Presale vs. Resale: Navigating the BC Real Estate Landscape

Navigating the 7-Day Rescission Period for Presale Condos in British Columbia.

The world of real estate is a dynamic and ever-changing landscape, especially in the vibrant province of British Columbia. For prospective preconstruction home buyers, the journey to homeownership in BC comes with a unique safeguard – the 7-day rescission period. In this article, we’ll explore the significance of this period, the distinctions between presale and resale properties, the crucial role of Realtors, and the steps to make the most of this protective provision. So, if you’re considering a presale condo purchase in BC, this is your starting point.

Understanding Presale Condos: Before we dive into the intricacies of the 7-day rescission period, it’s essential to grasp the concept of presale condos. These units are available for purchase before the actual construction of the building begins, often referred to as pre-construction or off-plan condos in other regions. Developers adopt this strategy to secure funding for their projects, demonstrating to lenders that their ventures are viable and low-risk.

Presale vs. Resale: Deciphering the Differences: In the realm of real estate, knowing the differences between presale and resale properties is paramount:

  1. Presale Properties: These are units sold by developers before construction is completed. Buyers essentially invest in the promise of a future home. The 7-day rescission period is a unique feature here, offering buyers a safety net for reconsideration, without financial penalties.
  2. Resale Properties: These are existing properties sold by current owners. The purchase process involves a subject removal period, allowing buyers to back out based on specific conditions. While subject conditions generally don’t incur financial penalties, the Home Buyer Rescission Program grants buyers the right to terminate the deal within 3 business days after an accepted offer, subject to a rescission fee.

The 7-Day Rescission Period: Definition and Purpose: Under section 21 of the Real Estate Development Marketing Act (REDMA), the 7-day rescission period is a provision designed to protect presale condo buyers in British Columbia. This period allows buyers to cancel their purchase agreement without incurring any penalties within seven days of signing the contract. REDMA is overseen by the British Columbia Financial Services Authority (BCFSA), the government regulator that ensures consumer protection in presale residential real estate.

The primary purpose of this provision is to prevent buyers from making hasty decisions. The rescission period empowers buyers to review the contract, delve into the presale condo disclosure statement, seek legal and accounting advice, and consult with their Realtor to ensure complete comfort with their purchase.

How it Works: The rescission period comes into effect when either of the following occurs:

  1. An accepted offer, signed by both the seller/developer and the buyer.
  2. The day the buyer receives a copy of the presale condo disclosure statement and signs a second document confirming receipt.

This disclosure statement contains vital information about the development, including the developer’s background, construction details, strata information, and financial arrangements.

The Realtor’s Role in Presale Purchases: Developers aim to sell their properties, but it’s crucial to remember that their primary interest lies in representing their own interests. This is where Realtors play an invaluable role:

  • Expert Guidance: Experienced Realtors navigate the complexities of the presale process, ensuring buyers understand all terms and conditions.
  • Due Diligence: Realtors assist in reviewing all documentation, including the Contract of Purchase and Sale and the Disclosure Statement, at no cost to the buyer.
  • Negotiation: Realtors negotiate on behalf of buyers, striving to secure the best possible deal. Developers often share incentives and discounts with their Realtor partners, granting buyers access to exclusive benefits.
  • Protection: With a Realtor by their side, buyers have someone who safeguards their interests and ensures they make an informed decision.

A Word of Caution: Automatic Purchase If No Action Taken: Buyers should remain vigilant about the timeline of the rescission period. If no action is taken during these seven days, the purchase automatically proceeds, and the buyer is contractually obligated to continue with the purchase.

How to Exercise the 7-Day Rescission Period in BC: During this period, buyers have the liberty to cancel their agreement for any reason. To exercise their right, a presale condo buyer in BC simply needs to provide written rescission notice to the developer, either directly or through their Realtor or lawyer. In the event of rescission, buyers are entitled to a full refund of their deposit.

The Importance of the 7-Day Rescission Period:

  1. Buyer Protection: This period offers a significant layer of protection for new home buyers, ensuring they fully understand the implications of their purchase and can seek advice from professionals.
  2. Risk Mitigation: Presale condos come with inherent risks, such as potential deviations from buyer expectations or construction delays. The 7-day rescission period allows buyers to assess these risks and make an informed decision.

Making the Most of the 7-Day Rescission Period: While the rescission period offers a chance for reconsideration, it’s also an opportunity to seek answers to critical questions:

  • Financing: Have you secured mortgage pre-approval? Are you confident in your financial commitments?
  • Property Details: Are you satisfied with the property’s layout, amenities, and other features?
  • Developer’s Track Record: What’s the developer’s reputation, and have they successfully completed previous projects?
  • Legal & Tax Implications: Have you consulted with a lawyer and accountant to understand all legal and tax implications of your purchase?

Reviewing the Disclosure Statement: The disclosure statement is a vital document that provides comprehensive information about the development. Buyers should scrutinize this document during the rescission period, delving into the developer’s plans, construction timeline, and strata details.

