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Protecting your real estate deals during Covid 19

Protecting your real estate deals during Covid 19

By Mark Weisleder 

Now that the Covid 19 reality is with us, everyone must do what they can to make sure that buyers and sellers can still successfully enter into and complete their real estate contracts. Here are 5 important things to remember

1.    Has the government registration system closed down?

The online registration system has not closed down. The government registration system and lawyers have been deemed an essential service by the Province of Ontario. However, law firms must be able to complete every part of a transaction remotely. Our law firm operates on our own IT infrastructure and is set up to deal with this ever evolving situation, including signing clients remotely, digital transfer of funds (so clients do not have to attend the bank) and lock boxes for our sellers to promote social distancing and paying sellers and real estate brokerages directly through EFT (no cheques to pick up) We can also hold the deposit of a real estate agreement in our trust account through a regular bill payment if any listing brokerage is not set up to do this. Please check to make sure your own law firm is also properly prepared to make sure your deal will close in time.

2.    Can Buyers or sellers cancel their purchase and sale agreement because of Covid 19.

Some people mistakenly believe that because of the pandemic, anyone can just turn around and cancel their real estate agreement. This is not true.  It is similar to the market mini crash in 2017 when prices fell almost 20% overnight. These events do not give anyone the right to cancel an agreement.  The only way a deal cannot close is if the government registration system closes down or lenders cannot fund loans, which is not the case right now.

3.    What precautions can I put into an agreement right now to assist making sure the deal closes? I have included  clauses to consider in the written version of this video

The first clause is to pay all money on closing by wire transfer only. This eliminates having to deliver any certified cheque or money order The second is to permit all documents to be signed and delivered electronically. This will avoid having to deliver any documents by courier.

The third is for sellers to place lock boxes on their home, with the code given to the buyer lawyer at closing. This avoids having to go anywhere to pick up keys.

The final clauses deal with how to handle a delay, specifically if the government registration system goes down, to permit either an extension of the agreement or closing in escrow which will permit buyers to move in, sellers to receive their money and protection by title insurance.

4.    Should these clauses be inserted into agreements that were written in the last month but are closing next month?

The answer is yes. All existing agreements should also be amended with these clauses to ensure that best practices of social distancing in all aspects of real estate closings is maintained, so that the deal will still close as scheduled.

5.    What can people do to save deals where there are legitimate delays due to illness?

Buyers, sellers and their agents should work together with their lawyers to try and resolve any issue. Deals can be extended, on terms that are fair to everyone.

If you have any questions about how to deal with your real estate transaction during these times, or wish to schedule a webinar at your brokerage, please contact me toll free at 1-888-876-5529 or at

Mark Weisleder is a Partner, author and speaker at the law firm Real Estate LLP. Contact him at or toll free at 1-888-876-5529



Mark's Contact Information
Mark Weisleder is a Senior Partner, author and speaker at the law firm Real Estate LLP. Contact him at or 1.888.876.5529
If you have any stories to share about the GTA housing market or just need some advice, please contact me at 

Speaking Engagements 

I have developed a new seminar called "When things go wrong", teaching what to do, say and not say when problems arise in a transaction, so that you are protected from any potential Real Estate Council of Ontario proceeding or legal action.

I have also developed shorter 30-45 minute sessions on topics such as multiple offers, Residential tenancies and new home Assignments. These are designed for regular sales meetings, to give you the information you need in a timely manner. Contact me directly to set a session up at your brokerage.

Please contact me directly at or 1.888.876.5529 to set up a session at your brokerage.
Real Estate Salespeople, Beware

It has never been more challenging to be a real estate salesperson. Real estate lawyer, columnist, and lecturer Mark Weisleder shows real estate professionals how to serve their clients in a manner that protects their deals, increases their success, and keeps them out of trouble.

Price: $29.95 + shipping/handling    
Click here to purchase this book at this special offer.
Landlord Guide

Mark has developed an easy to follow guide for residential landlords, whether you are renting an apartment, house or condominium unit. The guide explains the basic principles under the Residential Tenancies Act that you need to know when preparing any lease, an up to date standard residential lease agreement. rental application form and questions to ask when interviewing potential tenants.
Price: $49.95    
Click here to purchase this guide at this special offer.
Put the Pen Down:  What Homebuyers and Sellers need to know before signing on the dotted line

   Mark Weisleder's book, Put the Pen Down!, is now available for purchase. This book is designed to properly prepare buyers and sellers by giving them the information they need to know before they ever enter into an agreement to buy or sell their home or condominium.

For more information or to purchase this book, click here 
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