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New Rules for Handling Written Real Estate Offers Coming in Ontario

Posted by Sherry Rioux on May 14, 2015

It is incredibly frustrating for a home buyer (and their sales representative) to be preparing an offer for their dream home only to be told that another offer has come in on the same property. Almost every time that happens, buyers feel suspicious of the timing and wonder if another offer really exists or if they are having pressure put on them to make a higher, faster or better offer.

Effective July 1, 2015, there will be new rules coming into effect around the handling of written offers. These changes stem from Bill 55, the Stronger Protection for Ontario Consumers Act, 2013. In a nutshell, the following new rules will apply:

o Offers must be made in writing. Please keep in mind that a written offer must be signed to be valid.
o A registrant (sales person/broker) cannot indicate that they have an offer, unless they have a written offer.
o The seller’s brokerage must keep a record of all written offers that it receives.
o RECO (Real Estate Council of Ontario) is developing a process to confirm the number of offers that were received for a property.

I can see merit to these new rules and the ability to ask RECO to investigate the number of written offers that were truly received should help cut down the suspicions agents or consumers may have.

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