Knowing the Exact End Date: Marking the precise end date of the 7-day rescission period is crucial. This is a non-negotiable deadline, and missing it means losing the right to rescind.

Seeking a Mortgage Preapproval: In most cases, getting a mortgage preapproval for presale condo purchases can be challenging. However, it’s recommended during the rescission period, as it offers an added layer of protection. Some lenders may offer pre-approvals, albeit at slightly higher rates than current market rates. These higher rates are often guaranteed by the lender until the completion of the presale.

Confirming the Funds for Deposits: Buyers should use the rescission period to ensure they have funds available and ready for deposit payments, which are typically required at specific times in the purchase contract. Negotiating changes to deposit payment timelines should be done either before an accepted offer or during the 7-day rescission period when buyers still have leverage.

Reviewing the Purchase with Your Realtor: Taking the time to discuss the presale condo purchase with your Realtor is advisable. This opportunity allows buyers to ask any lingering questions about the contract, the building, the neighborhood, or any other pertinent details.

Seeking Legal and Accounting Advice: If there are questions that cannot be answered through other means, buyers can also seek legal and accounting advice during the rescission period. A lawyer can provide clarity on the contract’s terms and conditions, the disclosure statement, and potential risks. An accountant’s advice is especially valuable when considering tax implications, as presale condos are taxed differently than existing ones.

What Happens at the End of the 7-Day Rescission Period? At the conclusion of the 7-day rescission period, the presale contract of purchase and sale becomes legally binding on the buyer. Subsequently, the buyer can expect to receive updates on the construction progress and changes to the disclosure statement.

Percentage of Buyers Exercising Their Rescission Right: Based on our extensive experience representing presale condo buyers since 2005 in the BC and Vancouver real estate market, approximately 15-33% of presale condo buyers choose to exercise their rescission rights.

Reasons Buyers Exercise Their 7-Day Rescission Right: Buyers exercise their rescission right for various reasons. Common motives include:

  • Lack of confidence in securing a mortgage upon lender review.
  • Dissatisfaction with the information presented in the disclosure statement.
  • Not being fully prepared to make the purchase.
  • Further investigation revealing unfavorable aspects of the property.

Remember, the 7-day rescission right is the buyer’s legal prerogative, and there are no penalties for exercising it.

7-Day Rescission BC FAQ’s: Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about the 7-day rescission period in BC:

Q1: What is the 7-day rescission period for presale condos in BC?

A1: It’s a mandatory safeguard allowing prospective preconstruction home buyers to revoke their purchase agreement within 7 days of acceptance.

Q2: What is a presale condo?

A2: A presale condo is a unit available for purchase before construction begins.

Q3: Why does the 7-day rescission period exist?

A3: It’s designed to protect buyers from making rushed decisions, providing time for review, advice, and comfort with the purchase.

Q4: When does the rescission period start?

A4: It commences upon an accepted offer or upon the buyer’s receipt and acknowledgment of the presale condo disclosure statement.

Q5: How can a buyer exercise the 7-day rescission right?

A5: Buyers can cancel their agreement by providing written notice to the developer, entitling them to a full deposit refund.

Q6: What if the buyer doesn’t act during the rescission period?

A6: If no action is taken, the purchase automatically proceeds, becoming legally binding.

Q7: What should a buyer do during the 7-day rescission period?

A7: Review the disclosure statement, confirm the end date, secure mortgage preapproval, ensure deposit funds, consult the Realtor, seek legal and accounting advice.

Q8: What happens post the 7-day rescission period?

A8: The contract becomes legally binding, and the buyer receives updates on construction and disclosure changes.

Q9: How many buyers typically exercise their rescission right?

A9: Approximately 15-33% of presale condo buyers exercise their rescission rights.

Q10: Why might buyers exercise their 7-day rescission right?

A10: Reasons include uncertainty about mortgage approval, dissatisfaction with the disclosure statement, unreadiness to purchase, or discovering unfavourable property details.

Q11: What Government Body Oversees the 7 Day Home Buyer Rescission Period?

A11: The British Columbia Financial Services Authority (BCFSA) is the BC government regulator overseeing both REDMA and this important consumer protection.

Q12: Is there a Rescission fee if I exercise my 7-day right of rescission?

A12: No, there is no rescission fee for exercising the right in BC according to REDMA.

The 7-day rescission period is a critical component of buying a presale condo in British Columbia. It offers buyers a safety net, allowing them time to make an informed decision about their purchase. This period is your chance to delve into the details, ask questions, and seek professional advice. Remember, buying a presale condo is a significant financial decision, and it’s essential to understand the process, the risks, and the protections in place. Seek professional guidance, and ensure you’re comfortable with your decision before proceeding with the purchase. If you need expert guidance on presale properties or real estate sales in BC, feel free to reach out to us at (604) 780-3510 for a personalized consultation.

Your journey to informed real estate decisions in BC starts here!

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