Real Estate FAQ

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What is an Agreement of Purchase and Sale?

An Agreement of Purchase and Sale is the contract for the purchase and sale of the real estate property you are interested in selling or purchasing.  The Agreement sets out the purchase price, the closing date and the length of time the purchaser will have to examine the title of the property to make sure that they are getting a property without any title problems.  A purchaser may include conditions in the Agreement of Purchase and Sale such as financing as the purchaser may not have the cash to complete the purchase and will not want to agree to purchase the property until they have obtained confirmation from a lender that they will in fact have the money to complete the purchase.  They may also want to have the property inspected prior to waiving their conditions and making the Agreement firm.  In making the Agreement firm and binding they are confirming that they will proceed to complete the transaction in accordance with the terms of the Agreement of Purchase and Sale.  As indicated above the Agreement of Purchase and Sale may contain conditions such as financing, confirmation that you can insure the property or to have the property inspected.  If you have a concern with respect to the property you can make it a condition.  Generally the conditions are for the purchaser who has to take steps to satisfy those conditions.  If the conditions are not satisfied then the proposed transaction will be at an end and any deposit should be refunded.

What is a Tarion Warranty?

Where you are purchasing a new home or one that is less than 5 years old the original builder will have had to register the home with Tarion, a government mandated organization established to ensure that any problems or complaints with respect to new homes will be remedied in a timely fashion by the builder or if the builder is not able to do the work by a representative of Tarion.

Do I need a house inspection?

Whether a building inspector is engaged is a matter of personal preference.  There are businesses in this area who, for a fee, will conduct a visual inspection of the property and prepare a report indicating to you what they have observed with respect to the property you are proposing to purchase.  Often, an inspector because of their expertise is able to see problems that you may not be able to see.  If the inspector can test for moisture it is generally prudent to pay for that testing to be done as moisture behind walls may not be visible.  Where there are finished basements it may be wise to have moisture readings taken to determine if there is any water penetration into the basement.  It is important to note that such inspections are not guarantees and often inspectors limit their liability so that if there are problems you cannot sue them.  It is extremely important to carefully select a building inspector.

How long until I can move in?

The length of time between entering into an Agreement of Purchase and Sale and the time you move in is variable.  It depends on the needs of the purchaser and seller.  Generally speaking at least a month is required so that all the necessary paperwork can be completed.  It is recommended that if you are selling a property and buying a property that you buy the property before you complete the sale of the property you currently own and utilize bridge financing so that you are able to move from your existing property to the new property in a less pressured manner.

Do I need title insurance?

Generally speaking the Law Society of Upper Canada recommends that purchasers obtain title insurance.  Title insurance is much like any other insurance except there is only a one-time fee.  The title insurance covers problems with the title or with the property subject to certain limitations.

Can I sue for basement water leaking?

If water has been leaking into the basement and the seller knows that it has been leaking into the basement and does not tell you then you may be able to sue the seller for the cost of repairing the problem.  If the seller does not know that water has been leaking into the basement then you may not be able to successfully sue the seller.