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What documents are involved in buying a home?
Working with a Real Estate Agent:
Buyers and sellers are presented with the brochure “Working with a Real Estate Agent” when they first meet a REALTOR®. Industry regulations have now made it mandatory for agents to explain immediately the kind of relationship you can have with your REALTOR®, also known as agency. The agent will ask you to sign a statement in the brochure acknowledging this discussion has taken place, tear off and keep the signed statement, and give you the brochure for future reference.

Signing the disclosure statement does not give you any obligation to that REALTOR®. It merely confirms that you have discussed your agency representation options. If you decide to buy or sell with that REALTOR® you will sign a contractual agreement: the listing agreement (as a seller) or the exclusive buyers' agency agreement (as a buyer).

Property Disclosure Statement (PDS):
A seller is legally responsible to provide accurate information about the property they are selling. This includes all knowledge about the property, defects about which the owner is aware, and any upcoming expenses (such as special assessments in strata-titled properties). This information is provided on the Property Disclosure Statement form, and is filled out by the seller. The REALTOR® is not permitted to fill out the PDS on behalf of the seller.

Answers on the PDS must be correct and complete. The buyer will rely on this information if they decide to purchase the property, and any incorrect or incomplete information can make the seller liable. The PDS does not cover every aspect of the property, and the buyer must still make their own inquiries. The buyer can also hire an independent, licensed inspector.

Exclusive Buyer’s Agency Contract:
Buyers will sign an Exclusive Buyer's Agency Contract with their REALTOR®. This contract outlines the services you will receive from your REALTOR®, and the obligations of both you as buyer and the REALTOR® in the buying transaction.

Your REALTOR® may also ask you to enter into a written agreement regarding compensation. This is because most listing contracts for properties on the Multiple Listing Service® state compensation will be offered to the agent who obtains a buyer for the property. However, some listing contracts do not provide for the remuneration for the buyer's agent. In this case, your REALTOR® will ask to be compensated as your buying agent. The remuneration will still come from the transaction and will be able to be financed as part of your mortgage. This commitment on the part of both REALTOR® and client enables better service and a wider selection of property from which to choose.

Limited Dual Agency Agreement:
When an agent represents a buyer and a seller in a single transaction, it’s necessary to complete a Limited Dual Agency Agreement. This form gives an agent authorization to represent both parties in a limited capacity, while maintaining both parties' confidences regarding motivation, negotiating positions and personal information (unless either party gives the agent written permission to disclose such information). This form is also used when two salespersons from the same company are involved.

Contract of Purchase and Sale:
The Contract of Purchase and Sale standard form is the basic contract signed by the parties (the sellers and the buyers). It outlines every aspect of the transaction, including the price, the terms and conditions, the dates, the inclusions and exclusions, the handling of existing tenancies, the deposit and increase (where applicable) and other legal matters as described in the preprinted contract and added as clauses.

Addendum (With Printed Clauses):
A special addendum form with preprinted clauses will be added to the basic sales contract if there is either financing to be cleared from the title before the seller can provide clear title, or where there is financing to be put into place after the title is registered in the buyer's name.

Addendum (Without Printed Clauses):
A basic blank addendum form is used to write additional clauses on the contract when there is not enough space on the contract itself. When that has been done, the buyer signs this form indicating that this clause is being removed.

Amendment to Contract of Purchase and Sale:
This form is used to remove conditions (subject removal) when they have been satisfied. An example might be where a buyer has to find financing by a certain date.

A lease is used more often in commercial transactions than in residential ones. However, you may be a landlord or a tenant who prefers to use a lease for stability of tenure. A commercial lease is a complex document and should be drawn up by a specialist in the commercial field and reviewed by a lawyer for each party. A residential lease is less complex and normally involves a standard rental agreement with an outline of the rules and regulations of the building or complex, or expectations of the owner and tenant above and beyond what the Residential Tenancy Act sets out. If you have any doubts about how to draw a lease or how to interpret specific clauses, consult a lawyer or a REALTOR®.

Mortgages come in a wide variety of formats, depending on the lending institution. Many institutions use a simplified form, and refer to the larger form where any deviations from their standard form may occur. The buyer should check that the document matches the commitment letter they signed outlining the terms of their mortgage. This will include the interest rate, the term, the amortization period, the prepayment privilege ("penalty"), the options (if any) for increasing the number of payments or making lump sum payments, the assumability of the mortgage if the property is sold, and the portability of the mortgage if the seller wishes to use it on another property.

If you are a seller who is carrying financing for a buyer of your property, make sure that your lawyer reviews the documents before you sign them. If you are a buyer who is asking a seller to carry financing, make sure your own lawyer reviews the documents as well. Many serious issues may arise where the parties are unfamiliar with the law concerning mortgage financing.