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We’ll explain the ins and outs of assigment sales.

What’s an assignment?

An assignment is when a Seller sells their interest in a property before they take possession – in other words, they sell the contract they have with the Builder to a new purchaser. When a Seller assigns a property, they aren’t actually selling the property (because they don’t own it yet) – they are selling their promise to purchase it, along with the rights and obligations of their Agreement of Purchase and Sale contract. The Buyer of an assignment is essentially stepping into the shoes of the original purchaser.

The original purchaser is considered to be the Assignor; the new Buyer is the Assignee. The Assignee is the one who will complete the final sale with the Builder.

I am a REALTOR who specializes in assignment sales and I have a database of potential Buyers and investors looking for assignments sales. If you want to be connected with a Real Estate Broker who knows the ins and outs of assignment sales, get in touch with me at 905-512-1846…I know some of the best assignment deals in the GTA.
I often get calls from people who are debating whether they should assign a home they bought, or close the purchase and then sell it as a typical resale home.
  • Get your deposit back and lock in your profit sooner
  • Avoid paying land transfer taxes
  • Avoid paying HST
  • Maximize your return if prices are declining and you expect them to continue to decline
  • Lifestyle – sometimes it just makes sense to move on
  • The pool of Buyers for assignment sales is much smaller than the pool of Buyers for resale properties, which could result in the sale taking a long time, getting a lower price than you would if you waited, or both.
  • Marketing restrictions are annoying and reduce the chances of finding a Buyer
  • Price – What is market value? If the neighbourhood is brand new and there haven’t been any resales yet, it can be difficult to determine how much the property is worth now. Assignment sales tend to sell for less than resale.
  • Assignment sales can be complicated, so you want to make sure that you’re working with an agent who is experienced with assignment sales, and a good lawyer.

Frequently asked Questions

An assignment is a sales transaction where the original buyer of a property (the “assignor”) allows another buyer (the “assignee”) to take over the buyer’s rights and obligations of the Agreement of Purchase and Sale, before the original buyer closes on the property (that is, where they take possession of the property). The assignee is the one who ultimately completes the deal with the seller.

In other words, an assignment clause allows the buyer of a home to sell the place before they take possession of it. In Ontario, assignments are more common in pre-built homes and condos than on resale properties, but they are possible on any type of trade.

When done properly, assignments are legal and can be a useful tool for buyers and sellers. An example of this would be a situation where a buyer’s financial or personal situation changes before closing. Assigning allows them to pass along the contract to another buyer, without backing out of the deal with the seller.

For instance, someone could buy a house or condo that is still under construction and might not be ready for a couple of years. The buyer’s work or family situation could change during that time, causing them to change their mind about living in the condo they purchased. Another example may be where a buyer runs into financial difficulties to close on an existing house and wants to find another buyer rather than risk the financial penalties that might come with having to try to back out of the deal.

Ontario has rules requiring real estate professionals to disclose any personal interest in a purchase or sale. There would also be disclosure obligations if the same brokerage were representing both the buyer and the seller in a transaction and the buyer intended to assign the purchase to another buyer. In this case the brokerage would have to inform the seller. The seller could then make an informed decision about whether to include an assignment clause in the Agreement of Purchase and Sale. In Ontario, all registered real estate professionals have an obligation to act with fairness, honesty and integrity when dealing with others in a real estate transaction, while protecting and promoting the best interest of their clients. The seller’s representative is expected to help the seller weigh the pros and cons of giving the buyer the ability to assign the property to another buyer.

RECO is continuing to monitor this issue, and if a registered real estate professional breaches the rules, they would be pursued to the full extent of the law. In addition, RECO has asked its inspection team to watch for anything unusual related to assignments.

If you work with a registered real estate professional and feel like they did not look out for your best interests, you can file a complaint with RECO and we will investigate the situation.

RECO advises anyone participating in an assignment to seek the advice of a tax specialist. Generally, assignors can expect to pay tax on any profits they realized from the assignment. Land transfer taxes are paid by the assignee, as they are only due when the sale closes (that is when the property actually changes hands).

As with any contract, it’s crucial for buyers and sellers to know what they’re signing. Real estate contracts are legally-binding, so getting legal advice can be a smart idea. It’s important to know what each clause means and how it will affect you. Buyers and sellers are encouraged to ask their real estate professional to explain the clauses in the contract.

Beyond contracts, RECO encourages buyers and sellers to do their homework. That means interviewing their salesperson, getting a comparative market analysis to understand what their home might be worth at the original time of purchase,today and future market expectations and having realistic expectations about timelines, pricing and how the process will work. For more details, visit www.reco.on.ca (https://www.reco.on.ca/).

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