Sign here please!

A standard form of agreement to purchase is available from your lawyer or most stationery stores. This is the piece of paper that states the conditions of the sale. When both sides agree and sign this document, the sale is considered final.

•   Make sure the form applies to your type of property (condo, freehold condo, private home).

•  Familiarize yourself with the form's contents.

•  Fill in the name(s) of the vendor and the address and appropriate details of the home — extras, exclusions etc. (see Chapter 7: Compile a Fact Sheet on Your Home).

•  It is a good idea to have a few of these prepared forms on hand to give out to "serious" potential buyers. Having such forms available tends to encourage "fence sitters" to make an offer.

•  Make it as easy as possible for someone to make an offer. The more offers you have, the more likely you will sell your home at the price you wish and within the desired time-frame.

•  Discuss the contents of the form with your lawyer and keep him or her informed as the transaction progresses. Do not hesitate to ask questions and to have any of the language or the paperwork involved in your transaction explained.

•   Ask your lawyer's advice about filling in this form with any standard clauses that best meet your needs, for example:

□     "Purchaser agrees to pay the balance of the purchase price in cash or certified cheque to the vendor on closing subject to the usual adjustments. "

This is known as a cash deal, since the purchaser arranges the financial arrangements.

□     "Vendor agrees to discharge any existing mortgages or liens or other encumbrances now registered against the property on or before closing at his own expense, either from the proceeds of the sale or by solicitor's undertaking. "

This is the normal requirement of a cash deal, when the purchaser is not assuming the mortgage.

□     "Vendor warrants that there are no outstanding work orders registered against the property and if so will be complied with at his expense on or before closing. "

A common clause to protect the purchaser against bills left unpaid by the vendor at closing.

□     "Vendor warrants that the property has not been insulated with ureaformaldehyde foam and this warranty shall survive the closing of the transaction. "

It is illegal to sell a property in Canada that has been insulated with the banned substance ureaformaldehyde, without informing the purchaser of its presence. If the vendor does so, this clause will come back to haunt him, during future litigation.

□     "Vendor represents and warrants that he/she is a resident of Canada as defined by the Income Tax Act. "

This clause directs the purchaser's lawyer to distribute funds appropriately.

□     "Survey should be attached to offer. " Financial institutions require a survey for mortgage purposes. This does not mean that you have to have a new survey done, unless specifically requested by the purchaser's lawyer.

□     "Subject to rights of way and easements. " Where there are legal rights of way and easements on the title of your property these should be clearly stated.

Remember, the clauses that we have mentioned are representative. Your lawyer will ensure that your prepared "agreement to purchase" form includes all clauses appropriate to your needs.