The 4 Key Dates Every Real Estate Buyer Should Know

A real estate transaction constitutes a litany of various processes, often determined by hard-and-fast dates established in the buyer-seller agreement. If you’re a first-time buyer (or even a seasoned real estate buyer), these processes can feel overwhelming – an overlapping timeline of serious deadlines with serious repercussions.

This article aims to simplify things by highlighting a few key dates to keep in mind.

Notice that we said “simplify”; the article that follows is a cursory guide meant to give buyers a general shape or outline of the road ahead. It shouldn’t be viewed as comprehensive or as a replacement for professional real estate counsel. Once you’ve skimmed the important dates below, find more granular guidance throughout the purchasing process by teaming with an experienced realtor.

With that said, let’s dive in – here are four key dates every real estate buyer should know.

Offer Acceptance

Offer acceptance is the date when a seller accepts your submitted offer for purchase. This is an important date because it sets the legal language for the process ahead. Here, the buyer and seller agree on price, conditions, and other stipulations and fix them into an agreement – with the help of the listing and seller’s agents, of course.

This process is preceded by the “Irrevocable date,” when you, as a buyer, submit your offer and cannot retract it.

Conditions Period/Subject Removal Date

If you, like most buyers, have included subjects/conditions in your agreement, you will be given a timeframe to satisfy and remove those conditions. This timeframe varies from contract to contract, so it’s wise to speak to your realtor about what’s reasonable in your given market.

These conditions often include home inspection and financing, in which case you will need to conduct a satisfactory home inspection and gain mortgage approval from a lender. These conditions may also include a subject to appraisal (in place of a financing subject), subject to a lawyer’s assessment of strata documents, and various other uncommon conditions.


Skipping along (and, admittedly, breezing past some other important dates), we reach the closing date. This is perhaps the most symbolically significant date to a buyer as it represents the end of your long road toward ownership.


On the closing date, your funds are transferred from the third-party trust to the seller, indicating a transfer in ownership. You’ll also sign the necessary paperwork you need to make this home yours, like the mortgage agreement, property tax forms, and title transfer.

Possession Date

At long last, you are the title holder of a brand-new home. And if you haven’t popped the champagne cork yet, the possession date is the day to do it. This is the day when you get “keys in hand” and can finally start moving your belongings into the place. It’s your home now, and you can come and go freely.


Often, the possession date follows closely behind the closing date (sometimes the next afternoon). But in some special cases, the possession date is set weeks – even months – after closing.

As mentioned, a real estate transaction is a touch more complex than these four dates indicate. Still, hopefully, this article has given first-time buyers a strong sense of what they can expect in the months ahead.

My Interior Palace