Understanding Bully Offers: Key Insights for Buyers and Sellers in Canada

Understanding Bully Offers

In Canada’s ever-changing real estate market, bully offers are becoming increasingly common, especially in highly competitive areas. For both buyers and sellers, understanding bully offers and knowing how to navigate them can mean the difference between a successful transaction and a missed opportunity. This guide aims to provide a comprehensive overview of bully offers and their role in Canadian real estate transactions.

What is a Bully Offer?

A bully offer, also known as a pre-emptive offer, is an offer submitted by a buyer before the seller’s specified offer presentation date. This tactic is often used in hot seller’s markets where there are more buyers than properties available. By submitting a bully offer, a buyer hopes to pressure the seller into accepting their offer quickly, without waiting for competing offers to come in.

Due to the current lack of inventory, Brampton buyers are snapping up properties quickly, and sellers can choose to use Form 244 to control the presentation of offers.

Understanding Form 244

The Role of Form 244: Form 244 is a document that provides “Special Instructions” to your agent, potentially indicating that you don’t want any offers conveyed before the designated presentation date, typically 1-2 weeks after the original listing.

You can identify if a seller has signed Form 244 with their agent through specific phrases in the listing, such as “No conveyances before X date.” The wording is essential when drafting a Form 244, and a competent agent will ensure everything is clearly explained.

Source: OREA Form 244

Functioning of Form 244:

As a seller, you may choose to sign Form 244 when multiple offers are anticipated. This allows you to resist the temptation of accepting a bully offer and instead review all offers simultaneously, possibly leading to a higher price. Agents must present any offer they receive within a strict timeframe unless you sign a Form 244.

The Process of a Bully Offer

When a buyer submits a bully offer, the seller has three options: they can accept the offer, negotiate the terms, or refuse to deal with the offer altogether. It’s essential for sellers to consider various factors before deciding how to respond to a bully offer, including the property’s market value, the strength of the offer, and the level of buyer interest.

For buyers interested in making a bully offer, it’s essential to prepare a strong and competitive offer that will be difficult for the seller to refuse. This may involve offering a price above the asking price and minimizing or eliminating conditions on the sale. Buyers should also be aware that they are disregarding the seller’s instructions on holding offers and should ensure their offer is presented to the seller by requesting a signed copy of Form 801.

When to Make a Bully Offer as a Buyer

Navigating Brampton’s competitive market is challenging for buyers. With the guidance of a real estate broker, making a bully offer can be a strategic move when you find a home you adore and don’t want to lose. Your real estate agent can provide crucial support by:

  1. Sharing information on new listings, allowing you to act quickly when an interesting property becomes available.
  2. Advising on the type of bully offer most likely to succeed, ensuring you’re pre-qualified for financing, and helping you determine the exact terms and ideal price for your offer.

When to Accept a Bully Offer as a Seller

Although it’s generally best to wait for the offer date, you might consider accepting a bully offer if you’re not keen on multiple open houses and the offer process, or if the bully offer is exceptional and meets your requirements. Always review the terms of a bully offer with your broker before accepting.

The Necessity of a Real Estate Agent

Attempting to sell your home privately in Ottawa is ill-advised. While the internet can provide a good sense of a home’s value, your agent’s true value lies in negotiating the final accepted price. Experienced brokers in the Ottawa market are well-acquainted and have insight into the opposing party’s negotiating strategies.

Factors to Consider Before Accepting a Bully Offer

Sellers should keep several factors in mind before accepting a bully offer. First, it’s crucial to have a clear understanding of the property’s market value. This can help sellers determine if the bully offer is worth considering or if they should wait for other offers. Additionally, sellers should evaluate the strength of the offer, including the proposed price and any conditions on the sale. Lastly, they should consider the level of buyer interest in the property, as a high level of interest might indicate that waiting for additional offers could result in a more favorable outcome.

Ethical Considerations in Bully Offers

Although bully offers are not illegal, real estate agents must adhere to a code of ethics that requires them to act in their clients’ best interests. Unfortunately, some agents may engage in unethical behavior, such as attempting to “double-end” the sale by representing both the buyer and the seller. Both buyers and sellers should be aware of potential ethical issues and communicate openly with their agents to ensure a fair and transparent process.

Tips for Buyers and Sellers Dealing with Bully Offers

To navigate bully offers successfully, both buyers and sellers should understand the market value of the property in question and consider the strength of the offer. Open communication between all parties, including real estate agents and other interested buyers, is essential to ensure a smooth and fair transaction.


Bully offers are a reality in the Canadian real estate market, particularly in highly competitive areas. By understanding how they work and considering the factors that influence their success, both buyers and sellers can make informed decisions that will lead to successful real estate transactions.

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