Are Subject-Free Offers too Risky?

As the Kelowna housing market grows steadily more competitive, buyers are keen to find ways to increase the odds of their offer being accepted. One way to do so is to make a subject-free offer, or a bid that has no conditions once it is accepted by the seller. While this may seem like an easy way to improve your offer’s legitimacy, we will caution you to reconsider whether the risks are manageable since they so rarely are.

A subject free offer implies that the buyer is certain of their offer and has no other considerations to make—they have done their research and due diligence, so they no longer need to stipulate any conditions in their offer to purchase a property. In a perfect world a subject free offer makes sense since it assures the buyer that the offer will not fall through. Unfortunately, between an offer being accepted and a purchase being made, issues may come to light that would (and should) dissuade the buyer from following through.

What makes a subject-free offer risky?

In a hot real estate market like the Okanagan or the Greater Vancouver Area, the number of potential buyers on a single property can be substantial. In this case, it is a seller’s market since the seller has the freedom to choose between competing offers on their property. This puts the onus on buyers to make their offer as appealing as possible.

However, a subject-free offer may not be the best idea. There are several situations where a subject-free offer would put a buyer into a difficult financial position.

  • The buyer is unable to secure mortgage insurance on their purchase, but they do not find out until after the offer is accepted
  • Although the home seemed to be in perfect condition, it is later discovered that it has serious issues that affect property value
    • This may include new developments coming to the area that reduce sight lines, faults in the maintenance of the home, or drug-related offences committed on the property
  • For condos, the strata may be poorly managed and so lenders may not provide financial assistance
  • There may be issues in obtaining the funds to cover the down payment on the home

In any of these situations, a subject-free offer would leave the buyer with little recourse to back out of the deal. As you can see, the risks inherent to these types of offers are often unpredictable.


  • Date: March 13, 2021
  • Property: 4757 Westridge Drive, Kelowna
  • List Price: $969,900
  • Sold Price: $1,209,000
  • BC Assessed Value: $766,000
  • Days on Market: 2!
Kelowna home that fell through on a subject-free offer

So what happened?

This is a real life example that happened on March 13, 2021. We were working with a family moving from Vancouver. They had already sold their house and were on the hunt for their next family home in beautiful Kelowna. This was their favourite home because of the large back yard, swimming pool and location.

We scheduled a 30 min block to view the home and had to wait outside because there were two other agents + groups ahead of us and two behind us. As soon as we finished we decided to go write up the offer; a super strong, subject-free offer with the Seller’s dates.

The Listing Agent let us know that they were receiving 8 other offers on top of ours, so we went in $235,000 OVER ASKING price. To our shock, we were not the highest offer and the property ended up selling for $239,100 over ask.

Take a close look at those numbers, that is only a $4,100 difference 🙁 It’s an emotionally exhausting market out there for buyers, however sometimes things don’t work out to plan. The most important thing to remember is to work with professionals to ensure you are avoiding the risks that are inherent to subject free offers like this one.

When is it a good idea to make a subject-free offer?

Although there are many considerations in the purchase of a home, it is possible to have your research done upfront. If that’s the case, and your financial situation will not be affected by factors outside your control, then a subject-free offer may entice buyers enough to accept it quickly.

It is easy to become attached to a property in your real estate search and be willing to drop all conditions to get it. While that will definitely make your offer appealing, we strongly urge you to instead take the safer approach of keeping certain subjects intact. Subjects in real estate are conditions that must be met for an offer to be finalized.

