The main steps of buying a house

Dream of owning your own home? Need space for your growing family? There are many steps involved in getting you from where you are to owning your new home: the search for a property that meets your needs and requirements, visits, negotiations, the pre-purchase inspection… so many elements to consider and coordinate!

Here is a list of the main steps involved in a real estate purchase.

Sign a brokerage contract to purchase or not?

Did you know that if you choose to enlist the services of a broker to represent you during the purchase of your home, you will not only benefit from the expertise of a qualified professional who is supervised by the OACIQ, but also from all the protections offered by the Real Estate Brokerage Act?

Duties and obligations of the real estate broker

The Real Estate Brokerage Act clearly defines the broker’s duties and obligations towards you. For example:

  • The broker is bound by a strict duty of loyalty to his client. He must promote his interests and protect his rights.
  • He must disclose certain situations without delay and in writing to all the parties to a transaction: does he have a personal interest in the property you are considering? He refers you to a specific financial institution from which he receives compensation? He must disclose this to you in writing.
  • The broker also has a duty to advise and inform his clients and all the parties to a transaction objectively, and must provide them with all the explanations they need to fully understand and appreciate the services he is providing. This means your broker has a duty to explain to you all the clauses of the forms he is asking you to sign.
  • A broker has an obligation to inform all the parties to a transaction of any factor that could unfavourably affect the transaction.
  • The real estate broker must show the accuracy of the information provided by relevant documents and he is responsible for all the information he disseminates.
Check the Regulation respecting brokerage requirements, professional conduct of brokers and advertising for more information.


Once you have chosen a broker to guide you through the purchase of your home, you could sign a brokerage contract to purchase, which will clearly establish the terms under which your broker will act as well as your rights and obligations. It can be advantageous, especially if the property you are considering is being sold without the services of a broker.

For more details on the content of the brokerage contract - purchase, view it on the Real estate brokerage forms page.

It is possible for you to use the services of the seller’s broker, who has an obligation of loyalty towards his client: this means that this broker may not disclose confidential or strategic information concerning the seller. However, he has an obligation to treat you fairly, to inform you objectively, including by recommending the inclusion of the usual clauses regarding inspection and financing in your promise to purchase.

How to choose your home

First, consider your financial situation

It is always tempting to search the Internet, look at inspiring photos and compare prices… But the first thing you have to do is to determine how much you can invest in the purchase of a home. Refer to the Buyer’s Guide on our website to find out how to calculate and estimate everything.

Define your needs

List your priorities and your must-haves for your future home. City or suburb? Single-family or income property? Do you need a yard, or will a balcony suffice? It’s up to you!

Use the list of priorities to begin the thought process. This way you will avoid wasting time looking at properties that are too expensive or too large, or that simply do not meet your requirements.

Organize your search and take notes on each visit

This is probably the longest step, but it is also the most important.

During visits, review your list of priorities and note the features of the home and the impression you get as you go along.

To help jog your memory, use the documents your broker gave you prior to the visit, i.e. the detailed description sheet and the Declarations by the seller of the immovable form. Afterwards, take the time to think back and compare your notes, as all this information could play a key role in your decision, especially if you are hesitating between two properties.

Asking price vs. actual value

If you are interested in a property and can afford the asking price, it is important to find out what its true market value is in order to offer a price that will be attractive to the seller while being in line with the property’s estimated value.

Your broker has the required skills to assess the market value of a property, he can advise you in this regard. He will identify factors that can increase or decrease the selling price of a property, such as year of construction, condition, landscaping, etc.

Ready to make an offer?

You have found your ideal home? You are now ready to make an offer! Your broker will draft your offer using a mandatory promise to purchase form, developed by the OACIQ to ensure your protection. The promise to purchase serves to inform the seller that you wish to buy his property. If he accepts, he undertakes to sell it to you.

Your broker will review with you the content of your promise to purchase. The promise to purchase must indicate, among other things:

  • The price you are offering to the seller for his property;
  • The deadline by which you will have the property inspected prior to purchase;
  • The inclusions and exclusions, i.e. the items you wish to see included in or excluded from the purchase (such as an above-ground pool or a dishwasher);
  • The date and time by which the seller must accept your promise to purchase (after which it becomes null and void).

Dealing with counter-proposals

Of course what you would like is for the seller to simply accept your promise to purchase as presented. The reality is that he may refuse it, or he may issue a counter-proposal, in which he is essentially saying that he is refusing your promise to purchase, but is making a new proposal that would be acceptable to him, for example by asking for a higher price. You can then accept it or refuse it.

In response to this counter-proposal, your broker can help you draft your own counter-proposal using the mandatory form to this effect. A counter-proposal has the effect of cancelling all previous counter-proposals made by either the buyer or the seller. The agreement that will bind you to the seller consists in the promise to purchase as amended by the last counter-proposal only, without regard to any previous counter-proposals.

Here are the keys to your new home!

Once the promise to purchase or the counter-proposal has been accepted and all the conditions have been fulfilled, the next step is to make the transaction official by signing the deed of sale before a notary.

You want more information on the purchase process of a home with a real estate broker? The OACIQ designed for you the Buyer’s Guide, a quick reference guide containing a wealth of useful information for your transaction.

That’s it, you are now a homeowner. Congratulations!


Last updated on: June 13, 2022
Reference number: 200022