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The Chambre des Notaires du Québec (CNQ) and the Organisme d’Autoréglementation du Courtage Immobilier du Québec (OACIQ) unite to recall the consequences, for a buyer, of waiving their rights by rushing the signature and acceptance on an offer to purchase.

In a market where there are many buyers for the same property, some are quick to place offers to buy. Sometimes certain steps are intentionally left out in order to speed up the sales process.

According to the CNQ and the OACIQ, renouncing these steps can quickly generate concerns for consumers and have serious consequences, especially at the financial level. It is all the more important to be properly advised and above all to be informed about the scope of guarantees and other mechanisms as well as the consequences of their waivers.

Several protections for buyers and sellers

Me Caroline Champagne, Vice President Supervision of the OACIQ underlines that despite the current context of turmoil in the real estate market and the pressure to quickly conclude transactions that may result, brokers must ensure that they comply, in all circumstances, with their ethical obligations of advice and information to their clients in order to protect them.

“The OACIQ does not tolerate the insistent behavior of the few brokers who can reduce the legal protections enjoyed by the public in the context of real estate transactions, says Me Champagne. The deadlines provided for in the promises to purchase for the fulfillment of inspection, financing or other conditions must be long enough to allow the professionals involved in the transactions to provide quality services, and therefore help reduce the risks inherent in the real estate transaction that is often the most important in a person’s life. Brokers must do everything in their power to ensure that their clients make the appropriate decisions with full knowledge of the risks that can be generated by rushed transactions. Otherwise, measures can be taken up to the lodging of a disciplinary complaint.”

As for the Chambre des notaires du Québec, for some time now, they have seen an increase in buyers who come to the notary to complete the deed of sale, with waivers of their rights to speed up the process.

Me Hélène Potin, president of the Chambre des notaires du Québec, informs us that an offer to purchase, as soon as it is signed, is indeed a contract. That it can be difficult to change the terms or cancel it.

“We are concerned about the situation and wish to reiterate the importance of carrying out each step of a process, as important as buying a property, with full knowledge of the facts, said the president. Buying real estate is always a big decision, sometimes filled with emotion or excitement, but this decision must be made in an informed way. It is essential to fully understand the legal scope of our choices, starting with the offer to purchase.”

Also according to OACIQ, three major tools are essential in order to conclude a transaction safely.

The inspection

The OACIQ points out that a pre-purchase inspection will allow us to better understand the condition of the desired building and identify a problem affecting the building or the necessary repairs. Under the Real Estate Brokerage Act, a broker must recommend having a complete inspection carried out by a professional or a building inspector. If the sale is made without a legal warranty of quality, that is to say without a guarantee that it is free from defects, the inspection is all the more necessary.

The certificate of location

Based on case law, the CNQ recommends that an up-to-date certificate of location, which describes the current condition of the building and dating back a maximum of 10 years, be provided to the buyer by the seller. This document comprises a report and a plan in which the land surveyor expresses his opinion on the situation and the current condition of a property in relation to the title deeds, the cadastre, as well as the laws and regulations that may affect the land. The real estate broker must ensure that he obtains a recent certificate of location and inform his client of the consequences of renouncing it.

Legal guarantee

The legal guarantee includes both the guarantee of quality and the guarantee of the right of ownership. The quality guarantee concerns hidden defects. The guarantee of the right of ownership concerns defects in the title of ownership. More concretely, a title defect is one which deprives the buyer of his right of ownership or which restricts it.

Steve Sauvé


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