Two people smile in front of a sold sign. One is holding a set of house keys.
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Some Good News for New Year Homebuyers

But there are still better options we're not using

Buyers will have more time to breathe before locking in

Big life decisions are best not made under pressure.

Except our steam cooker of a housing market is not making it easy for folks to follow this advice.

But a new policy hopes to give folks brave enough to put down an offer enough wiggle room to breathe.

Today, BC has just put in a “rescission period” to give buyers a chance to pull back their cards if they lay them out too quickly.

Natalie Holgerson is just one British Columbian who knows the struggle of having to make an offer blindly.

She has been going to open houses on weekends and having to put in offers by Monday to beat out other buyers. That leaves her with no time to get the place properly looked over.

“You cannot have any subjects because you know your offer won’t even be considered if you do have subjects,” she told CBC

Now, if you make a quick offer on a house, you’ll have three business days afterwards to sit on it—and withdraw your offer if it turns out that it wasn’t quite what you were looking for.

The new “cooling-off” period will help protect people from high-pressure situations.

“Lack of time for buyers to complete due diligence can exacerbate risk or be used to hide property defects that otherwise may have been discovered,” Leo Spalteholz, a Victoria-based housing analyst, said in a news release.

However, to also protect sellers from frivolous offers, pulling out will still come with a price.

If you put down a $1,000,000 dollar offer on a place and then change your mind, you’ll still owe the seller $2,500 for the hassle.

No biggie, right?

It gives buyers at least a little space, sure. But it doesn’t address other solutions to the housing crisis.

And it’s not even close to meeting the 34 recommendations that the British Columbia Real Estate Association (BCREA) released last March. The recommendations aimed to improve the province’s spicy hot housing market.

Trevor Koot is the CEO of the BCREA. He told CBC that although a cool-off period helps a bit, it’s still a lot more complicated than putting in a “pre-offer period.”

A pre-offer period would make sellers wait a set amount of time after listing their property before accepting offers.

It would give buyers a chance to have properties looked over without having to rush to lay down the cash.

“Why don’t we just let property come on the market and force sellers to wait five or seven days or two weeks to look at offers?” he said.

Two weeks to make a solid offer might take the pressure off both buyers and sellers.

And ward off a small mountain of unnecessary paperwork.