Common subject clauses on real estate offers include:

  • Subject to financing This ensures that your offer is conditional on financing or mortgage approval
  • Subject to sale If a seller accepts an offer that is subject to sale, then they must wait for the buyer’s property to sell for the sale to go through (usually with a 72-hour “escape” clause)
  • Subject to home inspection Though you may feel confident in your first walk through of the home, this condition will ensure that you can have a qualified home inspection done prior to the final purchase
  • Subject to property disclosure Reviewing the history of the home is an essential step in the home buying process, ensuring that there are no prior issues with the home, its previous owner’s activities, or zoning issues
  • Subject to strata Prior to the purchase of a condo, taking the time to obtain and review meeting minutes from their board will prevent you from entering a situation where the strata’s practices or policies cause the property to be undesirable

This is just a short list of the most common subject clauses that may help you to see why a subject-free offer is generally inadvisable.

How do you safely make a subject-free offer?

If you are fully confident in your financial situation and are able to cover your down payment, then you may wish to consider making a subject-free offer on a property. By contacting a mortgage broker to assist in this process, you can eliminate many of the risks involved in making a subject-free offer. Further, you are likely to save money by taking advantage of the best mortgage and financing options available to you.

  • Working with a mortgage broker will ease the difficulty of obtaining and securing financial assistance for the purchase of the home. This approval will guarantee that your purchase is backed by a third-party.
  • A realtor or advisor can help you to navigate the ordering of documents to review the history of a property or the strata involved in its maintenance. These documents are absolutely essential in making an informed decision on the purchase of real estate.
    • Review the Title to the property and the owners of it to ensure all information is accurate to your offer
  • Ideally, have a home inspection performed prior to making the subject-free offer. This will reduce the risk of issues in the home increasing your annual maintenance costs or forcing renovations.
    • It may not be possible to have a home inspection done prior to the sale of the property, particularly in a competitive housing market
  • Confirm that you are able to have the property insured once purchased
  • Produce a subject-free offer alongside a professional agent

There are certain cases for making a subject-free offer. These are often cases where the buyer was able to perform all necessary checks and balances to ensure their purchase would be financially viable. Such an offer should include the due diligence, so as to show the seller and any financial lenders that the property is a safe investment.

Lastly, if a seller is encouraging subject-free offers or locking in a date to review all offers, a buyer should consider why the seller is taking such an aggressive approach. Oftentimes, these demands will reduce the number of offers made and may actually reduce the final sale price. Part of completing your due diligence should be to investigate the reasons a seller is selling in the first place.

Make sure that your offer is safe and effective – contact us to get started!

A Homebuyers’ Story

In the gloomy winter months we often find ourselves dreaming of new hopes, dreams, and resolutions.

For some of you, all three of these things might revolve around purchasing your very first home. In the hope to inspire and encourage you, here’s the story of my husband Brandon and I buying our first home.

It’s a story of two adults being hit hard by rent increases and the fast-paced real estate world in Kelowna. It’s also a story of how we happened to meet Danielle and how she fought every step of the way so we could move into our home, all while on a budget of $375k and just a little over two months to find a new place to live.

From Renters to Owners

Our house in the Mission

Our story begins seven years ago when Brandon, our friend, and I began to rent a 3-bedroom suite in a house in the Mission for $1200/month. We paid this amount for five years, until our rent was bumped up by $100. By the beginning of 2017, our landlord shared her plans to renovate the place and begin leasing it for $1700/month; couple weeks later we got a notice that our rent would go up another $200.

Brandon and I then first seriously spoke about buying a house. We had enough for a down payment and our credit was good. We put our numbers together and realized that for a bit over $1500/month we could, and should, afford to own a house.

This is where Danielle came into the picture. We had met a couple months earlier through Grindstone Award Foundation and I asked if she could be our realtor. As per Danielle’s recommendation, we got a mortgage through a broker, got a great interest rate, and got in touch with a lawyer.

Then the search began.

What Can 375k Get You in Kelowna?

We brought a Kelowna map to our house-hunting. No cell phones needed

Our first limit—finding a house under $400k, all while having grand expectations of what our first home should be like. Even though Danielle explained what our budget will give us in Kelowna, it took us about a week of looking at listings and crunching numbers to realize she actually does know what she’s talking about.

