APS: Everything You Need to Know (Agreements of Purchase and Sale)

As if buying or selling a home in Ontario isn’t complicated enough, now your lawyer wants any agreements of purchase and sale you signed. That’s right — the APS, offer to purchase, sales contract, new home construction contract, whatever it’s called.

What is that anyway, and where can I get a sales and purchase agreement (or, as it’s more commonly known, agreement of purchase and sale)?

Finishing an agreement for house selling and giving it up to the new owner

What Are Agreements of Purchase and Sale?

Agreements of purchase and sale are written contracts between real estate buyers and sellers. The “bones” of the APS is your offer to purchase a home, land, or other real property. Your offer includes the price you agree to pay, if the contract’s terms and conditions are met.

That seems pretty straightforward. 

So what is the purpose of a purchase agreement

Simply put, to make a legally enforceable offer in writing. Agreements of purchase and sale are irrevocable until their expiry date. That can be anywhere from a few hours to a few days. 

Sellers who accept agreements of purchase and sale are legally bound to carry through. Unless you mutually consent, the contract can’t be changed without an amendment to the agreement of purchase and sale. And, it can’t be cancelled or revoked without:

  • potentially losing the good faith deposit, usually 5% to 10% of the purchase price
  • being liable for expenses like moving, storage, or relisting the property
  • and possibly being assessed a financial and legal penalty.

Read Consequences of Breaching Agreement of Purchase and Sale.  


Writing Binding Agreements of Purchase and Sale  

How to write an agreement of purchase and sale that stands up in court? Now that’s a good question.

The quickest way to write agreements of purchase and sale is to  use the standard form provided by the Ontario Real Estate Association (OREA). Your realtor can complete it. Bring the draft or signed copy to Axess Law’s real estate lawyers to review. Our experienced real estate lawyers will review the terms and conditions that are advantageous to you, and advise if we spot any problems with it.  

If we do, your Axess Law lawyer will negotiate with the other party’s lawyer to amend it.

Who pays assignment fees? Buying a new home on assignment.


What’s Included in the Agreement of Purchase and Sale?

Agreements of purchase and sale include:

  1. Legal names of the buyers and sellers.
  2. Legal property description — for condos that includes the condominium corporation’s details, condo fees, and parking spots or lockers. 
  3. Purchase price.
  4. Deposit amount and terms. 
  5. Requisition date — the last date the buyer can search titles to the property to check for things like construction liens, financial or other encumbrances, or work orders.
  6. Completion date — the day title to the property transfers from seller to buyer.
  7. Closing arrangements. 
  8. Fixtures and chattels that are included or excluded.
  9. Conditions the sale is subject to such as:
  • a professional home inspection
  • verification the seller is the legal and registered property owner
  • a property survey
  • for condos, a status certificate from the condominium corporation.

Find a real estate lawyer (Ontario). 

Finding a real estate with the agent and looking at it altogether

Buying Property With an APS in Ontario

Here’s the bottom line on agreements of purchase and sale, and why it’s so important to get yours right.

Buying a home is the greatest financial investment many singles and couples ever make. Yet, buyers and sellers often sign agreements of purchase and sale without thinking about what could happen if the sale is cancelled, or they miss a deadline. 

Documents to bring to your legal appointment. 

Having a well written, legally binding APS keeps both parties on the same page around deadlines, dates, and expectations. You need to do these three things before you finalize any real estate transaction:

  1. Get offers in writing. 
  2. Investigate before you buy.
  3. Get title insurance to protect yourself from mortgage fraud or property title errors.

Why You Need a Real Estate Lawyer

Axess Law simplifies buying  your first  or next home. Our licensed real estate lawyers walk you through the legal documents needed to close a real estate transaction in Ontario.

We go through your draft or signed agreement of purchase and sale for terms and conditions you may have missed. Our skilled legal team connects with your realtor, bank, credit union, trust company, or private lender to obtain the documents required to complete your sale on time.

Negotiate to amend terms in your agreement of purchase and sale. 

Mortgage financing can take longer than you anticipated. Axess Law negotiates  amendments to agreements of purchase and sale so you don’t have to worry about completion date deadlines closing in on you.

When your loan is in place, we discharge existing mortgages and witness your signature on your lender’s new loan documents. Your Axess Law real estate lawyer arranges the property title transfer to ensure you have clean title to your new home. We take care of adding names to house title (Ontario only) if you have co-signers or want to share a mortgage. 

Why title insurance costs are worth it. 

Affordable Real Estate Lawyers, Anywhere You Are 

Access lawyers for less in Greater Toronto Area, Ottawa, or anywhere in Ontario  when you buy, sell, or transfer property. Axess Law’s flat fee real estate lawyers are affordable, and our rates are all inclusive (excluding taxes, disbursements, and third-party charges). Axess Law offers you only the legal services you absolutely need. Your final invoice includes no surprises or hidden charges. Your itemized statement of adjustments is explained when we deliver it, and we answer any questions you have about it. 

Save Time With a Virtual Real Estate Lawyer 

You don’t have to leave the comfort of your home to get great legal services. Axess Law’s virtual real estate lawyers meet with you in the convenience of your home or office, by remote online videoconferencing. Make day or evening appointments that fit your schedule. Sign real estate documents online. We witness your signature remotely, and send you an email with a copy of your virtually executed documents for your records. Alternatively, drop into any Axess Law location to finalize real estate transactions. 

Talking to phone or through virtual platforms

Make Legal Appointments by Phone or Online 

Make your own legal appointments with our handy online booking form https://axesslaw.com/. It’s easy to use. You select your own meeting dates and times, and we contact you at the time you confirm. 

For assistance finding a real estate lawyer at any of our Greater Toronto Area or Ottawa locations, call our 647-479-0118 lawyer line. Toll free calls are accepted at 1-877-402-4207. You can park onsite, or take the TTC to major transit stops nearby.

We video conference with you if you live outside the GTA or Ottawa. Call us or use the online booking form to make appointments 7 days a week.