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Ontario proposes “cooling-off period” for new home sales

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The Ontario government is seeking public input on a new cooling-off period for buyers of new freehold homes, a move it says would provide greater protections for consumers in the province’s housing market. 

Currently, pre-construction condos have a cooling-off period, which allows buyers to rescind their purchase agreement within 10 days, but the same protections do not exist for new construction freehold homes. 

The proposed cooling-off period aims to level the playing field between new home buyers and corporate developers by giving buyers time to review complex agreements and seek legal advice before making a final decision. 

 

OREA supports the government’s proposed cooling-off period

The Ontario Real Estate Association (OREA) supports the proposed cooling-off period, which would improve the balance in the pre-construction buying and selling process. 

OREA CEO Tim Hudak says that the purchase agreement for a new build typically occurs before shovels are even in the ground, and a cooling-off period would give buyers the opportunity to review complex agreements and seek legal advice. 

“A buyer opting out during a cooling off period for a new build will have minimal impact on the developer,” Hudak said in a news release. “A resale home represents someone’s life savings, and a buyer pulling out could force a retiree or a young family to relist, costing them time and money.”

 

Government seeks public input on new measures to protect homebuyers

 

The Ontario government is seeking public input on the proposed cooling-off period. If approved, a purchaser could rescind their purchase agreement within a specific timeframe, and builders would be required to disclose the cooling-off period to purchasers. 

As part of the consultation, the government will seek input on whether there should be a requirement that purchasers of all new homes receive legal advice on their purchase agreements. 


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