Owning our own single-family home was soon a dream Brandon and I decided to leave for the future. It was townhouses and duplexes that didn’t require any major renovations for at least the first few years.

So, what’s out there in Kelowna?

Lots, as we soon discovered, until you see how many properties are run down by careless renters and owners, and how many are court sales and former grow ops.

Crunching Numbers and Running Out of Time

Brandon and I

We placed our first offer on a beautiful townhouse in Rutland, within our price range, and didn’t get it.

We placed our second offer on another townhouse, this time just off Springfield. At an offer of $381k we knew we were over our initial budget and would have to be smart with our expenses if we got the place, but we felt we had to act quickly before the end of our lease at the Mission house. Our offer got accepted.

The catcha strata fee of almost $400 a month, which bumped up our mortgage and had us apply for the First Time Home Buyers Loan. Long story short, we couldn’t get all the paperwork together on time before the closing and a few other things happened that led us to believe this was not the place for us.

We called Danielle, explained what was happening and how we felt, and asked her to withdraw our offer.

Danielle had put in a good word for Brandon and I to get our offer ahead of two other offers. For days, she had worked with us until as late as 11 PM, calling back and forth arranging legal and financial matters. For Brandon and I it felt like a defeat, but also like disrespecting all the work Danielle had put into this.  

Danielle’s reply?

She laughed and said, “This is how real estate works. It’s a game and you have to play it fast.” She then promised we would find our dream home before our lease ended.

Our New Home

We have a new home!

Brandon and I revisited all listings and found a place in Glenrosa we had previously overlooked because we thought it was too far of a drive to work, our friends, and activities we had gotten used to while living in the Mission. But we decided to give it a shot.

The place was half a duplex at the end of a cul-de-sac, $325k, just a hair over $1500/month in mortgage payments.

We got there and were blown away.

It was quiet, the air was cool and smelled of trees. The duplex had a little bit of everything we were looking for: a spacious kitchen, a deck, back yard with the potential to become a beautiful garden and a place to relax, four bedrooms, enough parking for us and people who visit.

Because the place needed a little bit of work, we placed an offer under the asking price. Danielle coordinated all the back and forth negotiations, and a few days later we signed the paperwork and became the proud owners of our first home. FIY, we got the place for $5k less and got a new water heater put in.

But this is not where the story ends, yet.

The Final Hurdle Before Moving In

On the day we got the keys, we met Danielle at our new home. When we arrived, she had an odd expression on her face. The place was a bit messy at our first viewing, so a part of our contract was to have the place professionally cleaned prior to us getting the keys. This was not done.

We were left with a pile of garbage and a quick this-will-do cleanup.

Danielle did not hesitate to put her game face on and make as many phone calls and arrangements as necessary with the seller’s realtor to get the house clean for us. Our move was delayed by a few days, but when we did finally step into our new home, it literally smelled like a fresh start and a new chapter in our lives.

Since we moved into our new home in the summer of 2017, we’ve done a lot of work both inside and outside the house. Every time we paint a wall, do yard work, or change a light bulb we feel like building our first home and we take pride in it. In the spring of 2018 we welcomed our daughter, and we couldn’t be happier to have a wonderful, quiet, and safe place for her to call home, too.

Why Share Our Story?

First, if you are looking for a home and need to get stuff done in a timely and professional manner, get a hold of Danielle.

Second, buying a house for the first time is a scary experience. To have someone experienced by your side, who is also passionate to fight for you, makes the process easier.

Third, living in Kelowna on a budget is tough but doable if you’re willing to recognize that sometimes your grand plans of a home have to start with smaller beginnings.

I hope that by sharing our story, others would be encouraged to not give up on their search.

Thank you for reading!

Thank you, Danielle, for being our realtor!

Written by Elina Briezkalne

Selling in Kelowna in the Winter!?

Unlike the common misconception that you must be crazy to think your house will sell in the winter, I’m here to tell you it can be done.

