller’s Realtors aren't obligated to disclose any information about other buyers’ offers nor the seller’s reasons for dealing with a particular offer.
  • As agents for their clients, both sellers’ and buyers’ Realtors won't reveal confidential information about their clients.


If the buyer or seller doesn't fulfil the commitments they've made in the contract, the injured party may have legal recourse and should seek the advice of a lawyer.

For more info

Contact the BC Financial Services Authority at www.bcfsa.ca or info@bcfsa.ca.