Here are six widely held myths about the Real Estate offer:
1. If we change our minds, can we pull our offer back?
No you can't. If your written offer has been presented to the Seller (or even in the possession of the Seller's agent), your offer is "live and real" until the expiration of the Irrevocable time specified in your offer. If the Seller signs and accepts your offer, you're committed to the contract. An exception to this is a new build condominium where the law permits a 10 day cooling off period.
2. We have a home inspection condition, so can we always find something wrong to get out of the purchase?
Probably not. Home inspection clauses often contain language saying the offer was conditional on receiving a "satisfactory report on home inspection in the sole and absolute discretion of the Buyer". A ruling by the Supreme Court of Canada (Bhasin v. Hrynew) has changed the perception of this 'easy out'. It obligates principals in a contract to complete their obligations in good faith under that contract. Unless there is some major latent (hidden) defect discovered that would have caused the Buyer to make a different decision, you're obligated to continue the transaction.
3. If we change our minds due to unfulfilled conditions, do we automatically get our deposit back?
It's not automatic. The return of a deposit depends on the Buyers and Sellers agreeing, in writing, to release each other from the contract. If you have removed your conditions and have a firm deal, and want to cancel the deal or fail to close as agreed, it's quite possible that the Sellers will settle by keeping your deposit. Sellers can also apply to the court for the deposit plus the difference between what they sold the house to you for, and what they sold it to the next person for.
4. Once it's a firm deal, can we change the closing date?
Possibly, but this change of date must be agreed upon by both the Buyers and the Sellers. An Amendment to the Agreement would be drawn up and signed by both parties.
5. If our agent forgot to include the refrigerator in the Agreement, and it's listed as an inclusion in the listing, do we still get it anyway?
Not necessarily. The only document that matters here is the Agreement of Purchase and Sale that both parties signed. If it's not in the Agreement, it's not part of the deal unless the Seller agrees to leave it behind.
6. Since we're buying a Condominium, we don't need any conditions, right?
Professional advice is that you should always have a home inspection. Sometimes, in multiple offer situations for example, a condition of inspection may result in your offer not being as favourably reviewed. However, you may then also end up with a problem house. Buyer beware. If you choose not to have a home inspection, your agent may ask you to sign a Form 127 which states you are acting against their advice. Inspections have revealed many important issues in condo apartments related to health and safety, and structural integrity. Also important is your lawyer's examination of the condo documents called the Status Certificate. When you purchase a condominium property, you are also buying into the financial good health and obligations of the condo corporation.