The real estate market in Ontario, and in Canada for that matter doesn’t seem to be slowing down. The bubble has yet to burst, which means that you may be next to sell or buy a property, or do both. Protecting yourself in the real estate process is crucial to ensuring that the transaction goes smoothly. What I have seen time and time again is that agreements are not cut and dry; they are full of legal language that someone without experience might not understand.
An Agreement of Purchase and Sale is a written contract between a seller and a buyer for the purchase and sale of a particular piece of property. Items such as price, length of closing and conditions are all things included in the agreement. Since the agreement is legally binding, it is important to get advice before signing on the dotted line. Once signed, and the offer accepted, the agreement cannot be cancelled unless both parties agree.
There are specific items for which you should review with extra consideration:
1. Fixtures and chattels: fixtures are improvements that have been made to a property that are attached, such as cupboards or water heaters, while chattels are moveable items of personal property, such as furniture or appliances. It is crucial to get these items in writing to ensure you are protected should they be damaged or removed upon closing.
2. Title and other searches, closing arrangements, and completion date: performing a title search will ensure that there are no problems or liens with the property. Closing arrangements should also be clearly outlined, as this is the date the seller must give vacant possession of the property to the purchaser.
3. Conditions: these include items such as financing or inspection. Conditions are crucial to protecting the purchaser to ensure that if something specific, such as financing, cannot be obtained; they are not on the hook for the full purchase price. On the seller side, usually the lower the number of conditions, the more appealing an offer is.
It is always better to err on the side of caution, and have a lawyer review any paperwork for the purchase and sale of a property before making the agreement legal. Ensuring your rights are protected is what we guarantee at Mazzeo Law. Whether you are buying resale, or from a builder, you don’t want any surprises after you have already put through the agreement. As always, consultations with us are free, so give us a call to set up a meeting.
This article originally appeared on Mazzeo Law, a client of Karrots Inc.