Tenenbaum’s Top 10 changes to that thing you sign when you buy a home

This is what the Ontario Real Estate Association (“OREA”) Form 100 (Agreement of Purchase and Sale – Residential) might have added if it was written by home buyers for home buyers and not an association representing the interests of its member realtors.

  1. Buyer Acknowledgment – Realtor

Buyer acknowledges being provided the following from the realtor:

  1. How much did seller pay and why is he/she selling?
  2. Copy of realtor’s discipline history or any current investigations if not shown at
  3. Any commission promises in writing
  4. Whether a survey is available from seller or from land survey records website
  5. The conflict of interest in using a lawyer referred by that realtor and (if applicable) by the realtor acting as a dual agent.
  6. A listing history of the property
  7. Any due diligence that the realtor recommends and who will be responsible for obtaining it – SPIS, status certificate, mortgage appraisal, tax bill/MPAC, survey, well/septic approvals, furnace/water heater leases etc.
  1. Copies of any work permit applications made by Seller. If Seller performed work without permits, a list of such work. Seller agrees to discharge any work orders and close (obtain final inspections) of any open permits before closing. [Otherwise, you may be forced to accept a return of your deposit, or worse].
  2. Buyer may postpone the closing up to 2 business days at a cost of $______ (or no cost). [Greedy sellers or their lawyers can charge over $800 to a buyer who “breaches” the contract when his/her bank is delayed. Two or three hundred dollars is reasonable unless the Seller has to close on time – find out early].
  3. The deal can close up to 5PM on day of closing. [It is impossible to close after 5PM so the 6PM in the standard OREA contract should be changed].
  4. Seller will promptly provide consent for any inquiries or record searches of third parties or government agencies (excluding property inspections) that are requested by Buyer. [Unsure why this is not a standard clause, particularly for rural or mixed use properties].
  5. Buyer shall have until 6PM on the 15th calendar day before (and excluding) the completion date to make any objections to title. [Agents (out of self interest) and parties often (out of ignorance) put impossible or unfair time deadlines on the lawyer’s ability to complete searches and possibly cancel a problem deal].
  6. Buyer may terminate the deal without further liability if buyer’s institutional lender will not advance funds due to a title or non title defect that cannot be insured over or repaired (at Seller’s expense) prior to closing.
  7. Appliances, plumbing fixtures, furnace/AC, and electrical outlets to be in working order as at closing.
  8. Buyer will be permitted two inspections prior to closing on 24 hours notice.
  9. Seller’s address for any future service of documents is …
  10. “This offer is submitted on the understanding that seller has multiple offers. If that is not the case, seller will notify buyer by ____PM and buyer will have one hour to revise or revoke this offer. If this offer is accepted, seller will provide the names and phone numbers of the agent/broker that submitted the next best competing offer”. [Thanks to Mark Weisleder for this!].