I have a huge whiteboard in my office, and when I say huge, I mean it almost covers an entire wall. During spring, summer, and fall, the board is covered in client information. I write down how many listings I’m showing my clients, which sale is about to close, and any additional notes to help me stay on track of the large amount of buying and selling. By the time it’s November, you’ll find my board covered in pie charts as I’m trying to map out a business strategy. The Okanagan is a famous summer destination and it’s true that most home sales happen during the warmer months, however people still buy in the Winter months. For the non-believers out there, here are a few things that can help land a sale in the winter.

High Motivation To Buy

There are buyers out there who either wait for the colder months in the hopes to get a better deal on a Kelowna property, or they have no choice but to buy in the winter (relocation due to work, unforeseen circumstances, or perhaps their home got sold and they’re looking to buy).

These buyers don’t care if it’s cold and gloomy outside. They’ve most likely done their homework, know what they’re looking for and are highly motivated to buy at or close to the listing price. In fact, I have a couple that just received an accepted offer on their home in Kamloops and will be coming up to Kelowna this weekend to buy. They need to find a place and move in before Jan 15th. Point and case… 

Low Inventory, but Also Less Competition

The winter housing market in Kelowna is not oversaturated with listings. Less inventory means less fighting for buyers’ attention, less window shoppers, and more serious buyers. Another gain for you are other sellers who take their homes off the market during the winter months, thinking it won’t sell.

The Right Asking Price

Less inventory means you have to be smart about the price. A bidding war to make more money from your listing sounds like the perfect scenario. This is not to say it couldn’t happen in the winter, but it’s less likely. Another real world example from 2 weeks ago; I was in a bidding war with a property that came on the market in West Kelowna. It was completely renovated, had a great detached garage in the backyard and priced to sell. By the time we showed it, the Sellers had already received another offer … however, we came in strong with a better price and terms, and won. Winter bidding war… 

So in the winter, list your property at market value. If you list too high and your home doesn’t sell, come spring you might end up listing for under market value and any bidding war would only be an attempt to sell your home for what it’s worth.

The Characteristics of Your Home

Take into consideration the characteristics of your home.

Do you have a steep driveway that can be treacherous when ice builds on it? How about old windows you’ve been wanting to replace? Perhaps your house is freezing or has condensation buildup inside?

Potential buyers are more likely to pay attention to window seals, drafts, the furnace, and ask questions about how energy efficient and well maintained your home is. Add insulation where needed and have your heating system maintained.

Worrying About Landscaping

Less landscaping in the winter allows for more time and resources to be spent staging your home.

You can still show the beauty of your home in the spring and summer by displaying photos of the garden and patio throughout the house. These photos can curb the buyers’ imagination and give them a chance to dream about being the new homeowners. Clean a pathway to the house if there’s snow, decorate the outside and add outdoor lighting, remove dirt, shovel the deck to allow the potential buyers experience what the outdoors feel like.

Showcasing the Beauty of Your Home

Winter staging brings out the beauty of your home and if your house is on the market around Christmas holidays, that’s an added bonus. Because winter festivities is a special time for most individuals and families, you can tap into the feelings of being in a warm and welcoming place that’s perfect to celebrate the season.

To counteract the dark days, brighten your home with light coloured walls, turn on all lights and open all windows.

Add a touch of soft music, but be careful with scents. Instead of lighting scented candles, bake some treats right before the showing and offer these to the potential buyers.

Make your home feel and look cozy by decluttering and adding neutral but coordinated accents (throws, pillows, stand up lamps, and so on).

An Added Bonus

If you’ve done your best to prepare your home for sale and it doesn’t sell, you are a step ahead of other sellers. You’ve have added upgrades, decluttered and painted your house, and are ready to sell in the spring or summer.

Winter can highlight the worst of your home, but an experienced realtor can help you with that. If you’re ready to sell your Kelowna home but have more questions or doubts, get in touch, I’m here to answer your questions.

