March 20, 2023

Use a Counter-Proposal to Negotiate the Sale of Your House

You’re almost at the finish line… you’ve organized an open house and had numerous showings, and now, your real estate broker has finally presented you with a promise to purchase! However, you may not be completely satisfied with the offer. What should you do? You have three choices: you can make some compromises and accept the offer as presented, you can reject it, or you can draw up a counter-proposal with revised terms and conditions.

In this article, we discuss how to negotiate the sale of your house using the form Counter-Proposal to a Promise to Purchase provided by the Organisme d’autoréglementation du courtage immobilier du Québec (OACIQ), thus bringing your project to a successful conclusion with the best possible terms and conditions.

1. What is a Counter-Proposal to a Promise to Purchase?

The Counter-Proposal to a Promise to Purchase – also called a counter-offer – is a form that can be used after receiving a Promise to Purchase to negotiate the buyer’s conditions. The seller uses this form to signal that they refuse the offer as presented, but would reconsider if certain terms and conditions were changed.

These changes could concern:[1]

Once the form is completed, your real estate broker will present its contents to the buyer’s broker. The potential buyer then has the choice of accepting your counter-proposal, declining it, or submitting another counter-proposal with modified conditions.

The agreement that officially binds the seller and buyer to the sale consists of the promise to purchase as presented in the last counter-proposal, without regard to any previous counter-proposal. In other words, a counter-proposal always has the effect of cancelling all previous counter-proposals made by either the buyer or the seller.[2]

Finally, be aware that a seller cannot present a counter-offer to more than one prospective buyer at the same time since an accepted proposal is a legally binding agreement.[3]

2. What should be included in a counter-proposal?

To avoid any ambiguity, a counter-proposal must include certain elements, such as:[4]

  • identification of the parties involved in the real estate transaction
  • changes to the selling price
  • changes to the occupancy date
  • all amendments
  • the deadline for acceptance

In the event that several counter-proposals are submitted, each of them must contain all of the aforementioned elements.

3. Are there deadlines to meet?

A counter-proposal must include a clause specifying the deadline (date and time) by which the other party must accept, as is the case for the promise to purchase. If this deadline is not respected, the counter-proposal becomes null and void.

Do you want to opt out? The only time a party can withdraw their offer is between the time they sign the form and the time it reaches the seller. In this case, a notice of revocation must be sent before the counter-proposal is presented, which will have the effect of cancelling it.[5]

Selling or buying a property is a complex process. This is all the more true when it comes time to sit at the negotiation table! You can count on the expertise of a real estate broker for a more comfortable and successful experience. Thanks to their in-depth knowledge and access to a vast network of professionals, they will expertly guide you through each step of the transaction.


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