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Planning a real estate purchase? GBC Law offers advice on contracts

Buying or selling a home is one of the most important financial commitments that a person can make.

Buying or selling a home is one of the most important financial commitments that a person can make. Yet clients often tend to sign standard form contracts and enter into agreements without carefully reading the small print or fully understanding the consequences.

"Whether you are a first-time homebuyer or an experienced real estate investor," says Cynthia Lam, a real estate lawyer at GBC Law, "there are a lot of details to be taken into consideration when purchasing a property." While clients can, for the most part, rely on the advice of a good Realtor™, they should take the time to consider the key terms.

For example, one of the common terms in standard real estate contracts is “Time is of the Essence”.

"Not many people truly understand the importance of this seemingly insignificant provision," says Cynthia. "It can potentially cause a lot of issues and stress for some buyers or sellers. For example, parties often agree to certain dates for completion, possession and adjustment in the Contract of Purchase and Sale, without fully understanding what these dates mean."

Buyers may be surprised to learn that a seller can rely on the "Time is of the Essence" provision to terminate a Contract if the buyer fails to deliver funds or satisfactorily execute the closing documents by the completion date.

"In a stable or 'flat' market," Cynthia explains, "buyers and sellers tend to be more agreeable to amending terms or dates in the Contract of Purchase and Sale. However, in a market that is constantly fluctuating, there is an increased risk that one party may not be open to such flexibility."

"At GBC Law," Cynthia adds, "we always recommend that clients take the time to understand their obligations under the Contract. This is especially important since it is common practice for the Contract to be completed and executed without having it reviewed by a lawyer."

Gregory J. Greiner, founder and principal lawyer of GBC Law, notes that commercial real estate dealings are more complex. "In many commercial real estate purchases," Greg says, "even though the dollar amount is smaller than the typical million dollar Burnaby home purchase, the contract can be considerably more complicated and there are more opportunities for good planning and preparation. We can often help a client navigate through the process, avoid common pitfalls and take advantage of some planning opportunities."

For more information on GBC Law call 604-437-0461, visit their website, send them an email, or visit their offices at 485-6400 Roberts Street, Burnaby. You will also find GBC Law on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.