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Agreement of Purchase and Sale

Agreement of Purchase and Sale

Buying or selling Ontario real estate for the first time or time and time again -- get a written agreement of purchase and sale. 

When you make an offer to buy an Ontario property, your written agreement of purchase and sale is irrevocable (can't be cancelled) for up to 72 hours -- sometimes more or less, depending on the agreement. Once the seller accepts or makes a counter offer you like, it's a legal contract.

Before you have a realtor send a purchase agreement to a property seller to sign, let Axess Law's real estate lawyers protect your legal interests. Having your agreement of purchase and sale explained by our Ontario lawyers ensures you understand all the details before you make legal commitments. We simplify real estate transactions to make purchase agreements legally binding on buyer and seller. 

Who Drafts a Purchase and Sale Agreement 

Your real estate agent can write an agreement of purchase and sale for free and in minutes, while you wait. A seller you know personally or new home sales agent or developer may also write an offer -- for instance, when you attend open houses or presale events. That agreement comes with legal obligations that may be hard to cancel if both buyer and seller accept. Axess Law has real estate lawyers near you who can advise you what to do about common problems real estate buyers and sellers encounter and protect you from losing your deposit. We can even draft an agreement of purchase and sale from scratch for private sales. 

Hiring a Real Estate Lawyer in Ontario

Agreement of purchase and sale forms are legal contracts between buyers and sellers. Hiring a real estate lawyer early on can be your best insurance against mistakes that cost more at closing time. Our purchase agreement lawyers can review and recommend terms and conditions that must be satisfied before the sale completes. Axess Law real estate attorneys take you through your legal rights and obligations when you buy or sell property in Ontario. They explain what legal terms and deadlines mean for your offer of purchase or sale. You get our professional legal advice for a flat fee of just $999.99 and up when you buy real estate or $799.99 and up to sell an Ontario home. 

Why You Need Legal Advice

Real estate buyers often sign purchase agreements without legal advice. Hiring a lawyer can preserve your right to back out if problems arise during closing. We can advise you how to proceed if:

  • the seller is not the legal property owner
  • the property title contains liens  
  • property lines don't agree with legal surveys
  • construction defects are exposed during home inspections
  • your home is in a flood or wildfire zone
  • heritage designations restrict property improvements
  • transportation or other municipal plans could affect your enjoyment of the property
  • strata council minutes include costly special fees you want the seller to assume.

We amend your purchase agreement or end it altogether if the sale is not satisfactory to you.

Buying Property Without a Purchase Agreement

We appreciate listing your home with BuySellTrade.ca or flat fee realtors like Purplebricks and For Sale By Owner save thousands in commissions. When you have time and energy to research house prices, write sales listings, advertise and do showings yourself, it can be advantageous to you. 

Regardless of how you sell your home, Axess Law real estate lawyers recommend against buying or selling property without a written purchase agreement. Verbal or handshake agreements may not be legally enforceable in Ontario courts, which is why realtors use standard agreement of purchase and sale forms. Not even having a real estate purchase agreement notarized will save you from legal obligations you may not know about.

Making a legal contract protects you if your good deal goes wrong. Our Greater Toronto Area lawyers can advise you on legal liabilities you may not be aware of that affect your financial interests.

Changing a Purchase Agreement

Standard agreements for purchase and sale of homes or land can be changed by buyers or sellers during the offer, counter offer or conditional stages. 

Real estate deals may go through many changes before a transaction closes. If you have to adjust your offer based on a mortgage lender home appraisal or what a home inspection reveals, let the seller's or buyer's agent know as soon as possible. As long as both parties agree, changes can be initiated on the original contract or your realtor can prepare an amended agreement of purchase and sale.

For instance, if you discover the seller plans to take fixtures like cabinets or lights, or moveable chattels like kitchen appliances you prefer to keep, we can advise you on how to amend the agreement to request these be included in the sale. Fixtures and chattels must be specified in the purchase agreement to prevent their removal before your move-in date. Axess Law has virtual real estate lawyers who can video conference online or you can meet us at our Greater Toronto Area law offices to revise your agreement before the deal closes.  

Cancelling Real Estate Purchase Agreements

Real estate agreements can be cancelled if both buyer and seller agree or if the seller fails to sign the contract before the irrevocable period expires. New condo buyers have a 10-day cooling off period under Ontario law. 

Otherwise, buyers or sellers may hold you liable if you back out of a real estate agreement for any reason other than a term or condition in the original sales contract. You risk forfeiting your deposit or being sued if the seller is unable to resell the unit for what you offered. Sellers may also collect damages in court if they have to delay a move or incur extraordinary costs because a sales contract was cancelled. Sellers who accept higher offers after signing a contract also risk being taken to court unless the buyer agrees to collect their deposit and walk away.

Axess Law real estate attorneys can advise you on including terms and conditions that protect you at every stage, from initial offer to home inspection results and getting mortgage financing. While you can't be forced to buy a home you no longer want, you may be able to protect yourself from onerous financial penalties.

