My husband and I purchased a home, but our closing date is fast approaching and the sellers are still working on major repairs to the house. Can we change the closing date?
The short answer to your question? Maybe. Before I delve into why this is the case, let’s back up and examine the core issue at hand: amending the Agreement of Purchase and Sale (APS).
An APS is a binding contract between you (the buyer) and the seller for the purchase and sale of a property. Because it is a legal written agreement that must meet the needs of both the buyer and the seller, making amendments to it can be complicated. Any change to the terms would have to be prepared by the party that wants to amend it, and then the amendment would need to be agreed to and signed by both parties. No matter how reasonable the amendment might seem on the surface, the other party doesn’t have to agree to the change at all. What happens in this case? Unless both sides can agree, the original terms of the APS will remain unchanged.
Changing your closing date is a common reason to amend the APS – but I should note that this change is particularly challenging because both the buyer and the seller are likely planning around that deadline. In fact, the date could have been an important reason that the seller chose your offer in the first place.
There are many other reasons why someone might want to amend an APS. For example, a seller may remember that they want to take with them a light fixture or window covering, or a buyer may want the seller to address an issue they discovered after all the paperwork had already been signed.
If you need to amend the APS, contact your real estate representative or lawyer depending on the situation to discuss what you would like changed, and why. If a relatively trouble free change is occurring soon after the APS was negotiated, the buyer and seller representatives will often manage the process. However in other cases it would be advisable to get your lawyer’s advice, and once the APS has been sent to each party’s lawyer, they need to be included in the conversation, as well as the documentation trail.
One more thing to note: it is possible that the party requesting the change could also incur additional costs. In particular, they may have to compensate the other party, especially if the other party faces additional expenses to make the change happen.
The bottom line is that the seller may agree to change the APS, but they are not obligated to do so. If they decline to make the change, consult with your real estate professional and your lawyer about possible other options.Joseph Richer is Registrar of the Real Estate Council of Ontario (RECO). He is in charge of the administration and enforcement of all rules that govern real estate professionals in Ontario. You can find more tips at reco.on.ca, follow on Twitter @RECOhelps or on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/RECOhelps.