Real Estate Purchase Agreements

A purchase contract is a key document in a Vancouver real estate transaction. It speaks to the rights and obligations of the parties with respect to a real estate transaction involving “fee simple” land or a state property.  It is also an exchange of promises to do something in the future.  As soon as those promises are made in writing they bind the promisors, the buyer and the seller. Unfortunately, in most residential transactions, the parties sign a purchase contract before consulting with lawyers.

Terms of a Vancouver Purchase Agreement

The basic promises of a Vancouver real estate purchase contract include the seller’s promise to the buyer that on a certain date in the future he or she will deliver to the buyer title to the subject property “free and clear” of all encumbrances, except for those agreed upon in the purchase contract.  In exchange, the buyer promises to pay to the seller a sum of money.

Obstacles in a Vancouver Real Estate Transaction

Unfortunately, in many instances, either the seller or the buyer faces practical obstacles to fulfilling the promises that were made pursuant to the terms of the purchase agreement including:

  • The seller cannot provide clear title.
  • Buyers often have contingencies (subject to clauses) that must be met prior to closing. Such contingencies include securing financing, obtaining a reasonable interest rate for the financing, and selling a current home.
  • A home inspection reveals infestation, mold, or major flaws in the property that could cause a buyer to demand repairs or wish to cancel the transaction altogether.

Vancouver Subject Clauses

It is very common in Vancouver for purchase agreements to contain subject clauses that must either be fulfilled or waived before the buyer is bound to complete the contract. A common example is: “the Buyer’s obligation to complete the purchase of the Property is subject to the Buyer being satisfied with the results of a physical inspection of the Property on a specified date.”

With the Vancouver real estate market generating increasingly higher sale prices, it is likely that more sellers may may attempt to end their contracts based upon the terms of subject clauses in order to sell the property at a higher price to someone else.  This, in turn, may lead to increased land ownership litigation concerning subject clauses including:

  • An agreement that is silent as to the removal of a subject clause;
  • Uncertain subject clauses;
  • Subject clauses that gives the party to for whose benefit the clause was inserted a wide discretion as to how the clause is to be satisfied.

In many such cases it will be difficult to determine if a party is appropriately relying on the terms of the subject clause, or perhaps developed “cold feet” and is looking for a way to termination the deal.  In either event, it is important to speak to an experienced Vancouver land ownership lawyer to best protect your rights.

Contact a Vancouver Land Ownership Lawyer

If you have entered into the terms of a purchase agreement and the other side is unable or unwilling to finalized the deal, it is important to speak to a Vancouver real estate lawyer as soon as possible.  Contact either Ross McLarty or Murray Wolf for a no obligation 30 minute free consultation. Call the law offices of McLarty Wolf at (604) 688-9542 today or contact us via our online form here.


Mclarty Wolf

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