“Life is short. Live somewhere awesome.” – Grundy 


Kelowna Realtor Recognized as Leader in Canadian Real Estate

Sitting alone in her home office, a space where she spends many of her waking hours, Kelowna real estate agent Danielle Grundy works by the faint glow of her favourite vintage desk lamp, the one that shines just enough light to illuminate the large but organized stack of documents spread across her desk. Combined with the bright glow of a full moon, it offers the perfect lighting to assist her in completing the last minute details of her final home sales of 2017.

It’s a late night ritual that has become common place for the Kelowna real estate agent over the past 4 years as she’s worked to become one of the top agents with Century 21 Assurance Realty.

Her success in the industry hasn’t come easy, it’s meant long hours, with most days starting at 7am and lasting into the wee hours of the night, but it’s one she wouldn’t trade for anything.

“When I started my career in real estate I had clear goals, I knew what I wanted and how I was going to accomplish it. It hasn’t been easy, but I love what I do and that passion drives me each and every day to do whatever it takes to be successful.” she says.

Her success comes as no surprise to those who know the West Kelowna native, with a familiar sentiment being “don’t get in Danielle’s way”. It’s a drive and determination that has burned deep within for as long as she can remember and it’s taken her to places she only dreamed of as a youngster. From playing University and professional hockey, to earning both an Undergraduate Degree in Psychology and Brain Sciences and a Master’s in Business Administration (MBA), she’s achieved success in every personal and professional quest she’s taken on.

“They’re numbers that have led her to the top 1% of agents within Century 21 across Canada”

How has this conviction towards success benefited the 34 year old when it comes to the world of real estate? For one, it’s driven her to become one of the top young agents in Canada, closing nearly 50 deals (that’s almost one per week) in each of the last two years. They’re numbers that have led her to the top 1% of agents within Century 21 across Canada and has earned her Centurian Status the last 3 straight years. She was also named one of the top 40 under 40 business people in Kelowna by the Chamber of Commerce in 2017. Finally it’s earned her recognition as one of the top 100 real estate agents in Canada under 35 by Real Estate Professional magazine as part of their 2017 young guns report.

As one of only 14 agents from British Columbia and 2 from Kelowna chosen as part of the yearly report, Grundy was thrilled to be recognized for her continued commitment to not only the industry, but also the great clients she has the chance to work with on a daily basis.

“The best part of my job is the feeling I get when I hand over the keys to my clients for the first time. It’s an extremely fulfilling moment knowing I’ve helped them find the perfect home that they’ll enjoy for years to come.” she says.

“If you’re willing to put in the time and effort to be successful, real estate is an amazing career”

The accomplishments of Danielle and the others on the list are impressive, especially considering a majority of agents in Canada leave the profession after only 2 years. Equally impressive is the realization that after only 4 years in the industry she’s moved more real estate than most agents will manage to move in their entire career. It all showcases what makes her a leader in helping drive the future of the real estate industry forward in Kelowna and across Canada.

“If you’re willing to put in the time and effort to be successful, real estate is an amazing career. It’s not easy, but if you give it everything you have and commit 100% of your energy towards your clients, you can be very successful and have a fulfilling career.” she says.

As she focuses on growing within the industry, Danielle is not only driven towards her own continued success but also helping create a positive movement within the industry, especially within the realm of digital media. (link to Realty Labs blog post) As a digital marketing entrepreneur she operates a website design and marketing company, Realty Labs, on-top of her successful real estate business.

“I see digital marketing as the way of the future for real estate agents. I’ve learned a lot over the past 4 years that has helped contribute to my success and I want to now pass that along to other realtors who are looking for support.” she says.

With a drive to not only achieve personal success but also help others advance within the industry, it appears there’s no stopping the 34 year-old from reaching whatever goals she sets out to achieve. At the end of the day many would say this means “don’t get in Danielle’s way”.

Written by Brendan Osborne