Make an Appointment for a Real Estate Consultation

Our remote real estate lawyers can video conference with you anywhere in Ontario. Or we can meet with you in person at a Greater Toronto Area legal offices 7 days a week, day or evening, at your convenience.

FAQs

General

1. What is a purchase and sale agreement?

Finding a new home or land to build on in the GTA is just the start of your real estate adventure. Offers to buy or sell property in Ontario are only legally valid if they are in writing. A licensed realtor can give you the agreement of purchase and sale form to start the process. The agreement is a legal contract between buyers and sellers to purchase a home or land. The agreement of purchase and sale is binding, unless both parties agree otherwise. You can change it, but must initial to show you consent. Watch the clock -- your agreement comes with deadlines, terms and conditions.

Form 100: Agreement of Purchase and Sale - PDF link

Form 101 - Condo: Agreement of Purchase and Sale - PDF link

2. How do I get a purchase and sale agreement?

Tick the purchase and sale agreement off your home buying checklist with the aid of a GTA realtor. Real estate commissions to buy houses are well worth the cost for the assurance you are dealing with an expert on home prices in your real estate market. Before making a real estate offer final on the home of your dreams, get a professional home inspection. Hidden costs of buying a house can make your good deal not so good after all. Axess Law Ontario's cheap real estate lawyers near you charge flat fees for legal advice on amending your agreement and closing real estate transactions. 

3. How do I find my purchase and sale agreement?

Your real estate agent or realtor can give you a copy if you misplace your purchase and sale agreement. Agreements to buy or sell a home or land are legally binding. Before you sign anything, ask an Axess Law real estate lawyer for a legal opinion. Once the deal is approved, your agent or realtor will give you a copy of the final agreement of purchase and sale to take to a bank, credit union or mortgage lender to arrange mortgage financing. Give the final agreement, with any amendments, to your real estate lawyer or notary public to close your real estate deal. 

Form 100: Agreement of Purchase and Sale - PDF link

Form 101 - Condo: Agreement of Purchase and Sale - PDF link

4. Who writes the purchase and sale agreement?

Sharpen your pencil. Competitive home prices in Ontario's Golden Horseshoe could make this the best time to buy a house. A licensed real estate agent can help you scout out bargains and write a draft purchase and sale agreement. Putting your offer in writing starts the clock on terms, conditions and timelines that must be satisfied to transfer the title. The agreement becomes legally binding when you get your offer accepted by a seller. Changes you both agree to after acceptance can be pencilled in and initialled or your realtor can prepare a form 120 to amend the original deal.

Form: Amendment to Agreement of Purchase and Sale - PDF link

5. How do I fill out a purchase and sale agreement?

The good news is you don't have to. It's completed by your real estate agent. You make the offer, they do the work. In case you really are selling a house without a realtor, the legal property description, purchase price, deposit, "Irrevocable time" (how long the buyer or seller has to accept it), possession date and what's included or excluded, like appliances or drapes, are must haves in making a standard real estate purchase and sale agreement. Include subject tos, such as financing, in Schedule A. Have an Axess Law real estate lawyer review the contract before you sign to prevent hiccups that could nix the deal.

Form 100: Agreement of Purchase and Sale - PDF link

Form 101 - Condo: Agreement of Purchase and Sale - PDF link

6. When do you sign a purchase and sale agreement?

First comes the offer, then comes the financing. Your Ontario realtor can write an agreement of purchase and sale for your Axess Law real estate lawyer to review. Getting legal advice before you sign can save you from being irrevocably (like forever) locked into a legally binding agreement. Before you transfer the title, use this mortgage calculator to size up what you really afford. Mortgage financing rules have changed, especially if you're making a first-time home buyer down payment. Take a look at CMHC, Canada's national housing agency, for shared equity mortgage incentives for Ontario home buyers. 

Form: Shared Mortgage Equity CMHC - PDF link 

7. Who signs the purchase and sale agreement first?

You do. The home buyer signs the purchase and sale agreement first to make an offer on a home or condo. Getting independent legal advice from Axess Law Ontario flat fee real estate lawyers takes all the guesswork out of real estate transactions. While you're deciding on buying a new custom home or resale property, figure out average closing costs in Greater Toronto with CMHC's property closing costs calculator. It's a good reminder of easily overlooked expenses, like the total costs of moving. You could be eligible for that first-time home buyer rebate if you play your cards right.

8. What should a buyer look out for in a purchase and sale agreement? 

New home construction delays are a major source of angst for Ontario home buyers. Buyer beware when you sign an agreement of purchase and sale to build a custom home. On the upside, you get a Tarion™ new home warranty that covers major faults for one, two or seven years, depending on the defect. What to look for in a purchase and sale agreement? Watch out for excessive builder charges for changes and substituted materials that fail to deliver the home of your dreams. Axess Law can help you  write a rock solid contract that requires your general contractor to inspect and correct sub trades' mistakes, instead of paying for them yourself. 

