The time has come, you’ve seen a handful of homes and are ready to put in an offer. The offer process can be intimidating, especially for first time buyers. A typical agreement of purchase and sale (APS) is 8 pages at minimum and is filled with terms and phases that you may not be familiar with. Here are some of the most common terms in an offer that we often get asked to explain further.

Irrevocable Date

Is a date and time up to which the offer is irrevocable. This means that the party offering cannot revoke their offer before the specified date and time. The irrevocable clause usually states that when the time and the date passes the offer becomes null and void. In real estate an offer is usually irrevocable by the last party to ‘touch’ the offer – which can be the buyer or the seller in the case of a counter offer.


A deposit is essentially an act of good faith on behalf of a buyer to a seller. It provides security to the seller in that once the buyer has paid the deposit they will have a financial stake in the agreement. The deposit forms part of the agreement and is applied against the buyer’s down payment at closing. The amount of a deposit can vary between transactions and can be presented, upon acceptance, here with or on terms otherwise stated in the agreement. A deal is not firm and binding without a deposit cheque, so this is an integral part of the negotiation process.


Any object that is physically and permanently attached, or fastened, to the property. Fixtures are to remain with the home once it is sold, unless you’ve stipulated otherwise in the contract. Items you wish to take with you, that would be considered a fixture, should be noted in the exclusion section of an agreement or purchase and sale. Often times it is recommended to remove or replace any fixtures of interest prior to listing your home for sale, to avoid confusion.

  • We use the analogy of – If you turn your house upside down anything that remains on the wall is a fixture.


A chattel is a moveable possession and not considered a fixture. Chattels are normally deemed to be excluded from the purchase price, unless they are specifically noted in the agreement of purchase and sale (APS). Common examples of chattels include; appliances, furniture etc.

Title Search

A title search ensures that the seller has the legal right to sell the property, and that there are no other encumbrances (such as liens, mortgages etc.) or property line issues that could prevent the buyer from taking full possession. A date is specified in the APS outlining when the title search must take place, and is ALWAYS before the closing date. This allows time for remediation if neccessary. The title search is completed by your real estate lawyer.