August 03, 2014
Encouraging you to put a high security deposit when writing up a contract to purchase your desired home.
A security deposit informs the seller you are interested in purchasing the property and the amount lets the seller know how serious you are. The higher the amount, the more serious you are.
The moment the contract is agreed upon by both parties and signed, you must provide the security deposit within the set time specified in the contract. This security deposit is suppose to be returned to you if the contract becomes null and void, if the conditions (usually financing and inspection) specified in the contract fails.
Now, this procedure seems to be fair. Here is where the problem lies:
If the contract becomes null and void and you want your money back, all parties must sign a form called a Mutual Release. This signature must include the buyer, buyer's agent, seller and seller's agent. If any one party does not sign, you will not get your money even if the contract has been null and void. If anyone party refuses to sign, you have to go through court, most likely small claims court, to settle your dispute and if you know anything about the court system in Canada, you know your court date could be as long as two years away!
You should never be serious in buying house. It is poor negotiating tactics. If your Real Estate Agent encourages you to put a high security deposit, it is because your Real Estate Agent wants you to be serious about purchasing the property even though it is poor negotiating tactics.
The reality is your security deposit can be very difficult to get back. Sadly, this is the general process in most home buying transactions and it is a very poor process.
And did you know...
IT IS NOT NECESSARY TO PUT A SECURITY DEPOSIT AT ALL!
There are no limitations to a contract. It is only a matter of agreement. You can write anything you want on the contract as long as both party agrees. My suggestion is to encourage your Real Estate Agent to only provide the deposit after the contract passes the conditions. This is possible, but only if your Real Estate Agent is willing.
For the buyer, the purpose of the contract is to make the contract such that the buyer can get out of purchasing the house. For the seller, the purpose of the contract is to make the contract such that the buyer will purchase the house.
Once again, I cannot stress this enough, to find a Real Estate Agent do not search through the Internet and pick the first one you see. Good salesmen do not make good Real Estate Agents.