Form - Statutory Declaration of Progress Payment Distribution by Contractor - PDF link

9. What happens (what can I expect) after the purchase and sale agreement is signed?

Now you've made an offer or made a final purchase and sale agreement, get going with getting mortgage financing for your new home and arranging a home inspection. Axess Law Ontario real estate lawyers start a property title search asap. They exchange mortgage documents with banks or credit unions, pay property taxes and tie up legal loose ends. Paying your realtor, adding your spouse to a mortgage -- so much to do, so little time when you sign a real estate contract. Arranging a remote real estate signing appointment or COVID-friendly face-to-face meeting shows you're a serious buyer. Are real estate contracts legally binding? You got it.

Form: Ontario Land Transfer tax Refund First Time Buyers of Eligible Homes - PDF link

10. How do I cancel a real estate purchase and sale agreement that is contingent on the sale of another property?

Why give up when you are selling and buying a house at the same time? If you included selling your home or finding mortgage financing as "subjects to", you might walk away with "sorry it didn't work out". Otherwise, get ready for a rude surprise. Sellers can keep your deposit or take you to court if their home sells for less than you offered. Have you thought of applying for a shared mortgage with family? Remember, GTA realtors are always looking for income properties. Try selling ahouse with a tenant and see if your bad luck isn't good after all.

Form: Residential Tenancy Agreement - PDF link

11. How do I get out of a real estate deal after signing a purchase and sale agreement?

Act quickly, before the offer is formally accepted. Withdrawing a real estate offer is easier when you change your mind before the seller signs. For instance, new construction condo buyers have 10 days to walk away from a real estate purchase. Frustrated contracts caused by acts of God like floods or human follies like fires can also be overturned. Didn't pay the real estate deposit? A legal contract only exists if money or other consideration changes hands. Get virtual legal advice on getting out of a real estate contract. Axess Law has real estate lawyers near you, anywhere in Ontario.  

Probate

12. Can you sign a purchase and sale agreement before probate?

Co-owners who are on a legal property title as joint tenants can sign a purchase and sale agreement without waiting for an Ontario estate to be probated. Joint tenants are legally entitled to take someone off the title to a house when they die, leaving you as the surviving owner of the probate estate. For example, legally married spouses typically have survivorship rights to matrimonial homes they shared as a couple. Filing a survivorship application with a notarized or certified true copy of the death certificate and legal property title may be all you need to claim your right to occupy or rent the home. 

Family Law

13. Should I record a purchase and sale agreement at the courthouse?

Divorce or separation can go sideways if financial assets go missing. By all means, record a purchase and sale agreement at an Ontario courthouse by filling out form 13.1. Make a Form 13.1 Financial Statement (Property and Support Claims) to get all the family property on the table, especially if your spouse is hiding assets. Expect to divide foreign property when you divorce and keep or split the matrimonial home if you are legally married or have a joint tenancy agreement. Axess Law's virtual family lawyers can file a divorce application and financial disclosure documents in Ontario family court to protect your legal rights.

Notary Public

14. Who writes the purchase and sale agreement for a car?

That depends on who you buy from. Registered car dealers and salespeople are regulated by the Ontario Motor Vehicle Industry Council and write vehicle purchase and sale agreements. Buying from an OMVIC registered dealer gives you up to 90 days to cancel your contract if you got inaccurate or incomplete information. You get a used vehicle information package when you buy from a private vehicle seller in Ontario. The seller will give you a bill of sale and application for transfer from the back of their owner's permit. A  safety standards certificate signed by a licensed mechanic is required for older vehicles. Go to the Ontario Drive Clean website to check a vehicle's emissions history or ask the seller to.

Form: Application for Refund of Ontario Retail Sales Tax - PDF link

15. Who signs the sales of goods purchase agreement first?

When you sign a sale of goods purchase agreement, you promise to sell or buy something of value. Regardless of who signs first, Ontario's Sale of Goods Act protects you from unfair transactions for your sales and purchase agreement of goods. Let's say you buy a car. A notarized bill of sale is a warranty the vehicle will work -- at least for a reasonable time -- and is fit for the purpose you bought it for. For instance, hauling a travel trailer. (Get an older vehicle appraised before you buy it.) To be legally valid, a contract must be planned, not unintended, and involve "consideration" like cash or services. 

Form: Motor Vehicle Appraisal Record - PDF link

Testimonials

It was a pleasure working with Patricia from Axess Law. It was my first time purchasing a home, and was very nervous about every step in the process. I called and emailed Patricia several times with the silliest questions. She answered them all promptly, and provided the best customer service I could ask for. I would recommend Axess Law and particularly Patricia to everyone.

Cindy Tran

In the past I had to make appointments and waited for days to see a lawyer. Now conveniently this office is at my neighborhood supermarket. I was able to walk in and get my documents signed in less than 30 minutes The staff are courteous and professional. I would recommend anyone. Prompt service.

Joy Stewart

I am writing this review on behalf of my daughter who completed her first Real Estate condo transaction with AxessLaw. Besides just helping my daughter as a client, they helped her understand every single step involved in the process and the whole process was completed without any problems. I would recommend them to anyone looking for hassle free real estate transaction without thinking twice.

Irene Tucker

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