Note to our Readers: The information provided in this article is a brief summary for information purposes only and is applicable only to the Province of Ontario. It is not intended to be legal advice. Full and complete legal advice can only be given by a lawyer who has detailed knowledge about your particular circumstances.
TABLE OF CONTENTS:
|The Offer to Purchase||Warranties||Fixtures||Hydro & Gas|
|Telephone||House Insurance||Adjustments||Closing Costs and Legal Fees|
|Moving, Possession & Keys||Mortgage Discharges||Tenants||Conflict of Interest|
|Matrimonial Homes||Goods & Services Tax|
THE OFFER TO PURCHASE
(or Agreement of Purchase and Sale)
The Offer to Purchase is a binding legal contract which sets out the rights and obligations of the Purchaser and Seller. It governs when, under what conditions and at what price and on what terms the house will be sold.
Terminating or cancelling the Agreement can result in breach of contract and damages for the expenses and loss of the other party. Do not cancel the transaction without the advice of your lawyer!
We recommend if possible review the Offer with a lawyer before signing it. There may be something that should be added or changed. We will still be pleased to review the Offer and advise of your rights and obligations after it is signed.
There is no warranty on a used home. The legal phrase is Caveat Emptor - Let the buyer beware.
However, the buyer is entitled to a house in the same condition as it was when he or she signed the Offer to Purchase. If the seller knows of any defects which are not obvious and apparent, he must disclose these to the buyer before the Offer to Purchase is signed. Otherwise the seller may have to repair the defect at his expense.
Fixtures are anything which is "affixed" or fastened to the property with the intention that it should be part of the property. The seller must leave these in place and in the same condition as they were when the Offer was signed.
Typical fixtures which must be left with the house are:
tv antenna air conditioner
satellite dish satellite receiver
light fixtures light bulbs
exhaust fans storm windows, screens
curtain rods blind holders
central vacuum garage door opener
built in appliances built in cupboards
trees and shrubs flowers and vegetables
The blinds and curtains are not usually fixtures. Refrigerators, stoves and other appliances which are not built in are not included unless specifically mentioned in the Offer to Purchase.
HYDRO AND GAS
Ramsay Law Office requires a copy of your hydro bill to get the account and meter number to request a final meter reading on closing day. Hydro ONE also likes you to call and give them your new address to send the final bill.
Ramsay Law Office requires a copy of your gas bill to get the account number and meter number and to request a final meter reading on closing day. Union Gas also likes you to call and give them your new address to send the final bill.
Hydro ONE: 1 888 664 9376
Union Gas: 1 888 774 3111
Union Energy (for gas rentals) 1 877 267 7902
Call Northern Telephone Limited and arrange to have the phone transferred or disconnected as close to the closing day as possible and advise of new address to send final bill.
1 800 360 8555
Do not cancel your home insurance until the sale is completed and you have received the sale proceeds. Be sure to keep coverage on your furniture and belongings if they will not be included in a new home policy.
The Offer to Purchase requires an adjustment to be made for taxes, fuel oil and other prepaid expenses to prorate these between the buyer and seller. If you have paid the year's taxes, you will be entitled to reimbursement for the part of the year the house is owned by the Purchaser. Partial payments and arrears are adjusted accordingly.
For fuel oil, a tank of oil may be worth several hundred dollars. In the summer you can leave it empty and make no adjustment; the rest of the year it is customary to fill the tank and collect from the purchaser the price of a full tank. The seller then pays the cost of the fill up.
Please call and advise us of the name of your agent.
CLOSING COSTS AND LEGAL FEES
For your convenience our website now offers a Home Buyer and Home Seller calculator for quick calculation of costs you can expect to pay in a real estate transaction. Please use the links in the left hand menu for a quick and accurate quote.
For commercial properties or if you have any questions about your fee quote please call our office at 647-4010 for a more precise quote - we will fax or email you a written quote.
MOVING, POSSESSION AND KEYS
The time when the purchaser may move in on the closing day has never been satisfactorily resolved in law. One judge actually said it was not until after midnight!
Usually the parties discuss this between themselves and cooperate in moving at convenient times.
Keys are often exchanged between the lawyers on closing.
Ramsay Law Office tries to complete closings in the morning of closing day and to have the keys available in the early afternoon, when possible.
We will be pleased to hand you the cheque at our office, or deposit it directly to your bank account.
Please leave a telephone number with our office so we can contact you if problems arise.
We will obtain from your mortgagee a statement showing the balance to be paid from the sale proceeds. Often there are penalties for early pre-payment, which you should discuss with your mortgagee.
Ramsay Law Office gives its undertaking on closing to the purchasers and their lawyer to pay the mortgage balance and register a mortgage discharge.
Tenants are protected by the Residential Tenancies Act, and must be given sufficient notice in accordance with that Act to vacate a house that is being sold.
If the tenants are being assumed by the Purchaser, you warrant the correctness and legality of the rents, unless the Offer to Purchase says otherwise.
CONFLICT OF INTEREST
If the Buyer and Seller, and often the mortgagee, hire the same lawyer and difficulties arise between the parties, there is a conflict of interest. In that case Ramsay Law Office cannot act for one client to sue or pursue a claim against the other.
Information from one client cannot be confidential from the other client when the lawyer is acting for both.
If a conflict of interest arises and cannot be resolved, Ramsay Law Office arranges for independent lawyers for all parties.
The law gives a special place to the home where the spouses live, called the matrimonial home. Both houses and cottages qualify as matrimonial homes if hte spouses live in them together.
A matrimonial home cannot be sold or mortgaged without the consent of both spouses, both of whom have to sign the deed or mortgage.
HARMONIZED SALES TAX
Used residential properties and some vacant properties are not subject to HST. Legal fees, real estate commissions and some expenses are taxable. We will advise you of these.