Can A Buyer Withdraw Their Offer? When & How?

Whether a buyer can withdraw their offer depends on whether or not the seller has already communicated acceptance back to the buyer.

Lubos K.  Pesta, Q.C., a Calgary real estate lawyer with Walsh LLP, writes:

There is no standard “withdrawal of offer” form. If 13.2 is properly completed with a deadline then the offer automatically expires on its own terms when the deadline is reached with no communication of acceptance.

In the extremely rare instance where you would need to withdraw an offer where 13.2 is properly filled in a notice of withdrawal advising the seller that the offer is withdrawn can be written, dated and signed on any piece of paper.

The withdrawal notice then needs to be communicated to the seller in the same or better manner than in which the offer was communicated.

The withdrawal will only be effective if it is properly communicated prior to any acceptance being communicated back to the buyer.

CREB also notes that “it is crucial to any real estate transaction that Section 12 of the purchase contract is filled out in its entirety.  This section provides for the legal method of notice of all documents to each party involved in the transaction.”

I remember one transaction from a few years back where my clients (that I had just recently met) wrote an offer.  The seller countered, however I was not able to contact my clients with the counteroffer – their phone went straight to voicemail.

At exactly 9:00pm (the time of the offer expiry) my clients called and told me they had decided against pursuing the property for a particular reason.   I explained that we could have withdrawn the offer before the expiry since the seller had not accepted (Thank goodness!)

Once they understood that I was working for them and their best interests, I could sense they became more relaxed. It wasn’t too much longer before we found the perfect home and knowing they had me in their corner, wrote an offer with full confidence.

Relevant portions of the Purchase Contract

Relevant excerpts from the Purchase Contract

The comments expressed in this article are for information purposes only and serve to highlight general principles. Each situation is different and you should seek legal counsel before pursuing any particular course of action. These articles do not create a client/lawyer relationship and do not constitute legal advice.

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