Can a buyer extend a conditional contract at their discretion?

This is a question I’ve often been asked by buyers and sellers. Situations do vary but in order to even contemplate being able to do this there must be agreement by the seller. Subject clauses will have deadlines (the date by which they must be removed by the buyer or seller – most often the buyer who is making the offer).  If the seller will not agree to extending the subject removal deadlines, then no amendment to the contact of purchase and sale will be possible and the offer will likely collapse.

Here are a few scenarios where the seller would be wise to agree to extend the subject removal deadlines:

1. When a buyer needs a little more time to secure financing and has shown good faith so far in their due diligence process.
2. When a buyer had an unforeseen emergency and has not been able to perform all the due diligence necessary by the original deadline.
3. When the market is softer and buyers are harder to find.

I would not recommend allowing a buyer to extend deadlines when they need more time simply because they have been lax in doing their due diligence such as: having a home inspection done, going through strata documents, etc. After all, time is of the essence in real estate.

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