You'd think all real estate agents would know that to protect their client's best interests they need a properly executed Agreement of Purchase and Sale. Unfortunately not the case. If you're looking to buy or sell a home read this to learn the importance of doing your due diligence when hiring an agent!
In his recent Toronto Star Article, Mark Weisleder, a respected real estate lawyer, details a case in which a contract was negotiated between a buyer and seller who ended up in court because the deal couldn't close on the scheduled day as a tenant had refused to move out. The buyers sued the sellers for failing to close and provide vacant possession.
What is actually remarkable about this case is the judge found that a valid contract (Agreement of Purchase and Sale) never existed!! While negotiating the offer and transmitting it back and forth the agents had failed to include the signature/acceptance page and have it signed by their clients. Instead they allowed a verbal acceptance of the contract. When the signature page was finally added, it was almost 3 weeks past the offers valid time frame.
If there had been a valid contract, the judge was prepared to award the buyers damages, as a result they got nothing. Mark concludes the article with some important lessons learned, but fundamentally this article is about ensuring that you are working with a professional and competent Realtor.
It is a fundamental responsibility and a requirement under then Real Estate and Business Brokers Act, 2002 Code of Ethics that Realtors must provide their clients with "Conscientious and Competent Service, protect a client's Best Interests, and provide Written and Legible Agreements". The most basic of these is ensuring your client has a valid contract for the purchase or sale of their home. It is not a client's responsibility to ensure the right pages are signed and the timelines for ensuring a valid contract are adhered to, it's the responsibility of the agent they've hired!
A negotiated and accepted agreement of purchase and sale is the culmination of all our work as Realtors when helping a client to find a property to purchase or sell their home. Dropping the ball when it comes to ensuring the successful execution of a real estate contract which fulfills the very reason for which a Realtor is hired, is not acceptable!
So for the public, the lessons from this case are:
- Not all agents are created equal, do your due diligence and make sure you're hiring a professional.
- Ask the question of your agent, "if you're negotiating with someone that "doesn't know what they're doing", how will you ensure my interests are protected?"
- Ensure your agent has gone through the contracts you've been asked to sign and explains what each clause means and their implications.
To read the full article on this case, check out: http://bit.ly/19KVDAV