Understanding conditional clauses in real estate offers

Purchasing a property is a significant decision, often involving large sums of money and long-term commitments. To safeguard their interests, buyers frequently include conditional clauses in their offers. One of the most common conditions relates to obtaining financing or a mortgage.

The Basics of Conditional Clauses

When a conditional clause regarding obtaining a loan is included in the purchase offer, it typically states that the condition is deemed met unless the buyer provides a certificate from one or multiple banks indicating their inability to secure a loan. If the buyer fails to provide this bank certification, the purchase becomes binding—even if they can’t obtain the necessary financing.

What’s the Maximum Timeframe?

Sellers naturally want clarity as soon as possible regarding the sale’s status. They often push for the shortest possible timeframe for the buyer to fulfill or waive conditions. In practice, this period usually ranges from two to three weeks. However, as a buyer, it’s in your best interest to have as much time as possible. Aim for a one-month period if you can negotiate it.

What If the Timeframe Isn’t Enough?

There are instances where the stipulated timeframe might prove insufficient. Maybe you couldn’t visit the bank in time, or perhaps the bank is taking longer than expected to process your loan application. In such cases, you can approach the seller and request an extension for the conditional period. If they decline, it’s crucial to press your bank for a swift decision.

However, if you genuinely find the timeframe unreasonable and couldn’t get a bank decision within that period, you might consider legal recourse. Arguing in court that the given period was "unreasonable" is an option. But be cautious: judges might not always be sympathetic to this argument.

Protecting Your Interests

Including a conditional clause in your real estate offer is a strategic move. It offers a safety net, ensuring you’re not bound to a purchase you can’t finance. While it’s essential to negotiate a reasonable timeframe for these conditions, it’s equally crucial to act promptly. Engage with your bank early, understand their requirements, and ensure you’re in a position to make a confident decision about your property purchase.

Seeking Expert Advice

If you’re unsure about the intricacies of conditional clauses or need assistance navigating the real estate buying process, consider seeking expert advice. Real estate agents, brokers, and legal professionals can provide valuable insights, ensuring your property buying journey is smooth and hassle-free.


Real estate transactions can be complex, with various factors to consider. Conditional clauses offer a layer of protection, ensuring buyers aren’t trapped in deals they can’t fulfill. By understanding the importance of these clauses and the associated timeframes, buyers can make informed decisions, ensuring their property dreams become a reality.